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Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Phone: the Effect of Smart Phone Usage on Road Safety

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Document pages: 48 pages

Abstract: We provide novel evidence on the effect of smart phone use on road accidents. We exploit variation in phone usage fees in the Netherlands following a change in European Union (EU) roaming regulations implemented in 2017. The growth rate of mobile data roaming increased substantially after the change, which allows us to estimate a difference-in-differences model where non-Dutch drivers from the EU are treated, while Dutch drivers serve as control group. Our results suggest that around 10 of vehicles involved in accidents can be explained by the use of smart phones, and that these accidents mainly happen on urban roads.

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