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Effects of snowfalls on motor vehicle collisions, injuries, and fatalities


  • Eisenberg, D.
  • Warner, K.E.


Objectives. We estimated the effects of snowfalls on US traffic crash rates between 1975 and 2000. Methods. We linked all recorded fatal crashes (1.4 million) for the 48 contiguous states from 1975 through 2000 to daily state weather data. For a subsample including 17 states during the 1990s, we also linked all recorded property-damage-only crashes (22.9 million) and nonfatal-injury crashes (13.5 million) to daily weather data. Employing negative binomial regressions, we investigated the effects of snowfall on crash counts. Fixed effects and other controls were included to address potential confounders. Results. Snow days had fewer fatal crashes than dry days (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.93; 95% confidence interval [Cl] = 0.90, 0.97), but more nonfatal-injury crashes (IRR = 1.23; 95% Cl = 1.18, 1.29) and property-damage-only crashes (IRR = 1.45; 95% Cl = 1.38, 1.52). The first snowy day of the year was substantially more dangerous than other snow days in terms of fatalities (IRR = 1.14; 95% Cl = 1.08, 1.21), particularly for elderly drivers (IRR= 1.34; 95% Cl = 1.23, 1.50). Conclusions. The toll of snow-related crashes is substantial. Our results may help estimate the potential benefits of safety innovations currently proposed by meteorology and traffic safety experts.

Suggested Citation

  • Eisenberg, D. & Warner, K.E., 2005. "Effects of snowfalls on motor vehicle collisions, injuries, and fatalities," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 95(1), pages 120-124.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2004.048926_7
    DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.048926

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    3. Noland, Robert B., 2013. "From theory to practice in road safety policy: Understanding risk versus mobility," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 71-84.
    4. Mahdi Pour-Rouholamin & Mohammad Jalayer & Huaguo Zhou, 2017. "Modelling single-vehicle, single-rider motorcycle crash injury severity: an ordinal logistic regression approach," International Journal of Urban Sciences, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 344-363, September.
    5. Wolff, Hendrik, 2014. "Value of time: Speeding behavior and gasoline prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 71-88.
    6. Olivier DeschĂȘnes & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Extreme Weather Events, Mortality, and Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 659-681, November.
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    8. Corsaro, Nicholas & Gerard, Daniel W. & Engel, Robin S. & Eck, John E., 2012. "Not by accident: An analytical approach to traffic crash harm reduction," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 502-514.
    9. Black, Alan W. & Mote, Thomas L., 2015. "Effects of winter precipitation on automobile collisions, injuries, and fatalities in the United States," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 165-175.
    10. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Popova, Olga & Solomin, Pavel, 2017. "Health Consequences of the Russian Weather," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 290-306.
    11. Hocheol Jeon, 2019. "The Impact of Climate Change on Passenger Vehicle Fuel Consumption: Evidence from U.S. Panel Data," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(23), pages 1-15, November.
    12. Khaleghei Ghosheh Balagh, Akram & Naderkhani, Farnoosh & Makis, Viliam, 2014. "Highway Accident Modeling and Forecasting in Winter," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 384-396.
    13. Daniel Burow & Christopher Atkinson, 2019. "An examination of traffic volume during snow events in northeast Ohio," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 99(2), pages 1179-1189, November.
    14. Andrey, Jean, 2010. "Long-term trends in weather-related crash risks," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 247-258.
    15. Wozny, Florian, 2020. "Hospital Resources: Persistent Reallocation under Price Changes," IZA Discussion Papers 13256, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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