Economic uncertainty is causing spikes in the number of car crashes on UK roads, according to research revealed today by King’s Business School.
The study discovered that the current economic climate is leading to increased feelings of stress and anxiety, which can distract drivers and disrupt sleeping cycles. This can lead to an increased risk of collisions.
Although the number of car crashes is on a general downward trend, researchers noticed a link between economic uncertainty and spikes in the number of car crashes.
Senior lecturer in health economics, Dr Sotiris Vandoros, who led the research, said: “Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for 15 to 29-year-olds globally, and there are 1.25 million road traffic fatalities every year.
“With more turbulent economic and political times likely to lie ahead, developing preventive traffic control measures which can be escalated during periods of economic uncertainty is essential and could save many lives.”
The study used a decade of data from the economic policy uncertainty index, derived from an analysis of daily UK newspapers, and found a link to Department for Transport data that revealed an increased number of motor vehicle collisions in Great Britain from 2005 to 2015.
Such uncertainty affected people’s perception of what lies ahead in terms of their finances, said the report, making them stressed or distracting them. The results suggests a five-fold increase of the very volatile uncertainty index leads to more than 30 additional crashes per week.
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