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Fatal car crashes increase on tax deadline day: study

The risk of dying in an auto accident as a driver, passenger or a pedestrian increases 6 percent on US income tax filing day.

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Felipe Castro holds a sign advertising a tax preparation office in Miami Beach, Fla., on April 14, 2010. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

You might want to think twice about getting into a car or strolling down a road on April 17 this year. A new study has found that more people die in car crashes on the day US income taxes are due than on other comparable days, MSNBC reported.

The risk of dying in an auto accident as a driver, passenger or even a pedestrian increases 6 percent compared with a day from a week earlier or a week later, MSNBC reported.

“An increase of risk in this magnitude is about the same as what we observe on Super Bowl Sunday, a time notorious in the US for drinking and driving,” lead researcher Donald A. Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada, told Bloomberg Businessweek.

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The reasons deadly auto accidents spike on tax filing day? The study suggests stress, lack of sleep, alcohol use and less tolerance of other drivers distract tax-filers behind the wheel, MSNBC reported.

“All of a sudden there’s one source of stress that’s onerous, synchronized, repeated and applies to a huge community,” Redelmeier told MSNBC. About 20 percent of all taxpayers wait until the last minute to file, according to MSNBC.

The researchers looked at 30 years’ worth of tax filing days and concluded the electronic tax filing hasn’t made the roads safer, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

“Our research suggests that stressful deadlines can contribute to driver error that can contribute to fatal crashes,” Redelmeier told Bloomberg Businessweek. “People have, for a long time, speculated that psychological stress may contribute to real world crashes, but this is the first study to pin that down.”

The study was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120410/fatal-car-crashes-increase-tax-deadline-day-study