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Seatbelt Use Following Stricter Drunk Driving Regulations


  • Scott Adams

    () (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)

  • Chad Cotti

    () (University of Connecticut)

  • Nathan Tefft

    () (University of Washington)


We present evidence from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System that shows increased seat-belt use following the enactment of stricter BAC thresholds in states where seat-belt laws are primarily enforced. This suggests that inebriated drivers may use their seat-belts more judiciously to avoid being identified as a drunk driver by law enforcement. The interactive effect of stricter drunk driving laws and primary seat-belt laws are also shown to be more effective than either law passed in isolation in terms of reducing traffic fatalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Adams & Chad Cotti & Nathan Tefft, 2013. "Seatbelt Use Following Stricter Drunk Driving Regulations," Working Papers 22, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:zwi:wpaper:22

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cotti Chad & Tefft Nathan, 2011. "Decomposing the Relationship between Macroeconomic Conditions and Fatal Car Crashes during the Great Recession: Alcohol- and Non-Alcohol-Related Accidents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-24, August.
    2. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
    3. Scott Adams & McKinley L. Blackburn & Chad D. Cotti, 2012. "Minimum Wages and Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities among Teens," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 828-840, August.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
    7. Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
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    More about this item


    seatbelts; drunk driving;

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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