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