Deadly car accidents increase on Tax Day

With the arrival of tax day there are likely quite a few people throughout Miami who are focused on finishing their federal income tax return. For those individuals it is doubtful that they are thinking about April being National Distracted Driving month and the efforts the federal government is making to reduce the number of fatal car accidents throughout the country. Perhaps however, everyone should.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the number of traffic deaths on Tax Day (generally April 15) is higher than on other days. The data, provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, indicates the rate is 6 percent higher on that day than others in the same month. Though Tax Day is actually April 17 this year, the findings are nonetheless worth noting.

Though the reasons for the increase of fatal car accidents are not known, there is a lot of speculation as to the cause. Potential reasons cited for the rise in deaths include drivers feeling stress about the day and people driving aggressively while trying to get to the post office at the last minute. Others suggest that people who otherwise do not regularly visit the post office do so, on Tax Day. The behavior of taking a route that is not familiar, is one of the many risks that make a driver more susceptible to a car accident.

The data used in the study included the years between 1980 and 2009. Interestingly, the introduction of online filing, which started in 1986, does not seem to have had an impact on the numbers.

It may never be clear why the number of fatal car accidents rises on Tax Day. It is likely however that the number of motor vehicle accident deaths would likely reduce if everyone slowed down and did not engage in distracting behaviors while behind the wheel.

Source: Huffington Post, “Deadly Car Crashes Spike By 6 Percent On Tax Day: Study,” Lindsey Tanner, April 10, 2012