Bad news for drivers on tax day. The Journal of the American Medial Association has just published finding that confirm there are more traffic related fatalities on April 15th than any other day in April. Utilizing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the past 3 decades (1980-2009), they were able to establish a pattern of increased travel related deaths revolving around tax deadline days.
Almost a quarter of Americans file their taxes within two weeks of the April 15th filing deadline, and the subconscious stress may be playing a role in many of the accidents.
William Helton, a psychologist at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, commented on possible causes for the accidents:
“It might not even be that you’re anxious,”
“you’re thinking about the nitty-gritty: ‘Line 27, did I put the right number in?’ ”
Dr. Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy and Management also lends his opinion:
“Just because you’ve filed early doesn’t mean this is not going to affect you,”
“If you’re on the road for 20 to 25 minutes, it brings you into contact with 100 other drivers, any one of which could change your life forever.”
“We are not advocating an abolition of taxes,”
“That does not make the problem go away.”
Russ Rader, a representative for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, claims having more motorists on roads and drivers taking different routes from their normal daily commutes might make April 15th a riskier day to be on the highways. Supposedly the death toll on tax days is only 6% higher, but that equates to 13 extra deaths and approximately $40 million in annual losses.
This year the tax deadline has been extended to April 17th so that gives taxpayers an extra two days. April 15th is a Sunday so we’ll see how these two changes alter the statistics for 2012. Happy filing, be careful out there on the roads. Perhaps tax day should become a national holiday where everything is closed except tax accounting firms and the IRS….In the interest of safety.