Safer roads owing to higher gasoline prices: How long it takes

Guangqing Chi, Willie Brown, Xiang Zhang, Yanbing Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives. We investigated how much time passes before gasoline price changes affect traffic crashes. Methods. We systematically examined 2004 to 2012 Mississippi traffic crash data by age, gender, and race. Control variables were unemployment rate, seat belt use, alcohol consumption, climate, and temporal and seasonal variations. Results. We found a positive association between higher gasoline prices and safer roads. Overall, gasoline prices affected crashes 9 to 10 months after a price change. This finding was generally consistent across age, gender, and race, with some exceptions. For those aged 16 to 19 years, gasoline price increases had an immediate (although statistically weak) effect and a lagged effect, but crashes involving those aged 25 to 34 years was seemingly unaffected by price changes. For older individuals (≥ 75 years), the lagged effect was stronger and lasted longer than did that of other age groups. Conclusions. The results have important health policy implications for using gasoline prices and taxes to improve traffic safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e119-e125
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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