Three essays on road safety

  • Autor: Eduardo Martínez Gabaldón
  • Director/es: Jorge Eduardo Martínez Pérez e Ildefonso Méndez Martínez
  • Defensa: 22/7/2021 - Universidad de Murcia
  • Tribunal: José María Abellán Perpiñán, Francisco Escribano Sotos, Patricia Cubí Mollá
  • Calificación: Sobresaliente cum laude

ABSTRACT

Road traffic accidents remain a major economic and public health problem both worldwide and in Spain. Specifically, in Spain, there were more than 100,000 traffic accidents in 2018, resulting in 1,806 deaths, 8,935 serious injuries, and 129,674 minor injuries. This thesis deals with the problem of traffic accidents from an economic point of view, considering traffic accidents as an externality or external costs associated with the transport sector. The externality associated with road accidents in passenger transport arises because users do not take into account the full cost when they decide to use their own vehicle. The solution to the problem of external costs is for the user to internalise these costs, i.e. to take them into account when making his decision to use his own vehicle. Regulatory authorities through non-economic instruments known as «command and control» can develop rules that affect the probability of having a road accident and the degree of severity of it. Examples of such rules include setting speed limits; compulsory use of helmets, seat belts, child restraint systems; prohibition of the use of mobile phones, radios or GPS while driving; prohibition of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, Penalty Point System, etc. The global objective of this thesis was to explore non-economic instruments used by regulatory authorities to internalise external road accidents costs by developing rules that affect the likelihood of having a road accident or the worsening of its consequences. With this global purpose, three individual objectives were attempted to be addressed:

  1. To estimate the causal effect of the introduction of the Penalty Point System on the number of deaths on Spanish roads.
  2. To identify those groups of the population that are most likely to engage in risky behaviours while driving, with the aim of designing public policies on road safety targeted at them.
  3. To explore how fostering certain personality traits in childhood can affect the likelihood of having a road traffic accident in adulthood.

To achieve these objectives, various advanced statistical and econometric methodologies and techniques were used (synthetic control method, logit, probit and linear estimation models; ANOVA and t-student models).

The main results and conclusions obtained in this doctoral thesis were that, despite the progress made with the introduction of the points-based licence, its effect seems to have been watered down over time and the driving behaviour of Spanish drivers continues to be dangerous. Furthermore, this behaviour differs according to sex, age, marital status and educational level. It is, therefore, necessary to implement new rules to reduce the probability of being involved in a traffic accident. In this sense, this doctoral thesis shows that the fostering of certain personality traits in childhood can influence the probability of having a traffic accident in adulthood.

 

RESUMEN

Los accidentes de tráfico siguen siendo un importante problema económico y de salud pública tanto a nivel mundial como en España. Poniendo cifras, en España, hubieron más de 100.000 accidentes de tráficos en las carreteras españolas en 2018, con un balance de 1.806 fallecidos, 8.935 heridos de gravedad y 129.674 heridos leves. Esta tesis aborda la problemática de los accidentes de tráfico desde un punto de vista económico, considerando a los accidentes de tráfico como una externalidad o costes externos asociada al sector del transporte. La externalidad asociada a los accidentes de tráfico en el transporte de pasajeros por carretera surge porque el usuario no tiene en cuenta el coste completo cuando decide usar su propio vehículo. La fórmula para solucionar el problema de los costes externos es que el usuario internalice dichos costes, esto es, los tenga en cuenta a la hora de tomar su decisión cuando utiliza su propio vehículo. Las autoridades reguladoras a través de instrumentos no económicos conocidos como “command and control” pueden desarrollar que afecten a la probabilidad de sufrir un accidente de tráfico y al grado de severidad de este. Ejemplo de tales reglas incluyen el establecimiento de límites de velocidad; el uso obligatorio de cascos, cinturones de seguridad, sistemas de retención infantil; prohibición del uso del móvil, radio o GPS mientras se conduce; prohibición de conducir bajo la influencia de alcohol y drogas, Sistema de conducción por puntos etc. El objetivo global de esta tesis fue explorar los instrumentos no económicos utilizados por las autoridades reguladoras para internalizar los costos externos de los accidentes de tráfico mediante la elaboración de normas que afecten a la probabilidad de tener un accidente de tráfico o al empeoramiento de sus consecuencias. Con este propósito global, se intentó abordar tres objetivos individuales:

  1. Estimar el efecto causal de la introducción del Sistema de Puntos de Penalización en el número de muertes en las carreteras españolas.
  2. Identificar los grupos de población más propensos a adoptar conductas de riesgo mientras conducen, con el fin de diseñar políticas públicas de seguridad vial dirigidas a ellos.
  3. Explorar cómo el fomento de ciertos rasgos de la personalidad en la infancia puede afectar a la probabilidad de tener un accidente de tráfico en la edad adulta.

Para alcanzar dichos objetivos se emplearon diversas metodologías y técnicas estadísticas y econométricas de nivel avanzado (método de control sintético, modelos de estimación lineal, logit y probit; modelos ANOVA, t-student).

Las principales resultados y conclusiones obtenidas en esta tesis doctoral han sido que, a pesar de los avances conseguidos con la introducción del permiso por puntos, su efecto parece haberse diluido en el tiempo y el comportamiento al volante de los conductores españoles sigue siendo peligroso. Ademas, este comportamiento difiere en función del sexo, edad, estado civil y nivel educativo. Por lo tanto, es necesario la implantación de nuevas reglas que permitan disminuir la probabilidad de sufrir un accidente de tráfico. En este sentido, esta tesis doctoral muestra que el fomento de determinados rasgos de personalidad en la infancia puede influir en la probabilidad de sufrir un accidente de tráfico en la edad adulta.

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Personality traits play an important role in explaining traffic crashes. We use data from the British Cohort Study 1970 to analyse the effect of the respondent's personality traits at age 10 on the probability of having had at least one injurious traffic crash at age 30. Our results support the hypothesis on the long-run associations between personality traits in childhood and injurious road crashes in adulthood, but only for men. Specifically, a one standard deviation increase in the level of conscientiousness at age 10 would lower men's likelihood of having at least one injurious traffic crash by approximately 3 percentage points. 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We use data from the May 2016 Spanish barometer (n = 1632) to analyse the characteristics of drivers who declare different types of risky driving behaviours. Our estimates suggest that the likelihood of being a high-risk driver in Spain increases with educational attainment and decreases with age. Moreover, it is higher for those with previous sanctions and for men, particularly so regarding speeding and driving after drinking alcohol. These results suggest that prevention policies in Spain should be targeted to different collectives of drivers depending on the particular risky behaviour considered. [post_title] => An empirical characterization of high-risk drivers in Spain. The role of gender, age, marital status and education [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => an-empirical-characterization-of-high-risk-drivers-in-spain-the-role-of-gender-age-marital-status-and-education [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-07-27 16:21:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-07-27 14:21:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://doctoradodecide.com/?post_type=publicaciones&p=3125 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => publicaciones [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3123 [post_author] => 19 [post_date] => 2020-04-26 12:31:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-26 10:31:57 [post_content] => Traffic accidents are a major public health concern since they are the leading cause of death for those aged 15–29 years and the ninth cause of death worldwide. In this paper, we estimate the overall effect on traffic fatalities of the introduction of the Penalty Point System (PPS) in Spain in 2006, jointly with those of the publicity campaigns that went with it and the reform of the Penal Code to toughen the consequences of traffic offenses in 2007. We use a synthetic-control method that controls for differences in the distribution of control variables, changing business cycles conditions, the effect of unexpected policies or events that happen between the pre- and the post-PPS periods and the arbitrariness in the selection of the control group. We find that the introduction of the PPS and related initiatives lead to a reduction of almost 15% in traffic fatality rates in Spain during the first two years. The magnitude of the estimated effect monotonically increased over time until reaching a 40% reduction in fatality rates in 2009 and 2010. 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