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Traffic safety and vehicle choice: quantifying the effects of the ‘arms race’ on American roads

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  • Shanjun Li

Abstract

The increasing market share of light trucks in the U.S. in recent years has been characterized as an “arms race” where individual purchase of light trucks for better self-protection in collisions nevertheless leads to worse traffic safety for the society. This paper investigates the interrelation between traffic safety and vehicle choice by quantifying the effects of the arms race on vehicle demand, producer performance, and traffic safety. The empirical analysis shows that the accident externality of a light truck amounts to $2,444 in 2006 dollars during vehicle lifetime. Counterfactual simulations suggest that about 12 percent of new light trucks sold in 2006 and 204 traffic fatalities could be attributed to the arms race.
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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:japmet:v:27:y:2012:i:1:p:34-62
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    Cited by:

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    2. 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.
    3. Justin Tyndall, 2020. "Pedestrian Deaths and Large Vehicles," Working Papers 2020-4, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    4. Aney, Madhav S. & Ho, Christine, 2019. "Deadlier road accidents? Traffic safety regulations and heterogeneous motorists’ behavior," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 155-171.
    5. 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.
    6. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2014. "Shedding light on the appropriateness of the (high) gasoline tax level in Germany," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 189-210.
    7. Liu, Yizao, 2017. "Safer or cheaper? Traffic safety, vehicle choices and the effect of new corporate average fuel economy standards," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 99-112.
    8. Thomas Klier & Joshua Linn, 2011. "Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards and the Market for New Vehicles," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 445-462, October.
    9. Hackbarth, André & Madlener, Reinhard, 2018. "Combined Vehicle Type and Fuel Type Choices of Private Households: An Empirical Analysis for Germany," FCN Working Papers 17/2018, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised May 2019.
    10. Lucija Muehlenbachs & Stefan Staubli & Ziyan Chu, 2017. "The Accident Externality from Trucking," NBER Working Papers 23791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Xing, Jianwei & Leard, Benjamin & Li, Shanjun, 2021. "What does an electric vehicle replace?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).
    12. Soren T. Anderson & Ian W. H. Parry & James M. Sallee & Carolyn Fischer, 2011. "Automobile Fuel Economy Standards: Impacts, Efficiency, and Alternatives," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 89-108, Winter.
    13. 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.
    14. Li, Shanjun & Liu, Yanyan & Zhang, Junjie, 2009. "Lose Some, Save Some: Obesity, Automobile Demand, and Gasoline Consumption in the U.S," Discussion Papers dp-09-34, Resources For the Future.
    15. Greene, David L. & Greenwald, Judith M. & Ciez, Rebecca E., 2020. "U.S. fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards: What have they achieved and what have we learned?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    16. Kyle Kinler & Jeffrey Wagner, 2014. "Greenness versus safety in vehicle footprint selection," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-45, March.

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