Gas prices, beer taxes and GDL programmes: effects on auto fatalities among young adults in the US uri icon


  • Efforts to reduce teenage driving fatalities can be categorized as: enhancing driving skills, constraining driving behaviour and limiting the exposure of young drivers to the road. This article uses state-year specific Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data on the motor vehicle fatalities of young adults aged 15-24 to estimate the effects of gasoline prices, beer taxes and the enactment of Graduated Drivers License (GDL) programmes over the 1985-2006 period. Results indicate that a 10% increase in gasoline prices reduce fatalities by 3.2-6.2%. The largest percentage reductions occurred among 15- to 17-year-old drivers. 10% higher beer taxes were estimated to reduce motor vehicle fatalities among young drivers by approximately 1.3%. In this case, there was virtually no effect on 15- to 17-year-old drivers. Finally, the introduction of more restrictive GDL programmes, those with a 6-month learner's permit phase and subsequent limits on early nighttime driving or on the number of passengers, reduced fatalities among 15- to 17-year-old drivers by 24%. The effects on 18- to 21-year-old drivers were smaller and the weakest GDL programmes had no effect on fatalities. 2011 Taylor & Francis.

author list (cited authors)

  • Morrisey, M. A., & Grabowski, D. C.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Morrisey, Michael A||Grabowski, David C