With accidents peaking between 5pm and 8pm on weekdays in the winter months, commuters are being urged to slow down from 40mph to 30mph, which adds only an three extra minutes to most journeys across the Forest.
Last year, 159 New Forest animals – ponies, cattle, donkeys, pigs and sheep – were involved in collisions, with 58 killed and 32 injured.
Nigel Matthews, head of recreation management and learning at the New Forest National Park Authority, said, “It’s the grazing by animals that helps shape and maintain the New Forest we all know and enjoy. We urge drivers to be animal aware at all times and always add extra time to journeys in the Forest. By slowing down at night, especially when oncoming vehicles approach, drivers, their passengers and the animals will be much safer.”
Charlotte Lines, chairman of the Commoners Defence Association said, “Great work has been done by several Forest groups working together to reduce the number of road traffic accidents involving commoners’ livestock. Reflective collars for ponies and ear tags for cattle are just two of the initiatives commoners are implementing to reduce the risk; however there are still too many casualties. Animals can just appear from nowhere and in an instant, so we ask users of Forest roads to drive with care and caution over the winter months and help us protect our animals.”
If you do have an accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep you are required by law to report it to the police as soon as possible. A reward of up to £5,000 is offered for information leading to the successful conviction of drivers prosecuted for failing to stop and report an accident involving a Forest animal.
To download an animal accident business card with the emergency numbers to call, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/animalaccidents.
Please share post:
Follow us on