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Mandatory helmet use and the severity of motorcycle accidents: no brainer?

Blanco, Magdalena, Cabrera, José María, Carozzi, Felipe ORCID: 0000-0002-0458-5531 and Cid, Alejandro (2022) Mandatory helmet use and the severity of motorcycle accidents: no brainer? Economia: Journal of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association, 21 (2). 187 - 218. ISSN 1529-7470

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Identification Number: 10.31389/eco.229


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 a differences-in-differences design based on an unexpected change in policy, we report a sharp increase in helmet use and a 5 percentage point reduction in the incidence of serious or fatal motorcyclist accidents from a baseline of 11%. The benefits of helmet use are disproportionately borne by groups more likely to experience serious injuries such as males or young drivers. We find no evidence of other responses in terms of either the volume or type of accidents, suggesting motorcyclists' behaviour did not respond to differences in risk. We show that additional costs of enforcement for the relevant government agencies were negligible and estimate the health benefits of the policy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I12 - Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Suicide, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R4 - Transportation Systems > R41 - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
H - Public Economics > H8 - Miscellaneous Issues > H89 - Other
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2022 10:12
Last Modified: 30 May 2024 14:51

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