Tomorrow is Tax Day: Be careful on the roads

Tomorrow is Tax Day, which means that many people in Massachusetts will be making a mad dash to the post office before the midnight filing deadline. However, motorists need to keep safety a priority as a recent study shows that fatal car accidents spike by 6 percent on Tax Day.

After compiling 30 years’ worth of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers found that the average number of vehicle-related deaths is 226 on Tax Day nationally. Comparably, the average number of vehicle-related fatalities on the day one week before Tax Day and one week after Tax Day was 213.

The lead author of the study said that a 6 percent increase in fatalities may not seem like a lot at first, but it means 13 extra lives are lost on Tax Day, which is significant. He said the extra fatalities also amount to about $40 million per year in losses to society, which takes into account loss of life, injury and property damage costs.

Researchers can’t be exactly sure why the number of fatal car accidents increase on Tax Day, but they have a couple good guesses. They said that, for one, people are usually stressed out after filling out their taxes last minute, and this can lead to distracted driving.

The researchers also said that people may be in such a hurry to get to the post office that they drive recklessly. A spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that his guesses are that there are more cars on the road and more people are traveling routes they don’t normally travel.

Interestingly, electronic tax filing, which has become very popular over the past few years, does not appear to have had an effect on Tax Day deaths. Researchers suggest that this is because electronic filing may not reduce stress on filers. Instead, it may actually encourage people to wait until the last minute to file.

With that said, be safe tomorrow on the roads.

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