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Voting Is Hazardous to Your Health

Posted October 07, 2008 12:01 AM by Jaxy

When most people think of holidays, they think of Christmas, New Years Eve, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. They also think of more cars on the road, fender benders, and a fair number of traffic jams. This November, there is an additional day drivers need to watch out for – Election Day.

In the rush to get to the polls, you are 18% more likely to die than on any other Tuesday in October and November combined. That's according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that examined U.S. traffic deaths on presidential Election Days from 1976 to 2008. You are also much more likely to suffer disabling injuries So is voting for President hazardous to your health. Let's consider whether people are rushing to the voting booths or to the shopping malls.

Many stores have sales on Election Day, so it is quite possible that shopping is a reason for more people to be on the road. These additional shoppers, of course, only add to the numbers of people traveling on that day. Although the JAMA study didn't track where the drivers were going, the number of accidents increased mainly during voting hours. This time frame indicates that it is more possible that it's the voters who are getting hurt - and not the shoppers. Voters may also be distracted by thinking about the possible candidates.

When there are more cars on the road, it only makes sense that there will be more chances for accidents. The authors of the JAMA study have been observing presidential election days for the past eight elections, and the trend of 18% increase in deaths has been observed with slight variation each time.

While rushing to the polls after work may be your plan of action, remember to take it easy, because you may not make it to the voting booths if you drive recklessly. At an 18% increase in the death rate, is voting too hazardous for your health or is it worth the risk?

Resources:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26959100/

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Guru
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#1

Re: Voting Is Hazardous to Your Health

10/07/2008 9:02 AM

It would be interesting to compare the demographics of those who are most likely to vote, with the demographics of those drivers (and, presumably, voters) who are most likely to get into car accidents.

Typically (or perhaps stereotypically), older people are more likely to vote and younger drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents. In a year where the "youth vote" is expected to be larger than usual, will there be more accidents?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Voting Is Hazardous to Your Health

10/07/2008 10:16 AM

That would be interesting to see if the drivers in accidents are younger or older. It seems that the few younger people that vote wouldn't be as reckless as the teenagers not voting. Then again, we may never know if a higher 'youth vote' would increase accidents, because all-in-all the number of cars on the road increases. I wonder if there is a current study that includes demographics with election day deaths. I only saw the article, but I am sure there has to be more than just one statement regarding it.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Voting Is Hazardous to Your Health

10/07/2008 10:19 AM

Interesting topic. I also like Moose's idea about the increase in the youth vote and the correlation between young drivers and accident rates. That would be an interesting study - although probably not one we want to get in the hands of insurance companies!

My thought on the topic is that a lot of accidents seem to happen during rush hour (or maybe that's just when I happen to see a lot of them). Most people I know vote after work, so perhaps you could say voting extends rush hour. People are in a prolonged period of "stress" and so maybe that's part of the reason for more accidents?

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#4

Re: Voting Is Hazardous to Your Health

10/07/2008 11:50 AM

This time frame indicates that it is more possible that it's the voters who are getting hurt - and not the shoppers. Voters may also be distracted by thinking about the possible candidates.

I think this just shows that nothing or nobody gets in-between an aggressive shopper and potential savings!

In all seriousness though, this is a very interesting study. I do think that the 18% chance is still worth voting. I will make sure to becareful when casting my vote this year!

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#5

Re: Voting Is Hazardous to Your Health

10/08/2008 1:31 AM

Interesting analogy!

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