IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Mariatiziana Falcone, 2010. "The Deterrent Effects of Penalty Point System in Driving Licenses: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Working Papers 201004, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2010-02
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lucas W. Davis, 2008. "The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Air Quality in Mexico City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 38-81, February.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    5. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    6. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "Sample Selection In The Estimation Of Air Bag And Seat Belt Effectiveness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 603-615, November.
    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, March.
    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. Bourgeon, Jean-Marc & Picard, Pierre, 2007. "Point-record driving licence and road safety: An economic approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 235-258, February.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Nicita & Simona Benedettini, 2012. "The Costs of Avoiding Accidents.Selective Compliance and the 'Peltzman Effect' in Italy," Department of Economics University of Siena 631, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Castillo-Manzano, José I. & Castro-Nuño, Mercedes, 2012. "Driving licenses based on points systems: Efficient road safety strategy or latest fashion in global transport policy? A worldwide meta-analysis," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 191-201.
    3. Benedettini, Simona & Nicita, Antonio, 2012. "The costs of avoiding accidents: Selective compliance and the ‘Peltzman effect’ in Italy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 256-270.

    More about this item


    Law Enforcement; Deterrence; Safety and Accidents; Panel Estimations;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Giovanni Dodero). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.