Title

Driver Bias in Intentional Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Veterinary Technology/Pre-Veterinary

Minor

Chemistry

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Terry L. Derting, PhD.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Expansive road systems have a negative effect on wildlife populations through increased mortality by animal-vehicle collisions. In the United States, an estimated one million vertebrates are killed each day on public roadways. It is unclear what percentage of the mortality is due to intentional collisions. We tested three hypotheses: 1) drivers who intentionally hit wildlife possess species bias, 2) trucks are more likely to intentionally hit wildlife, and 3) the distance from the Murray city center positively affects intentional wildlife-vehicle collisions. A realistic model of a snake and a turtle and a red cup were used for this study. We selected 45 mph roadways located varying distances from the city center. Models and roadways were randomly selected per trial, and data on 50 vehicles were collected. We compared model type, vehicle type, and distance from city center to the number of intentional vehicle hits to determine the presence of a driver bias. Snakes were hit by vehicles significantly more often than turtles or cups. Drivers of cars hit a model significantly less frequently compared with drivers of vans and trucks. Information gained from this study spotlights the factors that influence intentional wildlife-vehicle collisions which can help nature conservationist efforts to mitigate the negative effects of expansive roadways

Affiliations

Kentucky Academy of Science, Posters-at-the-Capitol and General Posters

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Driver Bias in Intentional Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Expansive road systems have a negative effect on wildlife populations through increased mortality by animal-vehicle collisions. In the United States, an estimated one million vertebrates are killed each day on public roadways. It is unclear what percentage of the mortality is due to intentional collisions. We tested three hypotheses: 1) drivers who intentionally hit wildlife possess species bias, 2) trucks are more likely to intentionally hit wildlife, and 3) the distance from the Murray city center positively affects intentional wildlife-vehicle collisions. A realistic model of a snake and a turtle and a red cup were used for this study. We selected 45 mph roadways located varying distances from the city center. Models and roadways were randomly selected per trial, and data on 50 vehicles were collected. We compared model type, vehicle type, and distance from city center to the number of intentional vehicle hits to determine the presence of a driver bias. Snakes were hit by vehicles significantly more often than turtles or cups. Drivers of cars hit a model significantly less frequently compared with drivers of vans and trucks. Information gained from this study spotlights the factors that influence intentional wildlife-vehicle collisions which can help nature conservationist efforts to mitigate the negative effects of expansive roadways