Saturday, February 26, 2005

Super Bowl Deaths

Quots from the article from Science News

Is there a link between Super Bowl telecasts and fatal car crashes? Do fatal crashes increase immediately following a telecast? These are the questions that medical researchers Donald A. Redelmeier and Craig L. Stewart of the University of Toronto address in the current issue of Chance.

In many ways, Super Bowl Sunday is an unusual day. According to the American Snack Food Association, people consume three times more potato chips than they do during an average day in the United States. Major brewing companies report that all those chips are washed down by 10.5 million barrels of beer, versus consumption of just 0.6 million barrels on an average day.

The researchers observed no significant difference between Super Bowl Sundays and control Sundays during the hours before the Super Bowl telecast. An increase in fatalities following the telecast was evident for 21 of the 27 events. It amounted to a net increase for the entire day of 189 added deaths over the 27 years, or seven extra deaths per telecast.

Interestingly, the result of a game had some impact on the statistics. The relative increase in deaths following the Super Bowl tended to be larger in states that had a team that competed and lost than in states that had no "home" team (or in which both contenders were from the same state). And the relative death toll was higher in neutral states than in states that were home to the winning team.

Math Trek: Super Bowl Crashes, Science News Online, Feb. 26, 2005


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