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A radical change in traffic law: effects on fatalities in the Czech Republic

Josef Montag ()

No 2013-39, MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics from Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics

Abstract: This study examines short- and long-run effects of a new—stricter—road traffic law on traf- fic accident-related fatalities in the Czech Republic. The law introduced tougher punishments through the introduction of a demerit point system and a manifold increase in fines, together with augmented authority of traffic police. Identification is based on difference-in-differences methodology, with neighbouring countries serving as a control group. I find a sharp, 33.3%, decrease in accident-related fatalities during the first three post-reform months. This trans- lates into 127 saved lives (95% confidence interval: 51, 204). The decline was, however, temporary; the estimates of the effects going beyond the first year are around zero. Unique data on traffic police activity reveal that police resources devoted to traffic law enforcement gradually declined. Tougher penalties have significant, but often short-lived effects. Weaker enforcement in the aftermath of such reforms may explain the absence of long-run effects.

Keywords: traffic law; traffic accidents; demerit point system; law enforcement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J28 I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26
Date: 2013-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law, nep-tra, nep-tre and nep-ure
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