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The Deterrent Effects of Penalty Point System in Driving Licenses: A Regression Discontinuity Approach

  • Maria De Paola


  • Vincenzo Scoppa


  • Mariatiziana Falcone


    (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)

Using data on road accidents, traffic fatalities and driving offences taking place in Italy over the period 2001-2005, we estimate the effects of the introduction on July 2003 of a penalty point system for driving offences. To identify the causal effect of the penalty point system on road safety we use a Regression Discontinuity Design. It emerges that, controlling for weather conditions, police patrols, speed cameras, gasoline price, the introduction of the penalty point system has led to a reduction of about 10% of road accidents and of about 25% of traffic fatalities. These findings are robust to different specifications of the model and different time windows. Moreover, it emerges that the driving offences for which the introduction of the new regime has determined a sharp change in the sanction scheme have reacted more than offences for which the change was less relevant.

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Paper provided by Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica) in its series Working Papers with number 201004.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201004
Contact details of provider: Postal: Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza, Ponte Pietro Bucci, Cubo 0/C, I-87036 Arcavacata di Rende, CS, Italy
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  1. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Jean-Marc Bourgeon & Pierre Picard, 2007. "Point-record driving licence and road safety : an economic approach," Post-Print hal-00243024, HAL.
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  4. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  5. Kolko Jed D, 2009. "The Effects of Mobile Phones and Hands-Free Laws on Traffic Fatalities," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-28, March.
  6. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "How Dangerous Are Drinking Drivers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1198-1237, December.
  7. Ted Gayer, 2004. "The Fatality Risks of Sport-Utility Vehicles, Vans, and Pickups Relative to Cars," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 103-133, 03.
  8. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
  9. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 1999. "Sample Selection in the Estimation of Air Bag and Seat Belt Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 7210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marc Poitras & Daniel Sutter, 2002. "Policy Ineffectiveness or Offsetting Behavior? An Analysis of Vehicle Safety Inspections," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 922-934, April.
  11. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2003. "The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 828-843, November.
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