Launceston named ‘roadkill capital’

AN insurance company has named Launceston the “roadkill capital” of Tasmania.

AAMI has deemed drivers are most likely to hit a roo, wallaby, wombat or dog in Launceston, following an examination of almost 20,000 claims received by the insurer in 2015.

The examination shows that animals collisions peak in the period between June and August and surge in July, “posing a serious danger to both drivers and animals”.

AAMI’s revelations follow the death of 361 Tasmanian devils on state roads last year.

Eighteen healthy Tasmanian devils have also been killed on roads since December.

AAMI spokesman Michael Mills called killing animals on roads “a frightening and traumatic experience” for drivers.

“Shorter days during winter mean we’re on the roads more at times when animals are on the move, and combined with poor weather conditions and reduced visibility, make the chances of hitting an animal more likely,” he said.

Huonville was named second on the state’s road kill “hotspots” list, following an analysis of 992 animal-related accident claims in Tasmania last year.

Third was Bothwell, fourth was New Norfolk and fifth was Bicheno.

Nationally, New South Wales town of Queanbeyan, on the border of the Australian Capital Territory, was the worst offender.

Bendigo, in regional Victoria, was second on the list, followed by Dingo, in north-west Queensland; Singleton, north-west of Sydney; and Goulburn, in Southern NSW.

According to AAMI’s claims data, nine in 10 Australian drivers who have collided with an animal hit a kangaroo.

“Tassie drivers should avoid driving at night, if possible, as it’s hard to see animals,” Mr Willis said.

“They also need to be attentive when behind the wheel at dawn and dusk as this is generally when wildlife, particularly kangaroos, are most active.”

AAMI’s claims data shows that the majority of animal related crashes happen towards the end of the week, particularly on Fridays.

The insurer has reminded drivers to be especially vigilant on rural roads and in wildlife parks.

Scientists have attempted to mitigate the effect roads have on the safety of Tasmanian devils by installing virtual fencing at devil hotspots in the state’s south-east.