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Texting Bans and Fatal Accidents on Roadways: Do They Work? Or Do Drivers Just React to Announcements of Bans?

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  • Rahi Abouk
  • Scott Adams

Abstract

Since 2007, many states passed laws prohibiting text messaging while driving. Using vehicular fatality data from across the United States and standard difference-in-differences techniques, bans appear moderately successful at reducing single-vehicle, single-occupant accidents if bans are universally applied and enforced as a primary offense. Bans enforced as secondary offenses, however, have at best no effect on accidents. Any reduction in accidents following texting bans is short-lived, however, with accidents returning to near former levels within a few months. This is suggestive of drivers reacting to the announcement of the legislation only to return to old habits shortly afterward. (JEL D12, K42, R41)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 179-99

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:179-99

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.2.179
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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
  3. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2009. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 164-82, January.
  4. Cotti, Chad D. & Walker, Douglas M., 2010. "The impact of casinos on fatal alcohol-related traffic accidents in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 788-796, December.
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