People who skipped their COVID vaccine are at higher risk of traffic accidents, according to a new study

If you passed on getting the COVID vaccine, you might be a lot more likely to get into a car crash.

People who skipped their COVID vaccine are at higher risk of traffic accidents, according to a new study© Getty Images

Or at least those are the findings of a new study published this month in The American Journal of Medicine. During the summer of 2021, Canadian researchers examined the encrypted government-held records of more than 11 million adults, 16% of whom hadn’t received the COVID vaccine.

They found that the unvaccinated people were 72% more likely to be involved in a severe traffic crash—in which at least one person was transported to the hospital—than those who were vaccinated. That’s similar to the increased risk of car crashes for people with sleep apnea, though only about half that of people who abuse alcohol, researchers found.

The excess risk of car crash posed by unvaccinated drivers “exceeds the safety gains from modern automobile engineering advances and also imposes risks on other road users,” the authors wrote.

Of course, skipping a COVID vaccine does not mean that someone will get into a car crash. Instead, the authors theorize that people who resist public health recommendations might also “neglect basic road safety guidelines.”

Why would they ignore the rules of the road? Distrust of the government, a belief in freedom, misconceptions of daily risks, “faith in natural protection,” “antipathy toward regulation,” poverty, misinformation, a lack of resources, and personal beliefs are potential reasons proposed by the authors.

The findings are significant enough that primary care doctors should consider counseling unvaccinated patients on traffic safety—and insurance companies might base changes to insurance policies on vaccination data, the authors suggest.

First responders may also consider taking precautions to protect themselves from COVID when responding to traffic crashes, the authors added, as it’s more likely that a driver is unvaccinated than vaccinated.

“The findings suggest that unvaccinated adults need to be careful indoors with other people and outside with surrounding traffic,” the authors concluded.

This isn’t the first time that researchers have examined the link between behavior and vaccination status. Among young adults, a 2021 study published in the Journal of Bioeconomics found a correlation between self-reported risky driving and having skipped their flu vaccine. It examined the survey responses of more than 100,000 Canadians.

NY Times Says Most Gun Owners are Law-Abiding, AR-15s are in Common Use, and Confiscation is Futile…Then Calls for 1st Amendment Limits on Gun Makers

It is important, of course, to distinguish between the large majority of law-abiding gun owners and the small number of extremists. Only about 30 percent of gun owners have owned an AR-15 or similar rifle, a majority support common sense gun restrictions and a majority reject political violence. …

Democrats, while they may hope for stricter gun laws overall, should also recognize that they do share common ground with many gun owners — armed right-wing extremists and those who fetishize AR-15s do not represent typical American gun owners or their beliefs. That’s especially true given the changing nature of who owns guns in the United States: women and Black Americans are among the fastest-growing demographics.

This summer, for the first time in decades, Congress passed major bipartisan gun safety legislation — a major accomplishment and a sign that common ground is not terra incognita. It should have gone further — and can in the future: preventing anyone under 21 from buying a semiautomatic weapon, for instance, and erasing the 10-year sunset of the background-check provision. States should also be compelled to pass tougher red-flag laws to take guns out of the hands of suicidal or potentially violent people. Mandatory gun-liability insurance is also an idea with merit.

States and the federal government should also pass far tougher regulations on the gun industry, particularly through restrictions on the marketing of guns, which have helped supercharge the cult of the AR-15. New York’s law, which allows parties like victims of gun violence and the state government to sue gun sellers, manufacturers and distributors, is a good model for other states to follow.

Federal regulators should also do more to regulate the arms industry’s marketing practices, which are becoming more deadly and deranged by the year. They have the legal authority to do so but, thus far, not the will to act.

Americans are going to live with a lot of guns for a long time. There are already more than 415 million guns in circulation, including 25 million semiautomatic military-style rifles. Calls for confiscating them — or even calls for another assault weapons ban — are well intentioned and completely unrealistic. With proper care and maintenance, guns made today will still fire decades from now. Each month, Americans add nearly two million more to the national stockpile.

But even if common-sense regulation of guns is far from political reality, Americans do not have to accept the worst of gun culture becoming pervasive in our politics. The only hope the nation has for living in and around so many deadly weapons is a political system capable of resolving our many differences without the need to use them.

— New York Times Editorial Board in America’s Toxic Gun Culture

 

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