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Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of traffic tickets on motor vehicle accidents. OLS estimates may be upward-biased because police officers tend to focus on areas where and periods when there is heavy traffic and thus higher rates of accidents. This paper exploits the dramatic increase in tickets during the Click-it-or-Ticket campaign to identify the causal impact of tickets on accidents using data from Massachusetts. I find that tickets significantly reduce accidents and non-fatal injuries. However, there is limited evidence that tickets lead to fewer fatalities. I provide suggestive evidence that tickets have a larger impact at night and on female drivers.

Suggested Citation

  • Dara N. Lee, 2011. "Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 1119, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 17 Jan 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1119
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    File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2011/wp1119_leedn.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kate Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2009. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 163-177, February.
    2. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 509-527, March.
    3. Carpenter, Christopher S. & Stehr, Mark, 2008. "The effects of mandatory seatbelt laws on seatbelt use, motor vehicle fatalities, and crash-related injuries among youths," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 642-662, May.
    4. Dills, Angela K., 2010. "Social host liability for minors and underage drunk-driving accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 241-249, March.
    5. Anbarci, Nejat & Lee, Jungmin, 2008. "Speed Discounting and Racial Disparities: Evidence from Speeding Tickets in Boston," IZA Discussion Papers 3903, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Molitor, Ramona, 2017. "Publicly announced speed limit enforcement and its impact on road safety: Evidence from the German Blitzmarathons," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-75-17, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    traffic tickets; motor vehicle accidents; natural experiment;

    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
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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