February 3, 2009
Post Sept. 11, 2001, more traffic deaths
There was an increase in the rate of traffic fatalities in the U.S. Northeast three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, researchers say.
Psychologist Alexander J. Rothman and colleagues at the University of Minnesota analyzed records obtained from the U.S. Department of Transportation to see if there was any correlation between geographic location and the rate of fatal traffic accidents in the three months immediately following the attacks.The study authors found there was an increase in the rate of traffic fatalities in the three months following the attacks, but only in the Northeast -- the region closest to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The study, published in the Psychological Science, also found that a follow-up analysis showed there was a significant increase in the rate of traffic fatalities in the months following Sept. 11, 2001, in the state of New York.
In addition, the study authors analyzed the traffic records to see if there was an increase in the rate of fatal traffic accidents involving drugs or alcohol. Compared to the same time period in the previous year, there was a 100 percentage point increase in the rate of drug- and alcohol-related fatal traffic accidents in the Northeast, the study said.