Motorists across North Carolina are being warned to stay alert for deer now that fall has arrived.
A study from the N.C. Department of Transportation shows that in 2012, there were 20,181 animal-related crashes. While that's the lowest number in three years, the crashes boosted the three-year total to 61,688, with 20 fatalities, nearly 3,500 injuries and more than $144 million in damages.
Officials also say about 90 percent of all reported animal-related crashes involve deer, and 50 percent of those crashes traditionally occur in October through December.
Deer activity is on the increase as a result of the mating and hunting seasons. Crashes are most common between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., and from 6 p.m. to midnight, when more vehicles are on the road and deer movement increases.