In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, Fox 24’s Katelynn Zoellner spoke with the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) about road kill. You wanted to know what you should do if you hit an animal while driving on the interstate.
Danny Straessle, spokesman for ARDOT, said the department is responsible for maintaining the 16,400 miles of highways throughout the state. Part of that maintenance involves removing dead animals from the roadway and disposing of them properly.
“Depending on the size of the animal, we do have large shovels that we can use to take care of the armadillos, possums and other small animals without any problem,” Straessle said. “When you get into the larger animals, like deer or even a cow, it may take a piece of heavy equipment if two or three of our maintenance workers can’t handle it. The animals are loaded into a truck. We do have some areas where we are able to dispose of the carcasses jut by burying them on our right away somewhere or taking them to the appropriate landfill.”
There are a few things the department wants you to keep in mind if you strike an animal. Straessle said the most important thing to remember is your safety.
“If you’re driving at night and hit an animal, it’s difficult to see if it survived the impact, bounced off the car and continued to run on the other side of the road, or if there will be road kill the next morning,” he said. “We would encourage you to keep driving if your car is not disabled. If your car is disabled and you need to pull over on the side of the road, do not worry about the animal. Worry about yourself and your vehicle. Your safety is the most important thing and we just want people to be safe.”
Straessle said if you see an animal that’s already dead, do your best and avoid running over it again.
“Running over an animal that’s already been run over is some what of a problem, because it makes a big mess and is more challenging to clean up,” he said. “A carcass that is intact is easier to dispose of than something that is all over the street if you will.”
If you come across a dead animal along the interstate, you can report it one of two ways. You can contact ARDOT by phone at (501) 569-2374. Or, you can report it here.
Is there something in your community that you want to know more about, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@KNWA.com.