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The Fatality Risks of Sport-Utility Vehicles, Vans, and Pickups Relative to Cars

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  • Ted Gayer

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the public health consequences of the regulatory subsidy given to light trucks. The empirical challenge is to disentangle the causal effects of light trucks from the selection bias that may occur due to drivers sorting into different vehicle types depending on their unobservable characteristics. I address this by using state variation of snow depth as an instrumental variable for vehicle miles traveled of light trucks and cars. This instrument has strong first-stage explanatory power. Since snow depth is likely a direct determinant of crashes, I meet the exclusion criteria by restricting the dependent variable to those crashes that occurred in the summer. My findings suggest that, given a crash, light trucks are more dangerous to others but less dangerous for those driving them. However, I also find that light trucks are more likely to crash than cars, which neutralizes the safety advantage to those who drive them. My estimates for aggregate fatalities suggest that a world of light trucks leads to substantially more fatalities than a world of cars.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 2 (03)
    Pages: 103-133

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:28:y:2004:i:2:p:103-133

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100299

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    Cited by:
    1. Steimetz, Seiji S.C., 2008. "Defensive driving and the external costs of accidents and travel delays," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 703-724, November.
    2. Kyle Kinler & Jeffrey Wagner, 2014. "Greenness versus safety in vehicle footprint selection," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-45, March.
    3. Fischer, Carolyn, 2008. "Comparing flexibility mechanisms for fuel economy standards," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 3106-3114, August.
    4. Li, Shanjun, 2009. "Traffic Safety and Vehicle Choice: Quantifying the Effects of the "Arms Race" on American Roads," Discussion Papers dp-09-33, Resources For the Future.
    5. Grabowski, David C. & Morrisey, Michael A., 2006. "Do higher gasoline taxes save lives?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 51-55, January.
    6. Ian W. H. Parry & Margaret Walls & Winston Harrington, 2007. "Automobile Externalities and Policies," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 373-399, June.
    7. Matthew G. Nagler, 2005. "Adverse Network Effects, Moral Hazard, and the Case of Sport-Utility Vehicles," Working Papers 05-20, NET Institute, revised Oct 2005.
    8. Mark R. Jacobsen, 2012. "Fuel Economy and Safety: The Influences of Vehicle Class and Driver Behavior," NBER Working Papers 18012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Van Ommeren, Jos & Rietveld, Piet & Zagha Hop, Jack & Sabir, Muhammad, 2013. "Killing kilos in car accidents: Are external costs of car weight internalised?," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 86-93.
    10. Anderson, Michael, 2008. "Safety for whom? The effects of light trucks on traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 973-989, July.
    11. André de Palma & Moez Kilani & Robin Lindsey, 2007. "The economics of truck toll lanes," THEMA Working Papers 2007-13, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    12. Santos, Georgina & Behrendt, Hannah & Maconi, Laura & Shirvani, Tara & Teytelboym, Alexander, 2010. "Part I: Externalities and economic policies in road transport," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 2-45.
    13. de Palma, André & Kilani, Moez & Lindsey, Robin, 2008. "The merits of separating cars and trucks," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 340-361, September.
    14. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Mariatiziana Falcone, 2010. "The Deterrent Effects of Penalty Point System in Driving Licenses: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Working Papers 201004, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
    15. Michael Anderson & Maximilian Auffhammer, 2011. "Pounds that Kill: The External Costs of Vehicle Weight," NBER Working Papers 17170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Brozovic, Nicholas & Ando, Amy Whritenour, 2009. "Defensive purchasing, the safety (dis)advantage of light trucks, and motor-vehicle policy effectiveness," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 477-493, June.

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