Study: Spike in gas prices can lead to decline in auto accidents
Take heart, motorists. Paying more at the pump could mean less pain on the road.
A study by Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center indicates rising gas prices cause an accompanying decline in all traffic accidents, including drunken driving crashes. The research has significant implications for auto insurance, as your driving record is one of the key components in setting your insurance premiums.
|A study in Mississippi shows higher gas prices can cause a lower number of auto accidents.|
Guangqing Chi, an assistant professor of sociology at the university, published his findings in the Journal of Safety Research and Accident Analysis and Prevention.
Chi examined an array of factors related to auto accidents in Mississippi, including age, gender and race. The study analyzed traffic crashes between April 2004 and December 2008, comparing gas prices to traffic safety statistics. Motorists typically cut down on their driving as gas prices jump; the U.S. average price for regular gas was $3.90 a gallon on April 29, according to AAA.
Chi says the results of his research “suggest that prices have both short-term and intermediate-term effects on reducing traffic crashes.”
The research also shows gas prices have a short-term effect (immediate) on crashes involving younger drivers and an intermediate-term effect (a subsequent one-year period) on crashes involving older drivers and men.
While previous research linked traffic deaths to fluctuations in gas prices, limited research has shown the effects of gas prices on all traffic accidents.
No research previously examined the link between drunken driving crashes and gas prices, Chi says. His research found significant connections between gas prices and a reduction in drunken driving crashes.