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Car deaths rise days after terror attacks

12:43pm, October 5, 2004

Terrorism's deadly effects may not occur all at once. Consider the disturbing tendency, described in a new study in Israel, for the number of automobile fatalities to surge by an average of 35 percent 3 days after each of a series of terrorist attacks.

Guy Stecklov of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Joshua R. Goldstein of Princeton University attribute the third-day spike in traffic deaths to a delayed, population-wide reaction to terrorist acts. However, reasons for the day-3 increase—which ranged as high as 69 percent after terrorist attacks that killed 10 or more people—remain unclear, the scientists say.

They present their findings in the Oct. 5 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For an 18-month period from 2000 to 2001, Stecklov and Goldstein examined data on the amount of daily traffic along Israel's main commuter highway, national automobile accident statistics, and the timing of 63 terrorist attacks in Israel—exc

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