Could Vaccine Hesitancy Make Drivers More Likely to Ignore Traffic Laws?

red check on unvaccinated boxCould those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 be at higher risk for getting into a car crash?

A new study says there may be an increased risk of these people getting into auto accidents. The study, which was published in The American Journal of Medicine this month, says traffic accidents may be 50 to 70 percent more frequent for those in this population. These findings were consistent no matter which brand of vaccine people received.

It is important to point out this study is not saying getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will prevent a traffic accident, according to Dr. Donald Redelmeier, the principal investigator at Sunnybrook Research Institute. The implication of this study is that those who do not get vaccinated may be more likely to neglect traffic safety, according to Redelmeier.

The study included 11 million people and approximately 16 percent of those involved were unvaccinated.

According to the study, the unvaccinated were also likelier to be diagnosed with depression or alcohol abuse. They were less likely to be diagnosed with conditions like:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Dementia

Four percent of the unvaccinated had contracted COVID-19 previously.

Researchers looked at data on 6,600 car crashes in which drivers need emergency medical care at the hospital. The study did not look at minor accidents or ones that resulted in people dying at the scene.

Another interesting finding from the study is that crash risk related to hesitancy to get the vaccine is much higher than the risk connected to dementia or diabetes. The crash risk related to vaccine hesitancy is just behind the crash risk associated with the misuse of alcohol.

Redelmeier says the thing drivers should remember about the study is that the unvaccinated should be more careful behind the wheel. Doctors with patients who declined to get vaccinated may want to give them safety reminders.

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