Do Mandatory Seat Belt Laws Affect Socioeconomic Inequalities in Seat Belt Use?
McGill University - Epidemiology, Biostatistics, & Occupational Health
McGill University - Department of Economics; McGill University - Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law
George Davey Smith
University of Bristol - MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
University of South Australia
July 30, 2012
We investigated the effect of mandatory seat belt laws on socioeconomic differences in seat belt use. We identified the differential effect of legislation across socioeconomic groups using a difference-in-difference-in-differences model based on state variations in the timing of the passage of laws. Seat belt laws consistently reduced educational and income gaps, with the smallest differences between socioeconomic groups observed among states that do not require any other violation to issue a citation for seat belt non-use (primary enforcement). Our results imply that existing socioeconomic differences in seat belt use would be further mitigated if all states upgraded to primary enforcement.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: safety legislation, health behaviors, health inequalities
JEL Classification: I18, K32, I00
Date posted: July 31, 2012