Driving Under A Celestial Spell: Solar eclipse April 8 could cause increase in traffic incidents, says Sunnybrook Research Institute

Toronto, Ontario — With a total solar eclipse approaching on April 8th, researchers at the Sunnybrook Research Institute note that the celestial event could lead to increased collisions.

Based on data from the previous total eclipse, which took place August 21, 2017, researchers noted that “we found a significant increase in traffic risk in the United States around the time of the total eclipse, averaging to one extra vehicle crash every 25 minutes and one extra crash fatality every 95 minutes. The total amounted to 46 extra deaths linked to the eclipse.”

Published as a research letter on March 25th, in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers suggest the increased risks are difficult to attribute solely to changes in light.

“Instead, the findings likely derive from increased traffic, travel on unfamiliar routes, speeding to arrive on time, driver distraction by a celestial event, drug or alcohol impairment from related celebrations, or eclipse viewing from unsafe roadside locations,” said Donald Redelmeier, lead investigator of the study.

Data was specifically obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a registry of fatal traffic crashes on public roads in the U.S.

Researchers focused their data on the three-days centered on the day of the last eclipse and also used an official U.S. Navy calculator to categorize crash timing relative to the moment of maximal eclipse based on location and longitude.

A total of 1, 878 individuals were involved, of whom, 741 were in fatal crashes over the three-day eclipse exposure interval. This corresponds to a 31 percent increase in traffic risks around the time of the eclipse.

With the upcoming eclipse expected to be within the driving range of more than 200 million Canadian and U.S. citizens, medical professionals are advising steps to mitigate risk.

“To help prevent another possible surge in traffic fatalities, clinicians might advise patients to respect speed limits, minimize distractions, allow more headway, wear a seatbelt and to never drive impaired,” concluded Dr. John Staples, Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.



Sign-up for the Collision Repair daily e-zine and never miss a story –  SUBSCRIBE NOW FOR FREE!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Arslan Accuvision
Arslan Accuvision
previous arrow
next arrow

Recent Products

Recent Posts

Stay on top of the latest INDUSTRY news and trends by subscribing to our daily e-zine!

Our other sites

Our other sites