Universal helmet laws and motorcycle fatalities: A longitudinal analysis of policy changes

Michael T. French, Gulcin Gumus, Jenny F. Homer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Universal helmet laws (UHLs) are widely believed to be effective in reducing motorcycle fatalities. In this chapter, we further investigate the effectiveness of such policies by focusing on their long-term impact as well as their effect on motorcycle use. Using state-level longitudinal data from 1975 to 2005, we estimate how the adoption and repeal of UHLs influence motorcycle safety. Our results confirm earlier findings that adoption of UHLs prevents fatalities, whereas repeals lead to higher fatality rates. We provide evidence that UHLs operate as intended, decreasing fatalities mainly by improving safety rather than by reducing motorcycle riding. Finally, using dynamic specifications, we show that the long-term effects of both adoption and repeal persist in the years beyond the policy change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCurrent Issues in Health Economics
EditorsDaniel Slottje, Rusty Tchernis
Number of pages24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameContributions to Economic Analysis
ISSN (Print)0573-8555


  • Fatalities
  • Motorcycle safety
  • Universal helmet laws

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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