A Radical Change in Traffic Law: Effects on Fatalities in the Czech Republic
I evaluate the effects of a new road traffic law in the Czech Republic that became effective on July 1, 2006. The law introduced tougher punishments through the introduction of a demerit point system and a manifold increase in fines, together with an augmented authority of traffic police. I find a sharp, 33.3 percent, decrease in accident-related fatalities during the first three post-reform months. This translates into 51 to 204 saved lives with 95 percent certainty. The decline was, however, temporary; estimates of the effects going beyond the first year are around zero. Unique data on traffic police activity reveal that police resources devoted to traffic law enforcement gradually declined and were shifted towards general law enforcement.
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