Editor’s Column: Deer tired of getting the blame for accidents

The Whidbey Island Scapedeer Association is in the works to protect the innocence of our most maligned species. Ask a Washington State Trooper, and he or she will tell you that deer get the blame for almost every traffic accident that occurs, particularly after midnight when few people have a good reason to be driving around unless they just got off the late shift.

The Whidbey Island Scapedeer Association is in the works to protect the innocence of our most maligned species.

Ask a Washington State Trooper, and he or she will tell you that deer get the blame for almost every traffic accident that occurs, particularly after midnight when few people have a good reason to be driving around unless they just got off the late shift. Since the island’s goats are few and far between, drivers invariably blame a deer for whatever mishap befalls them.

Scapedeer are blamed whenever a speeding car fails to make a curve, whenever an inattentive driver reaches for a spilled beer and smacks into a power pole, or when a teenager is so intent on texting his girlfriend that he forgets he’s driving a country road at 50 mph.

By the telling of it, one would think Whidbey Island deer are conspiring to knock off as many human drivers as possible. They wait in the woods by the side of the road until they see headlights coming, and then at tremendous risk to themselves leap out into the roadway, laughing as the approaching vehicle swerves to the left, then to the right, and then slams on the brakes before momentum carries them into the ditch or a tree stops them cold. Only at the last split second does the deer leap away, satisfied by the mayhem he left behind.

On rare occasions the unfortunate driver actually hits a deer, but generally he just blames an imaginary deer. “I was just driving along at a safe speed and this deer jumped out and I swerved to miss it,” the unfortunate driver tells the trooper.

Deer leave no hoof prints on asphalt roads and they leap so far that troopers are reluctant to search the dark woods for any telltale prints freshly left on the mud. After all, this isn’t CSI Whidbey, and tufts of suspected deer hair are never found on a headlight and sent to the lab for analysis. Instead, the trooper simply writes “deer in roadway” as the cause of the accident and, short of beer bottles strewn about the accident scene, the human gets off easy.

This is why there’s a need for The Whidbey Island Scapedeer Association, which will hire a lawyer to defend the rights of deer allegedly at accident scenes. The attorney will look for tufts of deer hide, take pictures of the surrounding scene without a hint of a deer hoof, and make sure the trooper has some actual evidence before writing “deer” as the cause of the accident.

If word gets out on the mainland about all these deer allegedly causing accidents late at night, tourists could come to a screeching halt. Imagine the headlines: “Barefoot Bambis Cause Whidbey Crashes,” “Deer Me, Whidbey’s Not Safe at Night, and “Twilight – The Vampire Deer that Suck the Blood of Auto Victims.”

For the sake of the deer as well as island businesses, it’s time to exonerate our four-legged friends. Deer don’t cause accidents, inattentive drivers cause accidents. Tweet that.

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