Teenage Driving, Mortality, and Risky Behaviors
We investigate the effect of teenage driving on mortality and risky behaviors in the United States using a regression discontinuity design. We estimate that motor vehicle fatalities rise by 40% at the minimum legal driving age cutoff, implying a mortality risk per additional mile driven 6-9 times higher than the risk faced by adult drivers. We also find a stark 80% increase in female deaths from drug overdoses and carbon monoxide poisoning at the cutoff, caused by changes in both suicides and accidental deaths. Our analysis suggests driving regulations could be an effective tool to improve teenage health.
We are thankful for comments from Kitt Carpenter, Tatyana Deryugina, Carlos Dobkin, Yingying Dong, Michael Frakes, Don Fullerton, Jonathan Hall, Ellen Meara, Nolan Miller, Nicolas Ziebarth, and participants at the Chicago Booth Junior Health Economics Summit and the UIUC Applied Economics Workshop. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.