Mandatory Helmet Use and the Severity of Motorcycle Accidents: No Brainer?

39 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2020

See all articles by Magdalena Blanco

Magdalena Blanco

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics

José Cabrera

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics

Felipe Carozzi

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Alejandro Cid

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 2020

Abstract

We study the impact of mandatory motorcycle helmet use laws on the severity and volume of road accidents in Uruguay by exploiting a change in the enforcement of the traffic law. Using event-study, differences-in-difference and synthetic control methods, we report a sharp increase in helmet use and a 40 percent reduction in the incidence of serious or fatal motorcyclist accidents as a result of the change in enforcement. The change translates into an increase in minor injuries, indicating a shift in the distribution of accident severity. We find no evidence of other behavioral responses in terms of either the volume or type of accidents. We show that additional costs of enforcement for the relevant government agencies were negligible and estimate the health benefits of the policy.

JEL Classification: H89, I12, I18, R41

Suggested Citation

Blanco, Magdalena and Cabrera, José and Carozzi, Felipe and Cid, Alejandro, Mandatory Helmet Use and the Severity of Motorcycle Accidents: No Brainer? (November 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3753900

Magdalena Blanco (Contact Author)

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics ( email )

Prudencio de Pena 2440
Montevideo, CP 11600
Uruguay

José Cabrera

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics ( email )

Prudencio de Pena 2440
Montevideo, CP 11600
Uruguay

Felipe Carozzi

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

United Kingdom

Alejandro Cid

University of Montevideo - Department of Economics ( email )

Prudencio de Pena 2440
Montevideo, CP 11600
Uruguay

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