Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Peter M. Aronow

Second Advisor

Feng Dai

Abstract

Background: Redelmeier and Tibshirani conducted a study, indicating polling hours of presidential election days created an increased risk of driving fatalities [10]. In another paper, they suggested a negative association between the 4 hours after polling and risk of driving fatalities [11]. Such a strong negative relationship cast doubt on the methodology used in the original paper [10]. We were concerned that the approach for hypothesis testing was underconservative, and that the confidence intervals presented lacked proper coverage.

Methods: We performed analysis on time-based relative risk of driving fatalities and fatal crashes for US population on election hours, non-election hours, and full 24 hours of election days with other comparable days with updated dataset to 2012. We also calculated the relative risk and constructed the distribution of 100 Tuesdays and 6 days before and after election days to evaluate the influence of election days in a large scope.

Results: The risk of driving fatalities was 1.19 (95% CI: 1.11-1.27) during election hours, 0.85 (95% CI: 0.78-0.93) during non-election, 1.09 (95% CI: 1.01-1.12) during full 24 hours on election days. 7% of the Tuesdays and 8.3% of the 12 days had risk of driving fatalities at least as extreme as election days during election hour. For the risk of fatal crashes, the risk was 1.15 (95% CI: 1.03-1.27) during election hours. 7.5% of the Tuesdays and 8.3% of the 12 days had risk of driving fatalities at least as extreme as election days during election hours.

Conclusions: Our results suggested that presidential elections do not appear to be particularly unusual relative to other comparable days in four-year election cycles.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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