Auto Accident Deaths Spike on Tax Day

April 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

According to new research, drivers should be careful on Monday, as tax day is consistently the deadliest day of the year on roads throughout the United States, with more auto accident deaths than any other comparable day.

The study was published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), indicating that there was an average of 13 more road fatalities annually on the day income taxes are due in the United States than on any other day.

Researchers collected crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on tax day from 1980 to 2009.

They found a six percent spike in road fatalities that affected drivers, passengers and pedestrians. On a normal day around the same time of year, there were an average of 213 fatal crashes. However, on tax day the average rose to 226.

Although the data does not provide causes, the researchers speculate that the increase is a combination of the increased number of people on the road trying to file at the last minute, many of whom are stressed out. Some of that stress comes from waiting until the last minute, but in other cases it is possibly because tax filers waited until the last minute because they owe, often for the first time, and are worried about their tax situation.

The stress leads to distracted drivers, which leads to auto accidents which sometimes turn fatal, researchers said. While the study focused on fatal crashes, the researchers noted that they saw an increase in non-fatal accidents as well.

Although April 15 is typically tax day, this year tax day falls on April 17th due to the weekend, so be careful. While it is probably too late for advice like “file earlier”, hopefully with the increasing number of electronic filings, this increased risk of auto accidents on tax day will disappear in future years.


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