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Fatal Car Crashes Rise on Tax Day, Study Finds

Hemera/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- If you're waiting until the last possible day to file your taxes, you might want to walk to the post office instead of driving there.  But even that won't guarantee you'll be safe.

Research from a University of Toronto professor published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association says that people tend to get into more fatal accidents on April 15 than the same weekday one week earlier or week later.

In the U.S., it's a 13 percent spike in deadly crashes.

Dr. Donald A. Redelmeier studied data over a 30-year period to reach the conclusion that more drivers wind up dead on the day taxes are due than those other days.

The study reveals that close to 7,000 people wound up dying in crashes on the 30 tax days, as opposed to 6,400 on each of the non-tax days.  Typically, the victim is a young man motoring around in a rural area.

It wasn't difficult to figure out why this happens.

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

Even passengers and pedestrians aren't immune from the curse of April 15, says Redelmeier, although the reasons aren't as clear.  He can only guess that it has to do with being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This year, April 15 falls on Sunday so you're safe then.  Not so much on Tuesday, April 17, this year's deadline.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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