$4 gas could translate to 12,000 fewer driving deaths per year
July 11, 2008
Slower and reduced driving could save 1,000 lives a month in the United States says a University of Alabama at Birmingham researcher.
Rising gas prices have trigger a drop in traffic deaths as motorists drive less and slow down, reports a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Michael Morrisey, director of the university’s Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, estimates that if gas remains at $4 a gallon or higher for a year or more, driving deaths could fall by more than 1,000 per month nationwide.
“It is remarkable to think that a percent change in gas prices can equal lives saved, which is what our data show,” Morrisey said. “For every 10 percent rise in gas prices, fatalities are reduced by 2.3 percent. The effects are even more dramatic for teen drivers.”
Morrisey’s research — which he co-authored with David Grabowski of Harvard Medical School — looked at death rates and gas-price changes from 1985 through 2006. The results were were presented in June at a health economist meeting in North Carolina.