A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that the stay-at-home order led to a large decrease in traffic accidents as a large decrease in mobility in Louisiana. Further, the composition of accidents has changed.
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GLO Discussion Paper No. 616, 2020
The Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on Mobility and Traffic Accidents: Evidence from Louisiana – Download PDF
by Barnes, Stephen R. & Beland, Louis-Philippe & Huh, Jason & Kim, Dongwoo
GLO Fellow Louis-Philippe Beland
Author Abstract: We use a regression discontinuity design to study the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on mobility and traffic accidents. Based on data from Google Community Mobility reports and Uniform Traffic Crash Report from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD), we find that the stay-at-home order led to a large decrease in traffic accidents (-47 percent). In particular, we find a large decrease in accidents involving injury (-46 percent), distracted drivers (-43 percent), and ambulances (-41 percent). We also find evidence of a change in the composition of accidents, with more incidents involving individuals aged 25 to 64, male, and nonwhite drivers. Interestingly, we find no impact on ambulance response time, despite lower traffic. Finally, we document a large decrease in mobility in Louisiana. Our results have important policy implications for traffic management policies.
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