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Safety for whom? The effects of light trucks on traffic fatalities

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  • Anderson, Michael

Abstract

Light trucks have doubled their share of the vehicle fleet from 1980 to 2004. This paper examines the effects of this increase on traffic safety, combining estimates from a state-level panel data set with an accident-level micro-data set. The results suggest that a one-percentage point increase in light truck share raises annual traffic fatalities by 0.34%, or 143 deaths per year. Of this increase, approximately one-fifth accrue to the light trucks' own occupants, and the remaining four-fifths accrue to the occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians. Using standard value of life figures, the implied Pigovian tax is approximately 3850 dollars per light truck sold. Overall, light trucks pose a significant hazard to other users of the highway system but on average provide no additional protection to their own occupants.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Michael, 2008. "Safety for whom? The effects of light trucks on traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 973-989, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:4:p:973-989
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael L. Anderson & Maximilian Auffhammer, 2014. "Pounds That Kill: The External Costs of Vehicle Weight," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 535-571.
    2. Oster, Clinton V. & Strong, John S., 2013. "Analyzing road safety in the United States," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 98-111.
    3. Castillo-Manzano, José I. & Castro-Nuño, Mercedes & Fageda, Xavier, 2016. "Exploring the relationship between truck load capacity and traffic accidents in the European Union," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 94-109.
    4. Lauren E. Jones & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2016. "Successful Scientific Replication and Extension of Levitt (2008): Child Seats are Still No Safer Than Seat Belts," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(5), pages 920-928, August.
    5. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2016. "The private (unnoticed) welfare cost of highway speeding behavior from time saving misperceptions," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 7, pages 24-37.
    6. Van Ommeren, Jos & Rietveld, Piet & Zagha Hop, Jack & Sabir, Muhammad, 2013. "Killing kilos in car accidents: Are external costs of car weight internalised?," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 86-93.
    7. Shanjun Li, 2012. "Traffic safety and vehicle choice: quantifying the effects of the ‘arms race’ on American roads," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 34-62, January.
    8. French, Michael T. & Gumus, Gulcin, 2014. "Macroeconomic fluctuations and motorcycle fatalities in the U.S," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 187-193.
    9. repec:eee:resene:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:99-112 is not listed on IDEAS

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