People who chose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 were more likely to be involved in a serious car accident, a recent study found.
Researchers in Canada looked at whether a willingness to forgo the COVID vaccine correlated with other risky behaviors, such as those who “neglect basic road safety guidelines.”
The study found that unvaccinated drivers were 72% more likely to be in a car crash where at least one person was sent to the hospital compared to accidents involving vaccinated drivers.
“One possibility relates to a distrust of government or belief in freedom that contributes to both vaccination preferences and increased traffic risks,” the study’s authors wrote. “A different explanation might be misconceptions of everyday risks, faith in natural protection, antipathy toward regulation, chronic poverty, exposure to misinformation, insufficient resources, or other personal beliefs.”
Researchers looked at a pool of over 11 million drivers in Ontario, Canada, during the summer of 2021, of which 16% (1.8 million) weren’t vaccinated. They then looked at the 6,682 crashes where people needed emergency care following the accident.
Unvaccinated patients accounted for 1,682 crashes (25% of all crashes), and researchers said they had an absolute risk — a way to measure a certain population’s chances of experiencing something when compared to the general population — of 912 per one million people.
Vaccinated patients, meanwhile, accounted for 5,000 crashes (75%) and had an absolute risk of 512 per one million people.
Researchers said that the risk level presented by unvaccinated drivers was similar to people who suffer from sleep apnea, but about half as risky as those who drink and drive.
The study, titled “COVID Vaccine Hesitancy and Risk of a Traffic Crash,” was published in the American Journal of Medicine earlier this month.