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Are traffic violators criminals? Searching for answers in experiences of European countries

José I. Castillo-Manzano (), Mercedes Castro-Nuño () and Xavier Fageda
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José I. Castillo-Manzano: Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, University of Seville (Spain)
Mercedes Castro-Nuño: Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, University of Seville (Spain)

No 201415, IREA Working Papers from University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics

Abstract: The connection between road traffic safety and criminal behavior has recently become a topic of interest in the literature, although little emphasis placed on the relationship with road accidents. Evidence worldwide shows that people who commit other offences characteristic of antisocial attitudes, are more prone to suffer road traffic accidents and infringe traffic laws. Here we examine the records of the 28 current member states of the European Union over the period 1999-2010. Our aim is to test the hypothesis that crime rates (and specifically, motor vehicle-related crimes) may be considered as predictors of fatal road traffic accidents. If they may, this could justify, at least prima facie, the tendency in several countries to consider traffic offences as crimes in their penal codes and to toughen the punishment imposed on those who commit them. We also analyze the effect of the severity of the legal system applied to traffic offences. Our results reveal that road traffic fatality rates are higher in countries whose inhabitants have more aggressive behavior, while the rates are lower in countries with more severe penal systems.

Keywords: Road fatalities; Motor Vehicle Crime; Law enforcement; Panel Data; European Union JEL classification: C33; I18; K42; R41. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 20 pages
Date: 2014-05, Revised 2014-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-law, nep-tre and nep-ure
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