The effectiveness of automobile safety regulation: evidence from the FARS data

Am J Public Health. 1984 Dec;74(12):1384-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.74.12.1384.


In a paper published in the August 1981 issue of this Journal, Leon Robertson attempts to measure the effects of the vehicle safety and occupant protection standards implemented in the 1960s. Data from the Fatal Accident Reporting System are used. Additional statistical analysis with these data reveals a multicollinearity problem that makes the prediction of the effects of regulation uncertain. There is also bias in regression results due to the inappropriate inclusion of truck data in the regressions. Regressions on the car data reveal a lifesaving effect of regulation that, at best, is one-fourth the value reported by Robertson.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Humans
  • Legislation as Topic
  • Mortality*
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States