The quick ones survive. The dummies become semi-truck hood ornaments.
The truly mind-boggling thing about this research is that its goal is to save about one deer a month from getting killed.
One. Deer. A month.
The only encouraging thing about the research is that its primary objective is to reduce the number of human injuries and the amount of auto damage suffered during deer-vehicle collisions.
Here in West Virginia, we have a deer-collision study of our own. It, too, is aimed at reducing injuries and property damage.
But there's a significant difference between our study and California's - volume. Here in ol' Wild and Wonderful, drivers have a 1 in 53 chance of hitting a deer.
That's the highest deer-vehicle collision rate in the country.
In California, the odds are 1 in 1,113. The only states with lower odds are Nevada (1 in 1,718), Arizona (1 in 2,063) and Hawaii (1 in 6,267).
In West Virginia, close to 20,000 deer get road-killed each year. There are reasons for that - lots of roads, vegetation that usually comes right to the edge of the road, and a relatively high deer population.
So our Division of Highways, our Division of Natural Resources, and State Farm Insurance are collaborating on a $125,000 study to identify where the worst areas are and how best to keep deer away from them.
But the research, if successful, could lead to significantly lower deer-vehicle collision rates - and that, in turn, would prevent one heck of a lot more than a dozen crashes per year.