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Tax day driving dangers

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Here's yet another reason to file electronically: Fatal traffic accidents increase on tax day.

Maybe it's frantic drivers rushing to the post office to get their returns in the mail.

Maybe it's stressed  and distracted drivers heading to their accountants' offices to finalize their 1040s.

Or maybe it's angry taxpayers upset at what they owe the Internal Revenue Service and driving a bit too aggressively.

Whatever the reason, researchers from the University of Toronto found that car-crash-related deaths rose around tax deadline day by about 6 percent.

That adds up to about 13 extra fatalities around each April 15 or whichever day happens to be the tax due date. It's Tuesday, April 17, this year.

There's also a dollar cost of around $40 million annually. This estimate includes loss of life, injury and property damage costs.

Dr. Donald A. Redelmeier and Christopher J. Yarnell presented their results in a research letter in the most recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

They and fellow researchers examined 30 years of road crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and compared the number of fatal car accidents occurring on tax day, one week before and one week later.

Their results show that 19,541 people were involved in fatal crashes on the 30 tax days. That was 404 more, or a 6 percent increase, than on the nontax days the researchers studied.

So if you can't or don't want to e-file, try to finish your taxes this weekend so you can get your return to the post office more safely.

If you file your taxes on or close to the deadline, do you find yourself more stressed than you are on other days? Or is the tax stress the same regardless of when you fill out your tax forms?

You won't get traffic reports, but you'll find lots of tax tips and ways to reduce your IRS bill by subscribing to Bankrate's free tax newsletters. You can receive a Daily Tax Tip through April 17. Or if you prefer a more consolidated collection, subscribe to the Weekly Tax Tip newsletter. Or sign up for both.

You also can follow me on Twitter @taxtweet.

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