Fuel prices and road accident outcomes in New Zealand

Vol: 
57/2018
Author name: 
Best R
Burke PJ
Year: 
2018
Month: 
November
Abstract: 

Recent years have seen a spike in New Zealand’s road death toll, a phenomenon also seen in some other countries such as Australia. This paper analyses the short-run impact of fuel prices on road accident outcomes in New Zealand, including the numbers of road deaths, accidents, and injuries. Using data for the period 1989–2017, we find a negative relationship between fuel prices and key road-risk outcome variables, including the number of road deaths. There are similar results for models in levels and first differences. The number of serious injuries to cyclists tends to increase when fuel prices are high, however. Lower fuel prices appear to have contributed to New Zealand’s recent uptick in road accidents, pushing against the long-term trend of improved road safety.

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