ERIC Number: EJ759371
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: N/A
Reducing Traffic Fatalities in the American States by Upgrading Seat Belt Use Laws to Primary Enforcement
Houston, David J.; Richardson, Lilliard E., Jr.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, v25 n3 p645-659 Sum 2006
A key component of crime deterrence is the certainty of detection, but in 2005 seat belt laws in 27 states prohibited law enforcement officers from ticketing an observed violation unless the driver is stopped for another offense, which is referred to as secondary enforcement. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have upgraded from secondary to primary enforcement, which authorizes police to stop a motor vehicle if a driver or occupant covered by the law is observed not using a seat belt. To test the impact of seat belt enforcement provisions, cross-sectional time series regressions are estimated for annual driver and occupant fatality rates in the American states from 1990 to 2002. Using several control variables for other traffic policies and state demographics, the results indicate primary enforcement is more effective in saving lives than secondary enforcement. Furthermore, upgrading to a primary law enhances the effectiveness of an existing state mandatory use law.
Descriptors: Restraints (Vehicle Safety), Motor Vehicles, Police, Law Enforcement, Traffic Safety, Crime Prevention, Public Policy, State Legislation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States