Nothing may be certain but death and taxes, as Benjamin Franklin said, but a higher rate of deadly car crashes on tax day suggests the two unhappy events can also be inextricably combined.
Canadian researchers who studied 30 years of U.S. traffic fatality data found that more Americans die in auto accidents on income tax day than on other April days — 226 fatal crashes on tax day versus 213 on a normal day, msnbc.com reports.
Perhaps it’s because about 20 percent of all taxpayers wait until the last minute to file with the Internal Revenue Service (the deadline is today, by the way), and they’re racing to get to the post office or stressed out about how much they owe.
Whatever the reason, research indicates there is a 6 percent higher risk of dying as a driver, passenger or even a pedestrian on IRS deadline day.
That may not sound like a lot, but lead author Donald Redelmeier, a physician and researcher at the University of Toronto, said those extra deaths amount to millions in annual losses to society.
“The average crash causes about $8,000 worth of damage,” Redelmeier told msnbc.com. “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.”
The risk has increased the most during the past two decades and in people younger than 65, the study found.
You would think that being able to file electronically would lower the risk in recent years because fewer taxpayers would need to drive their returns to the post office, but, unfortunately, that hasn’t happened, Redelmeir said.
The study was published in a research letter in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In other health news:
At-home telemonitoring may not help older patients. Older patients with heart, lung or kidney disease who were monitored with at-home electronic systems were just as likely to be sent to the emergency room or hospitalized as those who weren’t monitored, according to a new study. The new findings don’t mean so-called telemonitoring will never work, researchers said, but they suggest that the home check-ins might not be useful, or cost-effective, for everyone, Reuters reported.
Chin implants are the fastest-growing cosmetic surgery procedure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported Monday that chin implantation — a.k.a. the “chinplant” — was the fastest-growing cosmetic plastic surgery procedure in 2011, the L.A. Times reported. “The chin and the jawline are among the first areas to show signs of aging,” Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, the organization’s president, said in a statement. “People are considering chin augmentation as a way to restore their youthful look just like a facelift or eyelid surgery.”
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