Coast claims show Kanga crashes causing chaos

THERE are certain places you want to see kangaroos: open paddocks, opposite the Queen on a $1 coin and in black-and-white Skippy TV marathons.

But throw a windshield in the mix at high speed and those iconic marsupials become decidedly unwelcome.

Insurer AAMI has revealed it handled 118 kangaroo crash claims from the Fraser Coast last year.

The Hervey Bay 4655 postcode was the source of 81 claims while Maryborough (4650) notched up 37 collisions.

The high figures have upset Wildlife Rescue Fraser Coast member Natalie Richardson, who said the situation was probably worse than the numbers showed.

Ms Richardson said it was likely more kangaroos had been hit without drivers reporting it to their insurer.

She said motorists should be aware driving at dusk, dawn and on rainy days when kangaroos were on the move.

"We quite often get calls to organise euthanasia for kangaroos with broken legs," she said.

"Sometimes when they're hit they're fatally injured but not killed.

"When people do hit a kangaroo and injure it they need to report it."

Ms Richardson said better signage on roads and more awareness in the community would assist in lowering the crash numbers.

AAMI assessed 19,000 animal crash claims nationally in 2014.

"Wildlife is unpredictable and often drivers won't get any warning before an animal appears in front of them," AAMI spokesman Reuben Aitchison said.

"When driving on country roads, be aware of your environment and slow down to give yourself more time to react if you see an animal crossing or standing on the road ahead."

NRMA Insurance researchers have found kangaroos and wallabies make up more than 80% of animal collisions on Queensland roads, with the number of smashes increasing during the winter.

The insurer's records revealed it fielded more than 1380 claims for animal crashes on Queensland roads last year, although a University of New South Wales study into crashes between 1996 and 2005 found the vast majority of crashes go unreported.

"Often, drivers swerve to miss animals only to hit roadside obstacles, such as trees and poles or oncoming vehicles," it found.

Department of Transport and Main Roads figures showed animal crashes were responsible for 1.8% of all deaths on Queensland roads last year, with four people losing their lives.

They caused five deaths the previous year.

People who do hit wildlife should phone the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL.

Roo Run-ins

AAMI's roo crash claims for 2015:

Maryborough - 37

Hervey Bay - 81

TOTAL - 118



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