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Tax Day Hazardous To Health, Study Finds

A new study suggests April 15 may not be the best day to drive . (jenineabarbanel/flickr)

Paying taxes never feels healthy for the psyche.

But Karen Weintraub, writing the Daily Dose blog today reports that tax day can be very bad for your physical health — and life — particularly when driving.

Looking at 30-years of car accident data, a University of Toronto professor has found that April 15 (or whatever weekday taxes were due that year) is substantially more dangerous than the same weekday a week earlier or later.

Roughly 13 more people die in road crashes on tax day than other days, according to the research published in the April 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Deadline stress was probably a key factor in these extra deaths, said Dr. Donald A. Redelmeier, who led the study and whose research was the first to reveal the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phone.

“Our main finding is that stressful deadlines can contribute to driving errors that can contribute to fatal crashes,” he said. “We use tax day to learn something about stress that may be relevant 365 days a year.”

Passengers and pedestrians are also more likely to die on tax day, Redelmeier said, though it’s not clear whether – for pedestrians – that’s because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or – for passengers – because the car they were in was driven or struck by someone distracted by stress. Continue reading