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Estimating the Impact of Seat Belt Use on Traffic Fatalities: Empirical Evidence from Canada

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  • Anindya Sen
  • Brent Mizzen

Abstract

This study contributes to the literature by using provincial data in Canada between 1980 and 1996 to analyze the effect of seat belt use on traffic fatalities. Empirical estimates from first stage instrumental-variables regressions suggest that the enactment of mandatory seat belt laws is significantly associated with an increase in average seat belt use, while corresponding estimates from second stage regressions imply that a 1 percent increase in average seat belt use is correlated with a 0.17­0.21 percent drop in vehicle-occupant fatalities. These results suggest that roughly 17 percent of the observed decline in vehicle-occupant fatalities is attr ibutable to the enactment of mandatory seat belt legislation and the corresponding increase in seat belt use. Keywords:

Suggested Citation

  • Anindya Sen & Brent Mizzen, 2007. "Estimating the Impact of Seat Belt Use on Traffic Fatalities: Empirical Evidence from Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 33(3), pages 315-336, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:33:y:2007:i:3:p:315-336
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert S. Chirinko & Edward P. Harper, 1993. "Buckle up or slow down? New estimates of offsetting behavior and their implications for automobile safety regulation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 270-296.
    2. Sass, Tim R & Zimmerman, Paul R, 2000. "Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Motorcyclist Fatalities," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 195-215, November.
    3. Garbacz, Christopher, 1990. "Estimating seat belt effectiveness with seat belt usage data from the Centers for Disease Control," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 83-88, September.
    4. Singh, Harinder & Thayer, Mark, 1992. "Impact of Seat Belt Use on Driving Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(4), pages 649-658, October.
    5. Peterson, Steven & Hoffer, George & Millner, Edward, 1995. "Are Drivers of Air-Bag-Equipped Cars More Aggressive? A Test of the Offsetting Behavior Hypothesis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 251-264, October.
    6. Chaloupka, Frank J & Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1993. "Alcohol-Control Policies and Motor-Vehicle Fatalities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 161-186, January.
    7. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
    8. Evans, William N & Graham, John D, 1991. "Risk Reduction or Risk Compensation? The Case of Mandatory Safety-Belt Use Laws," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 61-73, January.
    9. Young, Douglas J. & Likens, Thomas W., 2000. "Alcohol Regulation and Auto Fatalities," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 107-126, March.
    10. McCarthy, Patrick S., 1999. "Public policy and highway safety: a city-wide perspective," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 231-244, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lv, Jinpeng & Lord, Dominique & Zhang, Yunlong & Chen, Zhi, 2015. "Investigating Peltzman effects in adopting mandatory seat belt laws in the US: Evidence from non-occupant fatalities," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 58-64.
    2. Anderson, D. Mark & Sandholt, Sina, 2016. "Booster Seats and Traffic Fatalities among Children," IZA Discussion Papers 10071, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Lauren E. Jones & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2017. "U.S. Child Safety Seat Laws: Are they Effective, and Who Complies?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(3), pages 584-607, June.
    4. Bae, Yong-Kyun, 2011. "Primary Seat Belt Laws and Offsetting Behavior: Empirical Evidence from Individual Accident Data," MPRA Paper 30443, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Antonio Nicita & Simona Benedettini, 2012. "The Costs of Avoiding Accidents.Selective Compliance and the 'Peltzman Effect' in Italy," Department of Economics University of Siena 631, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    6. Anindya Sen & May Luong, 2008. "Estimating The Impact Of Beer Prices On The Incidence Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Cross-Province And Time Series Evidence From Canada," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 505-517, October.
    7. Benedettini, Simona & Nicita, Antonio, 2012. "The costs of avoiding accidents: Selective compliance and the ‘Peltzman effect’ in Italy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 256-270.

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