No one likes tax day. But researchers have determined that there is a hidden risk surrounding the filing deadline for federal taxes that even CPA’s probably never guessed.
And it could kill you.
After reviewing three decades of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a research team headed by Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto discovered that the number of fatal car accidents jumps by 6% on tax day, which falls on April 17 this year (since April 15 is a Sunday), Time reports.
The Washington Post noted that Redelmeier’s team found that 6,783 people were killed in traffic accidents on tax days over the past 30 years. That averages out to 226 per day. The researchers calculated a lower average of 213 traffic accident deaths per day on days before and after tax day.
The researchers say they can’t pinpoint a specific cause for the spike in accidents on tax day, but suggest that rising stress levels likely contribute.
“Stressful deadlines lead to driver distraction and short-term human error,” Redelmeier told Time. “Other reasons could include sleep deprivation, inadvertent distractions and less tolerance towards hassles on tax day.” He also said the complicated tax code and myriad of forms needed to file tax returns also might play a part in why accidents spike on tax day.
The researchers noted that driver error is a factor in 93% of crashes. “Stress is often speculated to contribute to driver error, but stress is usually impossible to study,” says Redelmeier, but, “tax day is synchronized, repeated, and tremendously onerous.”
So, the best advice for tax day may be: stay off the roads. At least, drive carefully. Remember, you can always ask for a tax-filing extension.