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Alcohol, Public Policy, and Highway Crashes: A Time-series Analysis of Older-driver Safety


  • Patrick S. McCarthy


The increasing proportion of older persons in the population has significant implications for mobility in the US and the safety performance of the US highway system. Health problems, loss of dexterity, medication, and slower reaction times are among the factors that affect older-driver-involved highway safety. Based upon time-series data from January 1981 through December 1998 for California, this study estimates multiple order autoregression models to analyse highway crashes involving older drivers. The results indicate that risk exposure is an important determinant of highway safety, with the greatest effects on fatal crashes in total and on alcohol-related fatal crashes when at least one driver is over the legal limit. Other important factors include alcohol availability, hospital accessibility, and the proportion of older drivers. Alcohol-related legislation had little effect on older-driver crashes when at least one driver was over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit and increasing speed limits to 70 mph decreased non-fatal injury crashes at the expense of fatal crashes. © 2005 LSE and the University of Bath

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick S. McCarthy, 2005. "Alcohol, Public Policy, and Highway Crashes: A Time-series Analysis of Older-driver Safety," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 39(1), pages 109-126, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpe:jtecpo:v:39:y:2005:i:1:p:109-126

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Guy Cox & Darren Grant, 2017. "Traffic Safety and Human Capital," Working Papers 1701, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    2. Rehim Kılıç & Patrick McCarthy, 2012. "Long-run equilibrium and short-run dynamics between risk exposure and highway safety," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 899-913, June.
    3. Daniel Albalate, 2013. "The Road against Fatalities: Infrastructure Spending vs. Regulation?," ERSA conference papers ersa13p221, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Mercedes Castro-Nuno & Jose I. Castillo-Manzano & Xavier Fageda, 2013. "The 'Europeanization' Of The Common Road Safety Policy: An Econometric Analysis," ERSA conference papers ersa13p50, European Regional Science Association.
    5. José I. Castillo-Manzano & Mercedes Castro-Nuño & Xavier Fageda, 2014. "“Are traffic violators criminals? Searching for answers in experiences of European countries”," IREA Working Papers 201415, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised May 2014.

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