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The cost-effectiveness of a law banning the use of cellular phones by drivers

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Author Info

  • Daniel Sperber

    (Population Health Intervention Research Centre, University of Calgary, Canada)

  • Alan Shiell

    (Population Health Intervention Research Centre, University of Calgary, Canada)

  • Ken Fyie

    (Population Health Intervention Research Centre, University of Calgary, Canada)

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    Abstract

    Objective: To assess the cost-effectiveness of a law banning the use of cellular phones by drivers in the Canadian province of Alberta. Method: Cost-effectiveness analysis using a probabilistic decision-analytic model and publicly available data. We adopted a societal perspective. Health gains were measured in terms of quality-adjusted life-years. Costs include those associated with awareness raising, enforcement and the welfare loss associated with the reduction in cellular phone use, less savings in health care and other costs associated with automobile accidents. Results: A ban promotes health and releases resources worth more than the costs. There is an 80% chance that a ban will be 'cost saving', and a 94% chance that a ban will cost less than Can$50 000|QALY. The results are sensitive to the additional risk posed by cellular phone use while driving, and the rate and pattern with which drivers comply with a ban. Conclusion: Under our base line assumptions a cellular phone ban is likely to be cost saving from a societal perspective. The results are sensitive to parameters for which there is very little information or for which the available information is contradictory. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1546
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 10 ()
    Pages: 1212-1225

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:10:p:1212-1225

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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    1. Peter D. Loeb & William A. Clarke & Richard Anderson, 2007. "The Impact of Cell Phones and BAC Laws on Motor Vehicle Fatality Rates," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2007-003, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
    3. Iimi, Atsushi, 2005. "Estimating demand for cellular phone services in Japan," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 3-23, February.
    4. Jerry A. Hausman, 1997. "Valuing the Effect of Regulation on New Services in Telecommunications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1997 Micr), pages 1-54.
    5. Hahn, Robert W. & Prieger, James E., 2004. "The Impact of Driver Cell Phone Use on Accidents," Working paper 68, Regulation2point0.
    6. Bhargava, Saurabh & Pathania, Vikram, 2007. "Driving Under the (Cellular) Influence: The Link Between Cell Phone Use and Vehicle Crashes," Working paper 549, Regulation2point0.
    7. Hahn, Robert W. & Tetlock, Paul C., 1999. "The Economics of Regulating Cellular Phones in Vehicles," Working paper 526, Regulation2point0.
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