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The Impact of Driver Cell Phone Use on Accidents

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  • Hahn, Robert W.
  • Prieger, James E.

Abstract

Cell phone use is increasing worldwide, leading to a concern that cell phone use while driving increases accidents. Several countries, three states and Washington, D.C. have banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. In this paper, we develop a new approach for estimating the relationship between cell phone use while driving and accidents. Our approach is the first to allow for the direct estimation of the impact of a cell phone ban while driving. It is based on new survey data from over 7,000 individuals. This paper differs from previous research in two significant ways: first, we use a larger sample of individual-level data; and second, we test for selection effects, such as whether drivers who use cell phones are inherently less safe drivers, even when not on the phone. The paper has two key findings. First, the impact of cell phone use on accidents varies across the population. This result implies that previous estimates of the impact of cell phone use on risk for the population, based on accident-only samples, may be overstated by about one-third. Second, once we correct for endogeneity, there is no significant effect of hands-free or hand-held cell phone use on accidents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 68.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:68

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Web page: http://regulation2point0.org/

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  1. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  2. Burnett, Jason K. & Hahn, Robert W. & Tetlock, Paul C., 2000. "Should You Be Allowed to Use Your Cellular Phone While Driving?," Working paper 58, Regulation2point0.
  3. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Dudley, Patrick M. & Hahn, Robert W., 2002. "The Disconnect Between Law and Policy Analysis: A Case Study of Drivers and Cell Phones," Working paper 350, Regulation2point0.
  6. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-88, January.
  7. Hahn Robert W. & Prieger James E, 2007. "The Impact of Driver Cell Phone Use on Accidents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-39, January.
  8. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  10. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Gerard Pfann, 1992. "Turnover and the Dynamics of Labor Demand," NBER Working Papers 4204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Kolko, Jed, 2007. "Dialing While Fishtailing: How Mobile Phones, Hands-Free Laws, and Driving Conditions Interact to Affect Traffic Fatalities," MPRA Paper 4135, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Bhargava, Saurabh & Pathania, Vikram, 2007. "Driving Under the (Cellular) Influence: The Link Between Cell Phone Use and Vehicle Crashes," Working paper 549, Regulation2point0.
  3. Daniel Sperber & Alan Shiell & Ken Fyie, 2010. "The cost-effectiveness of a law banning the use of cellular phones by drivers," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(10), pages 1212-1225.
  4. Hahn, Robert W. & Prieger, James E., 2006. "The Impact of Driver Cell Phone Use on Accidents," Working paper 40, Regulation2point0.

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