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April 16, 2012

Car Crashes Spike on Tax Return Deadline

A major U.S. study has found a link between tax deadline day and fatal car accidents.

The 30 year study shows that on the April 15th deadline, Americans face a 6% greater risk of dying in a car accident. Dr. Redelmeier, the lead researcher behind the study, says the data suggests that all types of road collisions increase on the same day. Some of these accidents can result in brain and spinal cord injuries or other kinds of physical trauma and property damage.

In Canada, tax deadline day is April 30th. Canadians should not feel immune to the increased risk on our roads at the end of the month.

So what is it about tax deadline day that leads to the excess of accidents on our roads?

The simple explanation is stress. Stress can cause driver distraction and human error. Stress is also connected to sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption, both contributing factors to poor road safety.

According to the data, only about 20% of Americans leave their filing to the last minute. This means that non-drivers are also likely to be in a car accident. “The increase in risk on tax day included the passengers and pedestrians, which is a common theme of all of road trauma – bad driving imposes risks on other people,” Redelmeier says.

The increased risk on U.S. tax day translates to about 13 deaths per year.

“None of these people had to die,” says Redelmeier. “Road trauma destroys the lives of thousands of people and driver error contributes to about 93% of such events.”

With Canada’s April 30th tax deadline looming, it’s important to remember road safety basics. Wear a seatbelt, obey the speed limit, avoid alcohol consumption, and minimize distractions while behind the wheel.

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