Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Driving Under The Influence (Of Stress): Regional Effects Of 9/11 Attacks On Driving

Date:
February 3, 2009
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
A new study reveals that there was an increase in the rate of traffic fatalities in the three months following the 9/11 attacks, but only in the Northeast, the region closest to the terrorist attacks. The findings suggest that being close to the location of a traumatic event may increase psychological stress, which may, in turn, impair one's driving ability and thus lead to an increase in fatal traffic accidents.

The September 11 terrorist attacks had a profound impact on this country's psyche. Eight years after the attacks, we are still learning how those terrible events affected us.

A number of studies have shown that people who lived closest to the sites of the terrorist attacks experienced heightened levels of stress and anxiety in the months following the September 11 attacks. Research has also indicated that elevated levels of stress can greatly impact day-to-day behaviors such as driving.

Psychologist Alexander J. Rothman and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota analyzed records obtained from the US Department of Transportation to see if there was any relation between geographic location and the rate of fatal traffic accidents that occurred in the three months immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Statistical analysis of the data yielded a number of interesting findings, which are reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The authors found that there was an increase in the rate of traffic fatalities in the three months following the 9/11 attacks, but only in the Northeast, the region closest to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. A follow-up analysis showed that there was a significant increase in the rate of traffic fatalities in the months following September 11 in the state of New York. This pattern of findings is consistent with the premise that stress-related reductions in the quality of driving led to a spike in the rate of fatal traffic accidents.

In addition, the 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 findings suggest that being close to the location of a traumatic event, such as the 9/11 attacks, may increase psychological stress, which may, in turn, impair one's driving ability and thus lead to an increase in fatal traffic accidents. The authors note that in this study, they "demonstrated the importance of considering various potential causes of behavioral changes after terrorist events occur." They conclude that "in general, thinking more theoretically about factors that shape people's responses to stressful events should help researchers anticipate behavioral reactions to terrorism."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Driving Under The Influence (Of Stress): Regional Effects Of 9/11 Attacks On Driving." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202175045.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2009, February 3). Driving Under The Influence (Of Stress): Regional Effects Of 9/11 Attacks On Driving. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202175045.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Driving Under The Influence (Of Stress): Regional Effects Of 9/11 Attacks On Driving." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202175045.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins