drive carefully: you are 18% more likely to die in a fatal car crash on Presidential election days

I’ve reported this before, but it’s worth revisiting before a Presidential election: you are 18% (+/- 8%) more likely to die in a fatal car crash on a Presidential election day [Link to JAMA article]. Here’s a snippet from the paper:

The results of US presidential elections have large effects on public health by their influence on health policy, the economy, and diverse political decisions. We hypothesized that mobilizing approximately 50% to 55% of the population, along with US reliance on motor vehicle travel, might result in an increased number of fatal motor vehicle crashes during US presidential elections… We analyzed national data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of fatal crashes in the United States from 1975 to 2006. We included all presidential elections since database inception (from Jimmy Carter in 1976 through George W. Bush in 2004) during the hours of polling (defined as 8:00AM to 7:59 PM local time). For each election, we also identified the same hours on the Tuesdays immediately before and immediately after as control days for the number of individuals in fatal crashes at the time, as described previously. Confidence intervals (CIs) for comparing death counts on election days and control days were calculated by binomial tests.

This yielded a relative risk of 1.18 on election days (95% CI, 1.10-1.26; P < .001), equivalent to an absolute increase of 189 individuals over the study interval (95% CI, 104-280). The net increase in risk was about 24 individuals per election and was fairly stable across decades of time (see Figure below). The increase in relative risk extended to pedestrians and persisted across different ages, sexes, locations, polling hours, and whether a Democrat or Republican was elected. No difference in risk was observed in separate sensitivity analyses of individuals involved in fatal crashes during the same hours comparing the Monday before the election with control Mondays (relative risk, 0.97, 95% CI, 0.89-1.06) or comparing the Wednesday after the election with control Wednesdays (relative risk, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.95-1.12).

Figure. Individuals in Fatal Crashes During Presidential Elections
Data are counts of individuals in the crashes (in which not all persons necessarily died) during polling hours (8:00 AM to 7:59 PM, except where noted with alternative hours). Because 2 control days are available for each election day, expected deaths were calculated as total control deaths divided by 2. CI indicates confidence interval.

Advertisements

One response to “drive carefully: you are 18% more likely to die in a fatal car crash on Presidential election days

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: