Title

The Impact of State Level Behavioral Regulations on Traffic Fatality Rates

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

A state by year panel is analyzed to simultaneously explore the statistical correlation between state level traffic fatality rates and state level behavioral regulations regarding teen licensing, seat belt use, and driving under the influence (DUI) in a model that also controls for other correlates. Method: By including measures of all three of these policies, the estimated policy effects should not be overstated due to underspecification bias. The panel includes the 48 contiguous U.S. states for the time period from 1999 through 2003. State fatality rates are measured as fatalities per million miles traveled. Measures of state policies regarding traffic safety related behavior are based on information gathered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Estimates are calculated via a time fixed effects model that uses the double-log form to allow for interaction effects between the independent variables. Results: Least squares estimates indicate that, on average, more restrictive graduated teen licensing and DUI policies significantly reduce traffic fatality rates, while stricter seat belt enforcement policies have a statistically insignificant negative impact on fatality rates.

DOI

10.1016/j.jsr.2009.10.003