The Uswitch
Roadkill Report

Did you know, there are hundreds of thousands of animals killed on UK roads each year? Roadkill is a major problem, one which many Brits are unaware of. To try and raise awareness of the issue, and to help drivers avoid harming animals when they’re on the roads, we’ve created the Uswitch Roadkill Report.

Which are the most dangerous roads for animals?

We submitted Freedom of Information requests to Highways England, the Department for Economy and Transport, the Department for Transport and the Department for Infrastructure, asking each to provide a breakdown of the number and location of roadkill incidents reported between June 2019 and September 2020.

The M5 came out as the road with the most roadkill, with a reported 279 animals killed during the period we analysed. The M6 was the second most dangerous road for animals, with a reported 244 deaths, followed by the M62 with 220.

The UK’s 10 most dangerous roads for animals

How many animals are killed on UK roads?

Road Name
Country
Total animals killed
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Which species are most at risk on the roads?

As part of our Freedom of Information requests, we also asked for a breakdown of which types of animals were being reported in roadkill incidents throughout the UK.

Species of animal reported by country

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According to the data provided, there were 2,888 roadkill incidents where the species of the animal was not specified. Out of those which were specified, deer are the animal most likely to be hit on UK roads, with a reported 296 incidents between June 2019 and September 2020.

Foxes and badgers were the next most at risk, with 120 and 108 reported incidents, followed by cats and dogs, with 50 and 44 reported roadkill incidents.

Species of animal reported by region

Select animal
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xxx North East xxx North West xxx West Midlands xxx East Midlands xxx East xxx South East xxx South West

Splitting out the data for England by region, the North East saw the highest number of incidents, with a total of 843, followed by the North West with 779.

Where the species was reported, deer was the most at risk species in every region of England, with the South East reporting the highest number of incidents with 41. However, when looking at other species, there were some noticeable regional differences.

The East Midlands, West Midlands and South West all had badger as their second most at risk species, while the East and South East saw more incidents involving foxes. Further North, domestic animals proved to be more at risk, with dogs being the second most reported roadkill in the North East, and cats being the second most reported in the North West.

Where are the most roadkill-related accidents occurring?

Often, roadkill can lead to further accidents, as drivers either swerve to avoid animals, or become distracted by creatures on the road. Using the Department for Transport’s online road traffic tool, we were able to access data relating to the number of road traffic accidents which cited animals as a key contributing factor, breaking this down to local authority area.

Southampton saw the highest number of animal-related road traffic accidents, with a total of 137, followed by Swindon with 72 and Medway Towns with 67. At the other end of the table, there were 14 local authorities which reported zero animal-related road traffic accidents.

Which areas are reporting the most roadkill-related accidents?

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How much does the average Brit know about roadkill?

We surveyed 2,226 British motorists to understand the public’s feelings towards and awareness of roadkill and conservation issues.

One of the first things we discovered was how much people underestimates the extent of the UK’s roadkill. When asked how many animals are killed on UK roads each year, the average figure from our respondents was 193,000. However, according to the Mammal Society, the actual figure is closer to 300,000. Other experts believe it to be even higher, with some making estimates in the millions.

How many animals are killed on UK roads each year?

Average figure from our repondents
193,000
Actual figure (Approximately)
300,000

Which drivers are most likely to hit an animal, and what would they do about it?

56% of the drivers in our study admitted to having hit an animal before. However, when we split out our results by the type of car driven by each respondent, there were some noticeable differences. According to our research, BMW drivers are the most likely to be involved in a roadkill incident, with 71% admitting to hitting an animal in the past. Meanwhile, Citroen drivers were the least likely, with just 45% having hit an animal while on the road.

% of participants who have hit an animal whilst driving in the UK

Not only did the likelihood of having hit an animal change from one car driver to the next, but the action they would take also varied.

Peugeot drivers are most likely to stop their vehicle to check if the animal was ok

Audi drivers are most likely to take the animal to a local veterinary practice if it was still breathing

Citroen drivers are most likely to continue driving and not tell anyone

Mazda drivers are most likely to report the incident to the police or a local authority

Mercedes drivers are most likely to report the incident to a research group or conservation charity

BMW drivers are most likely to try and contact the owner if appropriate

Species most likely to be reported in the event of a collision

Looking at which species drivers are most likely to report in the event of a collision, dogs with collars came out on top, with 66% of drivers saying they would report the accident. However, if the dog didn’t have a collar, the figure dropped to 52%.

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Species people wouldn’t do anything about if they hit them

Despite being on the European Protected Species list, otters, newts, frogs and toads all sit in the bottom half of the table, with drivers far less likely to report hitting one. In fact, 31% of respondents said they wouldn’t do anything if they hit a frog or toad while driving.

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How much do Brits know about the rules surrounding roadkill?

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation when it comes to roadkill, which can leave drivers uncertain about what they should do in the event of an accident.

The most common myth surrounding roadkill is that if you take an injured animal to a vet, you’ll be liable for the bill, with 73% of Brits believing this to be true. While this can be the case in some rare instances, the majority of vets will not charge you for bringing in an injured animal you found on the road.

The most misunderstood laws surrounding roadkill

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Finally, we spoke to Project Splatter about our research. Project Splatter is a citizen science project, which aims to quantify and map wildlife roadkill across the UK, with over 50,000 individual roadkill records. Here’s what they had to say.

“It’s interesting, but not surprising, to see how much the public underestimate the magnitude of wildlife roadkill. The scale of the issue is huge, with millions of animals hit by vehicles every year.

We’ve been collecting data on where and when wildlife roadkill occurs since 2013 with members of the public reporting data directly to us, and we consistently see motorways with the most roadkill. The top 5 species most reported to us are always the same: badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, pheasants, and rabbits.

We’d like to work with members of the public to build up a more complete picture of where and when animals are hit by vehicles so that we can identify risk factors in terms of when and where you might encounter animals. People can report wildlife sightings on the UK roads to us via a range of platforms, including our smartphone app, email, social media or the contact form on our website.”

Sarah Perkins, Project Splatter


If you want to stay safe on the roads, take a look at our list of the top 10 safest cars you can buy and make sure you’ve got the right car insurance for your needs.

Data and methodology

We submitted Freedom of Information requests to Highways England, the Department for Economy and Transport, the Department for Transport and the Department for Infrastructure, asking each to provide a breakdown of the number and location of roadkill incidents reported between June 2019 and September 2020. We then used the Department for Transport’s online road traffic tool to access data relating to the number of road traffic accidents which cited animals as a key contributing factor, breaking this down to local authority area.

For our section about the nation’s knowledge and attitudes towards roadkill, we surveyed 2,226 British motorists, ensuring we had at least 100 participants from each car manufacturer. The roadkill legislation and laws included in the survey were taken from a number of sources, including Nature Net, Walk Highlands, BBC and Confused.

All data accurate as of December 2020.