CALGARY, Alta. – The Hornet Deer Avoidance System has been introduced in Canada – a product the company says can reduce deer collisions by 70 per cent.
Over the past 10 years the number of animal collisions in Alberta has almost doubled, with 11,449 in 2002 alone. Distributors of the Hornet Deer Avoidance System say two major Alberta trucking companies have already reduced their deer collisions using their system.
A major Canadian oil and gas producer has also recently outfitted more than 300 of its field trucks with The Hornet. South of the border, The Hornet was tested on deer accident-prone police and emergency vehicles in the U.S. over a three-year period, with more than six million accident-free miles before it was brought to market, company officials say.
Several American police services, EMS and insurers have endorsed the product.
The electronic system mounts on the front grille of a rig, drawing a low amount of power from the truck’s battery. It emits a high-frequency, directional sonic wave that bounces ahead off the roadway.
“This wave alerts deer and most other animals up to a half kilometre away that something large and loud is approaching. That provides more time and distance to avoid deer/vehicle collisions,” say company officials.
So how exactly does it work?
The company explains it this way: “Wave variance tuning combines reverberation and reflection of the signal. The sound wave begins to reverberate as it travels through the barrel of The Hornet. The reverberating wave is then reflected off the road surface, creating a virtual sonic echo effect and allowing the sound wave to carry a much longer distance.
The Hornet runs at a fixed frequency of a 5,000 Hz. square wave pattern, with a secondary frequency to the 18,000 to 21,000 Hz. Range. That means if there is no competing sound (i.e. engine noise) humans hear it as a high-pitched whine.”
The manufacturer says the Hornet produces better results than the air-fed deer whistles many truckers rely on. In 2002, an independent study at the University of Connecticut found the small plastic devices to be ineffective, says Glen Peterson, co-owner of Glen Rohe Distributors (GRD).
“Researchers discovered deer are not capable of hearing the signal it emits. Further studies show the air-fed whistles produce no sound unless vehicles are travelling over 80 km/hr,” Dan Luft, GRD co-owner adds.
The Hornet does not rely on wind speed and Peterson says it also stands up well to wear. It is not affected by normal high and low temperature conditions. However, it should not be submerged in water. In a truck wash, it should be protected from any high-pressure water flow, the company advises.
The Hornet comes with an on/off switch to be mounted inside the cab. But it can also be connected to a rig’s headlights, so it will automatically power on during high deer activity times (dusk to dawn). Anyone with rudimentary mechanical skills (ability to mount driving lights or install a radio) and normal hand tools should be able to install The Hornet in 15 minutes or less, the company says.
The Interstate Model (for tractor/trailers) retails for $315. The Hornet is distributed in Canada by Alberta-based GRD. For more information log onto www.hornet-canada.com or call toll-free 1-866-HORNETT (467-6388).
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