Regular nervous, anxious about about driving at night
“ Driving at night, it’s almost impossible to see them,” she says. “ They blend right in with the road and trees surrounding it.”
The next accident came five months later in November. Driving along Veterans Memorial Highway just before the Bay Roberts turn off, Regular was on her way to work when she spotted a moose.
“ This one, I saw the moose and hit the breaks, thinking I could clear it. But there was one right behind it that I never saw, so I ploughed into that one.”
On Feb. 28, Regular was driving in the vicinity of Morgan’s Furniture when the unthinkable happened for a third time.
“I think I might have went to turn the radio up or something, and bam, it was just there.”
The last two accidents were significant enough to leave the cars as insurance write-offs. To have a second and third accident so soon after the first one shocked her, says Regular. The fact she’s avoided serious injury is incredible, as has been noted by most of her family and friends when Regular has recounted her tales.
“ They say, ‘ You’re so lucky not to be hurt.’”
Fatalities result from moose acci- dents each year, and according to figures obtained from the RCMP and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary by the Save Our People Action Committee, moose-related vehicle accidents have been on the rise over the last two years.
There were over 700 accidents recorded in both 2009 and 2010, according to data made public by the committee, which has been advocating for measures to reduce the number of accidents involving vehicles and moose. By comparison, the average number of accidents per year from 2000-08 was 455.
There is no hard figure on the number of moose in Newfoundland and Labrador, though its population is estimated to be between 120,000 and 150,000.
One concern Regular has about local roads — and it’s an issue that has been discussed across the province — is the amount of brush alongside them, which can help keep moose hidden until they appear on the road.
“ You can barely see them when they hop up on the road,” she says, adding work to clear sections alongside the Veterans Memorial Highway has been of benefit to drivers.
“ But the old highways are still treed-in on each side.”
Regular wonders whether an increase in moose licences may help the situation. In 2010, the provincial government increased the number of licences granted to communitybased groups from 150 in 2009 to 200, and approximately 30,000 licences are issued annually.
“And we’d all love to see a fence put up,” she says, referring to proposed barriers stretching along the sides of highways, “ but you know that’s quite expensive.”
For her sake, and given what she has been through over the last year, Regular will now be extra cautious driving at night. But it will never be easy.
“I will be more anxious and nervous about driving. I’m sure I will be.”