Deer collisions keeping auto shops busy

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- We all spot deer on the roads and highways. A Tama County woman's death just how dangerous crashing into a car can be.

A crash happened late December on U.S. Highway 30 at Q Avenue in Tama County, east of Tama. Iowa State Patrol says the deer went through a woman's SUV, hitting and killing a passenger, 57-year-old Donna Smith. Fatal deer accidents are not that common. There are more than one million deer crashes per year, but only about 200 are fatal.

Most crashes leave extensive damage to the front of the vehicle. For example, a Chevy Equinox at Bob Mickey Collision Center had to have the driver's side headlight, fender, and door replaced after it hit a deer.

Workers have been busy painting and sanding the parts. It can take about a week to finish the repairs. Workers say there are more deer out in the roads this time of the year than usual.

"The farmers couldn't get in there because there was so much rain this fall so that kind of pushed everything back because once they go into the fields it pushes the deer out,” said Bob Mickey, Operations Manager for Bob Mickey Collision Center Once the deer start running that's when we really start to see them.“

Thompson says vehicles are being created with more safety features than ever. That's why the car wins most of the time when they take on a deer.

"They've made them lighter,” he said. “They basically a lot of the time they're using different metals. So we're using lighter metals that are much stronger. So the technology that's going into not only the outer structure but inner structure is much stronger and safer."