SALT LAKE CITY -- Cows are typically not something people are scared of, but, if one suddenly shows up in the road at night, it can be terrifying.
“We have quite a bit of open range roads in Utah, so you always have to look out for those cows,” said Sgt. Todd Royce with Utah Highway Patrol.
On October 6 in Sanpete County, two people were flown to the hospital after their Jeep ran into a group of cows crossing the road.
On February 5 in Millard County, a man was killed after he and his family hit a cow wandering on SR-257.
Despite signs, tragedies like this continue to happen in areas where cows roam, and sometimes in places where cows simply escape their fenced-in area.
“A few years ago I had some employees in an incident with a truck-cow collision, and it killed my employees,” said Ryan Fiala.
Ryan Fiala is the owner of Key Ranch Solutions. He says he desperately wanted to find a solution and stop these crashes from happening.
“After dealing with such a horrific incident, and then trying to explain to their family that, you know, they didn't do anything wrong,” Fiala said.
He searched and found out about reflective ear tags for livestock. He now imports them from South Africa and sells them to ranchers and farmers nationwide.
“To improve highway safety, to protect those people on the roadways, to give them a chance, a chance to react,” Fiala said of the tags.
The reflective tags work just like the tags ranchers already use to track their cattle, but the new tags are more durable and can reflect light from up to 1,500 feet away, protecting the investment of farmers, and, more importantly, the lives of people.
“Generally ranchers put one on each ear," Fiala said. "You just never know which way a cow is going to be standing on the roadway."
Fiala's company has only been selling the product for three years, but he says he is getting feedback from ranchers that say the tags are working.
"...They have not lost cows or had a car-cow collision since they've started using the product,” Fiala said.
Fiala also said he's working with many different entities to try to get more of these tags in place and help save more lives. Visit their website for more information.