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Economic factors and traffic crashes in New Zealand

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  • P. A. Scuffham

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the changes in the trend and seasonal patterns of fatal crashes in New Zealand in relation to changes in economic conditions between 1970 and 1994. The Harvey (Harvey and Durbin, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 149 (3), 187-227, 1986) Structural Time Series Model (STSM), an 'unobserved components' class of model, was used to estimate the quarterly number of fatal traffic crashes. Independent variables included distance travelled, the unemployment rate (UER), real gross domestic product per capita (RGDP), the proportion of motorcycles, the proportion of young males in the population, alcohol consumption per capita, the open road speed limit, and dummy variables for the 1973 and 1979 oil crises and seatbelt wearing laws. Distance travelled, RGDP, UER, and alcohol consumption per capita were significant factors in explaining the short-run dynamics of fatal crashes with the effect of RGDP greater than UER. Increases in either RGDP or UER were related with decreases in fatal crashes. The STSM is a feasible approach to modelling the effect of economic factors on traffic crashes whilst accounting for unobserved components.

Suggested Citation

  • P. A. Scuffham, 2003. "Economic factors and traffic crashes in New Zealand," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 179-188.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:35:y:2003:i:2:p:179-188 DOI: 10.1080/0003684022000017566
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McCarthy, Patrick S., 1993. "The effect of higher rural interstate speed limits in alcohol-related accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 281-299, October.
    2. Harvey, Andrew C & Koopman, Siem Jan, 1992. "Diagnostic Checking of Unobserved-Components Time Series Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(4), pages 377-389, October.
    3. Harvey, A. C., 1986. "The effects of seat belt legislation on British road casualities: A case study in structural modelling : A.C. Harvey and J. Durbing, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A 149 (1986) (in p," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 496-497.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yoshitsugu Kitazawa, 2010. "Size of economic activity and occurrence of fatal traffic accidents: a count panel data analysis on Fukuoka prefecture in Japan," Discussion Papers 41, Kyushu Sangyo University, Faculty of Economics.
    2. Elizabeth Kopits & Maureen Cropper, 2008. "Why Have Traffic Fatalities Declined in Industrialised Countries?: Implications for Pedestrians and Vehicle Occupants," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 42(1), pages 129-154, January.

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