Nothing is certain but death and taxes. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study which consisted of researcher Dr. Donald Redelmeier and colleague Christopher Yanell of the University of Toronto comparing the number of fatalities during each tax deadline day to the number of fatalities occurring on regular days. The statistics show that the number of fatal crashes taking place during tax deadline day was 6 percent higher than the control days.
Dr. Redelmeier says, “Tax Day is one of the few opportunities to study societal stress on a widespread basis because it’s synchronized and it’s recurrent throughout an enormously large community.”
A total of 19,541 individuals were killed in crashes during the 30 tax days and 60 control days. Sorting the numbers, Redelmeier’s study revealed that the 30 tax days accounted for 6,783 deaths, or an average of 226 fatalities per day. In comparison, the 60 control days accounted for 12,758 deaths, averaging 213 fatalities a day. Spread over 3 decades, fatalities on tax deadline day account for an additional 404 fatalities.
These study results are similar to the increases seen during Superbowl Sundays. While alcohol is a less likely culprit during tax day than it is during an intense football game, Dr. Redelmeier explains that, “stressful situations can distract drivers and thereby increase the risk of a serious road crash.” Possible contributors include sleep deprivation, less tolerance to aggravation, more driving around, and an increased use of alcohol.
Redelmeier also insists that while the study is based on data within the United States due to its better statistical data on road safety, the fundamental idea and the risk of driving under stress is a universal danger.
The IRS Tax filing deadline is April 17, 2012, while Canada’s Tax deadline is April 30th. If stress from filing taxes has gotten the best of you, performing your filing online may be a safer option for you and the fellow drivers on the road.