Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Phone: the Effect of Smart Phone Usage on Road Safety

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2020-024/VIII

48 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by Devi Brands

Devi Brands

VU University Amsterdam

Joris Klingen

VU University Amsterdam

Francis Ostermeijer

VU University Amsterdam

Date Written: April 22, 2020

Abstract

We provide novel evidence on the effect of smart phone use on road accidents. We exploit variation in phone usage fees in the Netherlands following a change in European Union (EU) roaming regulations implemented in 2017. The growth rate of mobile data roaming increased substantially after the change, which allows us to estimate a difference-in-differences model where non-Dutch drivers from the EU are treated, while Dutch drivers serve as control group. Our results suggest that around 10% of vehicles involved in accidents can be explained by the use of smart phones, and that these accidents mainly happen on urban roads.

Keywords: road safety, accident risk, smart phones, urban roads

JEL Classification: K42, R41, I12

Suggested Citation

Brands, Devi and Klingen, Joris and Ostermeijer, Francis, Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Phone: the Effect of Smart Phone Usage on Road Safety (April 22, 2020). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2020-024/VIII, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3603218 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3603218

Devi Brands (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

Joris Klingen

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

Francis Ostermeijer

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

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