Dear Editor:

Deer movement increases during the fall breeding season so motorists should drive defensively and stay alert, especially at dawn and dusk to reduce the risk of striking a deer, Penn-DOT warns.

Last year, there were 2,797 crashes involving deer in the state, resulting in 11 deaths and 636 injuries, compared to 2,487 crashes, eight fatalities and 598 injuries in 2007.

Motorists also need to be aware of hunters and others walking along roadways on their way into or out of the woods.

Deer pay less attention and become bolder as they move around more and travel greater distances during their breeding season. Primarily nocturnal feeders, deer are most active between sunset and sunrise.

Over the past five years, PennDOT statistics show nearly 46 percent of all reportable crashes involving a deer occurred in the month of October and November.

More than 78 percent of the total crashes in the past five years involving deer occurred between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m.

By following a few safety tips, motorists can help reduce the possibility of being involved in a crash with a deer.

* Be on the alert for individuals entering the woods early in the morning and leaving in the late evening hours.

* Make young drivers aware of increased deer movement.

* Slow down and use caution, especially where deer crossing signs are posted and increase following distance between vehicles.

* Exercise caution when one crosses a roadway. Since deer often travel in small herds, one deer will usually be followed by others.

* Always wear your seat belt, and never drink and drive.

If a deer presents an obvious safety hazard on state roadways, motorists can call (800) FIX-ROAD to have the deer removed.

Larry Close, Albrightsville