Drivers on Election Day at higher risk for an accident - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Drivers on Election Day at higher risk for an accident

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Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 6:40 pm | Updated: 10:26 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Voters will have more to worry about Tuesday than who will be the next president. Election Day historically has an elevated risk for vehicle crashes, according to research done by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The ADOT study shows there was an increase in automobile crashes on general election days in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 when compared to Tuesdays in the weeks following the elections.

On Nov. 7, 2006, during the last Election Day, Arizona saw 490 vehicle crashes across the state, which is an additional 76 accidents in comparison to the Tuesday following the election.

Maricopa County and Apache Junction also experienced a much higher crash rate on election days in comparison to average daily crashes.

The findings are similar to those in a national study of car crashes on election days published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Typically when we hear of an event at a location, we do frequent patrols just to make sure things are going well," said Chandler Police Detective Dave Ramer.

Doug Nintzel, a spokesman from the Arizona Department of Transportation, said these figures are a valuable reminder to stay focused on safe driving and should encourage motorists to be cautious.

Linda Gorman, director of public affairs for AAA Arizona, said that people are often in a rush to vote and are navigating in an unfamiliar area near their polling locations, which increases their chances of being in a crash.

Gorman said that planning a voting trip route in advance will ensure there will be no surprises and will decrease the chances of potentially causing or being involved in an accident.

Avoiding distraction and allowing for plenty of time to get to the polling locations are other ways to avoid being involved in an Election Day crash.

"It is important that voters put safety first," said Gorman.

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