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Are Drivers Who Use Cell Phones Inherently Less Safe?

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Listed:
  • James E. Prieger
  • Robert W. Hahn

Abstract

Mobile phone usage while driving is increasing throughout the world. In this paper, we use survey data from 7,268 U.S. drivers to estimate the relationship between mobile phone use while driving and accidents. We hypothesize that drivers who use mobile phones while driving may be more likely to get into accidents than drivers who do not, even when they are not using the phone. We find evidence for the endogeneity of mobile phone and hands-free device usage, and our analysis suggests that individuals who are more likely to use hands-free devices are more careful drivers even without them. Once we correct for the endogeneity of usage, our models predict no statistically significant increase in accidents from mobile phone usage, whether hand-held or hands-free. Our results call into question previous cost-benefit analyses of bans on mobile phone usage while driving, which typically assume that such bans with have a salutary effect.

Suggested Citation

  • James E. Prieger & Robert W. Hahn, 2007. "Are Drivers Who Use Cell Phones Inherently Less Safe?," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 53(4), pages 327-352.
  • Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqaeq:v53_y2007_i4_q4_p327-352
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    Cited by:

    1. Kolko Jed D, 2009. "The Effects of Mobile Phones and Hands-Free Laws on Traffic Fatalities," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-28, March.
    2. Nicholas E. Burger & Daniel T. Kaffine & Bo Yu, 2013. "Did California's hand-held cell phone ban reduce accidents?," Working Papers 2013-08, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cellular telephones and driving; safety regulation; selection effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions

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