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Car accidents on April 15: The fatal link between taxes, crashes

In the 1700s, Benjamin Franklin said that death and taxes are the only two certainties in life. However, in the centuries since Franklin wrote that, the two have developed another unexpected connection.

According to recent studies, the number of fatal car accidents increases by 6 percent on Tax Day. So what's the connection between April 15 and fatal crashes?

Researchers aren't entirely certain. Some researchers have suggested that the increase in accidents may be caused by drivers who are frantically racing to the post office. In their hurry to submit their taxes before the deadline, drivers make careless driving errors. Others suggest that the influx in car accidents is caused by the general stress that people are under during tax season. The stress takes people's minds off the road, and the mental distractions lead to accidents.

During the study, researchers looked at information from car accidents on Tax Day for the past 30 years. On average, there are 226 car accidents on Tax Day each year. By comparison, in the weeks before and after Tax Day, there is an average of 213 accidents per day.

Some people have argued that when all things are considered, an extra 13 deaths is not that large of a number. However, if you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you know that 13 deaths is too many. Moreover, 13 extra deaths amounts to about $40 million in annual losses to society. The $40 million includes financial estimates associated with loss of life, injury and property damage costs.

If you'll be on the road for Tax Day this year, use extra caution. Be mindful not only of your own driving decisions, but also of the drivers who are near you who may be distracted.

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

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