A new traffic sign, which features a hedgehog that warns road users of hazards due to animals in the road ahead, has been unveiled by the Department for Transport (DfT).
In 2017, 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) and four people were killed.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling is calling on local authorities and animal welfare groups to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign should be located.
The road sign is also designed to reverse the decline in wildlife numbers, in particular, hedgehogs whose population in rural areas has halved since 2000.
Grayling said: “The new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.”
The transport secretary is also meeting with road safety experts today (Monday, June 17), including Brake, the AA and the RAC, together with animal protection groups including the Wildlife Trust, to discuss the scale of the problem.
Between 2005 and 2017, 100 people were killed, with a further 14,173 injured in accidents where an animal was in the road.
Tony Campbell, chief executive of the Motorcycle Industry Association(MCIA), said: “Powered two-wheelers provide a great solution to road congestion, but like all road users, riders must be aware of those around them.
“Therefore the MCIA is pleased to welcome these new signs that will help everyone, including those on two wheels or four legs, complete their journeys more safely.”
The small wildlife sign complements other warning signs already used on UK roads, filling a gap between warnings about smaller animals such as migratory toads and wildfowl, and large animals such as deer and livestock.
These signs will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.
The move also comes shortly before a refreshed Road Safety Statement and two-year action plan are published. These will look at further ways to reduce the number of deaths on the roads.