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How Dangerous Is It to Drive on Tax Day?

Tim Boyle, Getty Images

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” And the two may be even more closely linked than we thought — a new study shows fatal car crashes rise on April’s annual tax deadline day.

Donald Redelmeier, MD, of the University of Toronto, and his colleagues analyzed data from the IRS and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1980-2009, comparing the number of fatal motor vehicle crashes on tax day to those occurring one week before and one week after.

Their findings revealed there were about 13 more car crash deaths on tax day than during the surrounding period, a number similar to the increase in road fatalities seen on Super Bowl Sunday.

Researchers aren’t sure why it happens, but they surmise taxpayers’ stress, lack of sleep and alcohol use may be involved. In addition, drivers might take routes they don’t normally take to drop by a CPA’s office or find a post office, which could contribute to the likelihood of making a fatal mistake while behind the wheel.

This year’s deadline for filing taxes is April 17, so, when you head out behind the wheel, make sure to buckle up and be extra cautious.


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