Tax Day 2012 is less than a week away. American taxpayers have until April 17, 2012 to file their 2011 taxes but last minute filers may want to skip the drive to the post office and file electronically instead. New research shows that there is a 6 percent increase in fatal car crashes on tax day here in the United States.

 

The results of research conducted by Donald A. Redelmeier, MD and Christopher J. Yarnell, AB were published in the current issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The two researchers examined IRS tax deadline information and compared it with fatal car crash records collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over a 30-year period.

 

In their report, Road Crash Fatalities on US Income Tax Days, the researchers operated under the “hypothesis that stressful deadlines might increase the risk of road trauma by impairing drivers or by compromising surrounding individuals from making compensatory adjustments.”

 

Fatal car accidents on tax day, whether it involved the fatality of a person in a vehicle or a pedestrian, were compared to control day fatal crashes both before and after the IRS tax-filing deadline. Control day crashes averaged 213 while tax day fatal crashes averaged 226.

 

While any loss of life is of concern, there is also an increase in financial losses associated with an increase in serious car accidents. According to Redelmeier, “The average crash causes about $8,000 worth of damage. The 6 percent increase in risk would amount to about $40 million in societal costs due solely to the surge of crashes on tax day.” Source: MSNBC.com

 

Although there are only a few days left to file 2011 tax returns, the IRS has several free tools to help ease the stress caused by last-minute filing, including an online free file service.