Safety first? The effect of studded tyres on traffic accidents and local air pollution
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Environmental Economics and Management. 2023, 121 . 10.1016/j.jeem.2023.102851
This paper offers empirical insights into the trade-off between local air pollution and traffic accidents by exploiting an annual studded tyre ban in Norway. Studded tyres offer superior traction on icy roads, but also contribute to harmful particulate matter pollution. The use of studs is therefore restricted to certain dates which, due to its dependence on Easter, can differ by over a month from one year to another. I exploit this variation in a type of regression discontinuity in time design. The findings suggest that the use of studded tyres does not decrease the number of traffic accidents. Moreover, there is no evidence that studded tyres increase particulate matter pollution. As studded tyres increases road wear and tear and appears to not contribute to road safety, this paper raises the question of whether North-American and European countries where studded tyres are widely used should revisit their traffic safety policies.