- Associated Press - Sunday, October 15, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois transportation officials are warning motorists to beware of more active deer as mating season begins.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says about 40 percent of crashes in Illinois last year that involved deer happened in October, November and December. Most deer crashes happen in rural areas at sunset or nighttime. There were about 14,760 motor vehicle crashes involving deer in Illinois last year, about 1,000 fewer than in 2015. Deer-vehicle accidents last year caused five fatalities and about 580 injuries.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources director Wayne Rosenthal says deer are especially active in the fall during their mating season. He says motorists should be alert for deer near wooded areas, the edge of fields and waterways. State officials offer other driving safety tips online .

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