Deer jumping through FCPS bus windshield uncovers bigger predicament


@Sahiti Tanuku

A deer walks up to the car window to greet passengers.

Sahiti Tanuku and Yana Baranwal

A deer jumping through FCPS Bus 991’s windshield on March 2 illustrates a big problem in the state of Virginia — the danger of roads for both drivers and animals

There was no means of reaching the bus driver for this article.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time an incident like this has occurred. In April of 2021, a bus from Powhatan County, in Virginia, had stopped at a bus stop, but instead of  students climbing the steps and taking their seats, a deer rushed in through the open doors, running into seats and backpacks, and woke up a sleeping student. The deer was able to escape with its life, but the same cannot be said for many other deer-car collisions. 

Loudoun County is most vulnerable to deer crashes, with over 350 crashes per year. Over 15% of car collisions are car-deer collisions, bringing Virginia to #9 in terms of most crashes. 

Deer collisions are common in Fairfax County, and many students in RCMS have either witnessed one or know someone who has witnessed one.

“It was depressing,” said Maisie Smith-Zoh, a seventh grader on the All-Stars team, when asked about her experiences with accidents in this category. “It’s dark in the morning too, and bus drivers are on the road trying to get kids to school. Yes, there are deer overpopulation problems, but they’re still dying. It’s damaging to the deer, community, ecosystem, and drivers.”

Some students have never seen a collision but can imagine what it would be like. 

“I would feel a bit disgusted, and maybe feel bad for it,” Shreya Rao, Seventh-grade Trailblazer, responded. 

Others have different opinions.

“Poor animals. Moving on,” said Raj Wankhede, seventh-grade All Star. “What’s the point of being sad about animals you don’t even know? Maybe they killed some other animals. That’s why it’s better to keep a medium range of sympathy.”

Insurance companies are also being put to work because of collisions. A majority of collisions don’t actually injure the deer, but they have a massive impact on the vehicle, with windshields being broken, license plates falling off, dents, and more, being the least of a driver’s problems. 

“I know that Tesla has a system of sensing things in front, and other car companies have pedestrian systems,”  Raj said.  

Shreya said that if she were in a collision with a deer, she would be most concerned about the animal.

“Since the deer is a living thing, it gets first priority. Unlike my car, which is a non-living thing, that can be fixed,” Shreya  says.

Sometimes it’s a hard decision to make. 

“In the moment, a deer should get priority, because if the deer can be saved then it’s not gonna hurt to take five extra minutes to help it,” said Maisie, “but if it’s a lost cause, then it really depends on the situation.”