A new study has found that the number of fatal car crashes increases on tax filing deadline day.
The study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at 6,783 instances of fatal car crashes that occurred in the past three decades on April 15, and discovered an average increase of 13 fatalities nationwide on tax day, or about a 6 percent increase, compared to the same day a week before or after tax day. They used car crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1980-2009, juxtaposed with tax deadline data from the IRS. This season, tax day is April 17.
The study was conducted by Donald A. Redelmeier and Christopher J. Yarnell of the University of Toronto. They theorize that lack of sleep and inattention to the road might be contributing factors. Rushing to the local post office to mail off the tax forms does not seem to be a major contributing factor, as the increasing prevalence of electronic filing does not seem to have had a noticeable effect on the trend. In fact, in recent years, car crashes are increasing.
The researchers are urging a public information campaign to convince taxpayers that they should be attentive to not only their deductions and tax credits, but also to the road ahead of them, and to wear seat belts. Many of the car crash victims are young men driving on rural roads.
The study’s authors have previously looked at similar increases in fatal car crashes on the day of the Super Bowl.