When Taxes and Cars Collide

Road Fatalities Surge Around April 15

Great thinkers have quipped that life offers few certainties other than death and taxes, and for an alarming number of U.S. drivers, these two seem oddly intertwined.

A new study published in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that “Tax Day” pressures and stressors create real risk for those navigating the roads. After analyzing 30 years of data, researchers found that auto fatalities ramp up around April 15—the customary deadline to file U.S. income tax—when compared to a day during the week prior and week later.

Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at Canada's largest trauma center, led the study with University of Toronto colleague Christopher Yarnell. Specifically, Redelmeier said the surge in fatalities could possibly be attributed to stressful deadlines that cause driver distraction and human errors.

“Other possibilities might be more driving [than usual], sleep deprivation, lack of attention, and less tolerance toward hassles,” he adds. “Another contributor could be decreased law enforcement, as the police, themselves, might be busy with their own tax deadlines.”

The last-minute scramble assuredly creates a veritable obstacle course of cars whizzing by and pedestrians who are oblivious to surroundings, but what about those opting to submit forms online? Surprisingly, with added capability of electronic processing or what some refer to as “e-file,” has failed to put a dent in such fatalities.

Drawing from road safety information supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a period of 30 years (1980 through 2009), Redelmeier and Yarnell examined the number of fatal crashes on each tax deadline day as well as the surrounding days and weeks. In doing so, the researchers observed a total of 19,541 individuals were involved in fatal crashes during the 30 tax days and 60 control days. The 30 tax days accounted for 6,783 individuals, which is equivalent to 226 per day.

By contrast, Redelmeier and Yarnell identified a total of 12,758 individuals during the 60 control days, which is equivalent to 213 per day. The risk therefore was six-percent higher on income tax deadline day and equal to an absolute increase of 404 deaths over the study—or about 13 individuals for the average tax day.

The increased propensity toward being invovled in an accident was not restricted to certain regions of the U.S. Rather, Tax Day-related risks apply to passengers and pedestrians across daylight hours, demographic groups, and levels of alcohol consumption.

Both researchers stress the importance of taking additional safety precautions on April 17 this year to save lives and millions in associated claims and other costs to society.

The study was supported by the Canada Research Chair in Medical Decision Science and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  

 

Page 1 of 2
Comments

Resource Center

View All »

Guide: 5 Steps to Selling Cyber

Cyber risk and data security is on the agenda of every business owner and executive....

Citation Correlation

Do rigger and signalperson qualifications correlate with the cause of crane and rigging accidents? ...

Complete Guide to Electronic Signatures in Property & Casualty Insurance...

In property and casualty insurance, closing new business quickly is key. Learn how to leverage...

INSTANT ACCESS: Complimentary Sales Closer Questionnaires

Help property owners or managers compare your commercial residential property insurance coverage vs. the competition....

Determining Vacant Property Perils and Valuations

Are your clients fully covered for Vacant Properties? In this economic climate, your insureds may...

Risk Management for Law Firms

This package of 3 concise risk management articles offers straightforward content and practical suggestions law...

Guide: Top 15 E&O Risks-And How To Avoid Them

Accidents happen. But when it's an errors and omissions oversight, that accident can open your...

We'll Show You How to Reach Your Sales Goals

Whether you work alone or have a team of agents working for you, we can...

Get The Most From Your Book Of Business

Turn your existing book into an exclusive program or roll your book. Learn about the...

Who Pays When There’s a Pollution Claim on an Auto...

The Pollution Liability - Broadened Coverage of Covered Auto (CA 99 48 03 06) endorsement...

Claims Connection eNewsletter

Breaking news on disasters, fraud, legal trends, technology, and CE initiatives for the P&C claim professional – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Claims-Handling Guidelines

Claims Magazine is providing the following free guidelines and regulations in order to help adjusting professionals stay abreast of each state’s unique property and casualty claim-handling requirements.

View our State Guidelines »

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.