Study: Driving after Super Bowl more dangerous than driving New Year's Eve

| 1/24/2003

Want to survive Super Bowl Sunday? Stay off the roads after the game is over, according to research done at the University of Toronto and based on data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

New research shows the number of serious car crashes in the United States spikes four hours after the game, making post-game Super Bowl Sunday a more dangerous time to be behind the wheel than New Year's Eve.

"We found a 41 percent increase in motor vehicle collisions during the hours following the telecast – and that's a large relative increase," said lead author Donald Redelmeier, chairman of trauma research at the University of Toronto.

The findings were published Jan. 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Using the NHTSA database, Redelmeier looked at accident statistics for 27 consecutive Super Bowls, from 1975 to 2001.

"For perspective, what that amounts to is that where we normally expect about 3,000 total collisions, we instead observed more than 4,000 total collisions. Where we would expect about 1,300 people to be injured from these collisions, we observe about 1,900 people being injured. Where we would expect about 17 people to die, we observe instead about 24 people who die – for each Super Bowl."

The research was supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health, the de Souza Chair in Trauma Clinical Research at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.