The costs of avoiding accidents: Selective compliance and the ‘Peltzman effect’ in Italy
We empirically investigate the deterrent and offsetting effects of the introduction of a point-record driving license (PDRL) in Italy. We find that the PDRL resulted in a sharp reduction of seat belt offenses, and in a noticeable decrease of road accidents. However, the reduction in occupant fatalities and injuries was associated with an increase in non-occupant ones, suggesting a remarkable “Peltzman effect”. We then discuss whether a given enforcement design, by inducing drivers to make the best use of safety resources already available to them, may generate more external costs than would otherwise occur.
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