• AEA in the news
  • February 16, 2017

More spending on traffic enforcement could prevent road deaths

A truck rollover accident at the entrance to Interstate 5 causes backup in Roseburg, Oregon.


The Dallas Morning News cited a paper published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy in an article that compared road safety spending in the United States to the amount spent to prevent terrorism. In their 2014 paper “Life and Death in the Fast Lane,” co-authors Gregory DeAngelo and Benjamin Hansen examined what happened in Oregon when state budget cuts in 2003 led to 35 percent of state troopers being laid off. The subsequent decrease in enforcement was associated with an increase in injuries and fatalities on the road, and the authors estimated that a highway death could be prevented with $309,000 of expenditures on state police.