Texas State Highway 130, the Austin by-pass for Dallas and San Antonio traffic, and the nation’s first highway with an 85-mph speed limit, has been opened less than two months and already there have been four reported vehicle collisions with feral hogs. These animals can reach weights of up to 400 pounds and are known to be active at night and in the early morning when visibility is low.

So far no injuries have been reported as a result of these animal collisions but the Texas Department of Transportation is warning drivers to use caution. The sheer number of these feral hogs, at last count more than 1.5 million in Texas alone, and their nature as foragers, mean more hog/vehicle collisions are likely.

Before the high speed stretch of Texas State Highway 130 opened many safety advocates worried that the new speed would mean increased dangers for the drivers. They were concerned with drivers losing control of their vehicles or colliding with a slower vehicle in traffic ahead of them. So far, those things have not been a problem. The feral hog population, on the other hand, is and officials say if something cannot be done to keep the animals off the roadway a more serious vehicle collisions, likely with injury or death, is only a matter of time.

State highway officials are now considering a plan to install animal bumper guards along both sides the new toll road which will prevent the animals from simply walking onto the highway. Because of their massive size and sheer brute strength these animals are difficult to catch and control, but officials say the bumper guard would at least be a deterrent to maybe get the animals to seek an easier route rather than across the highway.

For drivers who are traveling at 85 mph there simply is not much they can do. By the time they see the animal their vehicle will be almost on top of it, giving them very little time to react and avoid a collision.