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A Super Bowl Statistic

A recent issue of the journal Chance offers an interesting statistic: There is a 41% increase in fatal car crashes in the first few hours following a Super Bowl telecast. The confidence level for this statistic is high (p<0.001).

Furthermore, this result is consistent across the 27 Super Bowl Sundays, is national in scope, is shared by people of varying characteristics, and also is evident for car crashes leading to nonfatal injuries.

In their summary, the authors add the caution that "our results do not imply that canceling the Super Bowl would improve public health." In fact, they note that their study also found a small decrease in fatal accidents during the telecast of the Super Bowl. Perhaps the game should never end!

Relative to this discussion of statistics, it is important to add that the observed increases "may relate to people being drunk, drowsy, or distracted."

Source: D. Redelmeier & C. Stewart's "Do Fatal Crashes Increase Following a Super Bowl Telecast." Chance, (Vol 18, #1, 2005, pp. 19-24)