More Fatal Car Accidents Occur on Tax Day

Beware the Ides of . . . April? Be extra careful on tax day, whether you’re traveling by foot or by car.

Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Cha già José.

Tax Day, everyone’s least favorite day of the year, is tomorrow, and researchers are cautioning drivers to be extra safe on the roads as a result.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 6 percent more fatal car accidents occur on tax day, typically April 15, than on non-tax days. Researchers compared data using numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using the number of fatal car accidents on tax day versus one week before and one week after.

From 1980 to 2009, almost 7,000 individuals were involved in fatal car accidents during the 30 tax days evaluated. By contrast, there were 12,758 individuals during the 60 control days, totaling an increase of 404 deaths on tax day.

The significant increase can be owed to “stressful deadlines leading to driver distraction and human error,” according to Donald Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.

Redelmeier recommends getting enough sleep and remember the basics of driving safety: wear a seatbelt and minimize distractions.

Another reason may be a lack of law enforcement on tax day, he added. Police officers have to do their taxes, too.

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