According to a study published in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association and reported widely in the popular press, “Tax Day” – April 17 this year – is a dangerous day on the roads. Researchers analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found that the traffic death rate on Tax Day was 6 percent higher than on other April days.
The lead author of study, Dr Donald Redelmeier, is a Canadian. Dr. Redelmeier said he studied the United States because the U.S. tax code is so complicated and probably more stressful to taxpayers than in any other country. Besides stress, commentators guessed that the traffic death count escalated due to taxpayers being distracted by tax filings or because people drove unfamiliar routes to the post office or to the Internal Revenue Service office to deliver tax returns.
The study found no effect on the traffic death rate from the inception and popularization of electronic filing of tax returns.
This casual observer has one theory that the study apparently did not consider. I wonder what is the effect on traffic deaths of tax preparers celebrating the end of tax season at the neighborhood bar after six weeks of sleep-deprivation and nail-biting?
Anyway, be careful out there!