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

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2015, 34(1): 85-106

41 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2011 Last revised: 22 Nov 2015

Date Written: November 5, 2013

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. I provide suggestive evidence that tickets have a larger impact at night and on female drivers.

Keywords: traffic tickets, motor vehicle accidents, natural experiment

JEL Classification: K32, K42, R41

Suggested Citation

Luca, Dara Lee, Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment (November 5, 2013). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2015, 34(1): 85-106, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1939586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1939586

Dara Lee Luca (Contact Author)

Mathematica Policy Research ( email )

P.O. Box 2393
Princeton, NJ 08543-2393
United States

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