MOTORISTS in the North-east are being urged to be aware of the dangers of deer on the roads.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) warn that car accidents involving the animals are at their highest at this time of year.
Deer-vehicle collisions often peak as juvenile deer are out on their own for the first time.
Because of this, SNH, in conjunction with Transport Scotland, are starting to place warnings on messaging signs on high-risk trunk roads across Scotland until Friday, June 1.
There has also been an increase in the number of car accidents involving deer in the lowlands and in and around towns and cities.
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) preliminary 2011 figures show that deer road casualties have more than doubled since 2006.
The animal charity received reports of 200 casualties in 2006, but more than 450 reports in 2011.
According to figures, there are more than 7000 deer-related vehicle accidents in Scotland every year, on average causing about 70 human injuries. The economic value of these accidents is £5 million.
Across the UK, it is estimated there could be up to 74,000 deer-related annually, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and about 20 deaths, with a cost of over £17 million
Jamie Hammond, SNH deer management officer, said: “In light of these figures, drivers should be more aware than ever of the risks of deer on our roads.
“Many people think most accidents with deer occur on remote Highland roads, but more and more this is something that happens around our cities and towns.
“At this time of the year, we’d ask motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing in front of traffic.
“Be particularly alert if you’re driving near to woodland where deer can suddenly appear before you have time to brake.
“If you do hit a deer, report it to the police, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering.”