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How the government shutdown can reduce community safety

The partial government shutdown has been going on for nearly a month--the longest shutdown in U.S. history. More than 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or are being forced to work without pay. But this crisis also has a ripple effect, which impacts not just these workers--but society as a whole.

There are many government services that--when abruptly halted--affect the average Joe. The shutdown may prevent you from buying a house or verifying the eligibility of your employees. But on a much broader level, the shutdown makes us less safe overall.

In today's post, we examine why forced work with no pay tends to increase accident rates.

The majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Most don't have $400 stored away for a rainy day. So being forced to work a full-time job for weeks on end with no income--and looming mortgage and utility bills--is highly stressful, to say the least.

Going to work overcome with life-and-death financial concerns can have a negative impact on your health--and also make you more distracted on the job. The only federal employees who are currently being forced to work for no pay are those deemed vital for our national security. And yet the workers entrusted with such a vital task may be preoccupied with such concerns as how they're going to feed their kids or pay their rent. From a safety perspective, this is a recipe for disaster--for all of us.

Of course, financial stress doesn't magically disappear the minute you leave work; the anxiety is present in every aspect of your life. Financial stress can make you more distracted in your daily driving activities--increasing your chances of an accident. A recent study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found a positive correlation between truck drivers' financial insecurity and trucking accidents.

The partial government shutdown forces hundreds of thousands of Americans into impossibly difficult situations. Ultimately, it represents a public safety concern for us all.

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