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When gas prices are low are drivers more careless about speed?

Following a rather long period where gas prices were pretty high, the U.S. has recently been experiencing a time of relatively low gas prices. One positive result of this is that, for many, going to the pump isn’t quite as big of a hit to wallet as it was several months back. However, a recent study raises concerns that the gas price drop may also be having a much less beneficial effect. Specifically, the study raises the question: do lower gas prices make the roads a more dangerous place to be?

The study involved reviewing car accident data from three different states (Kentucky was not one of these states) to see if there was any connection between gas prices and car accident levels. The study found that there was an association between lower gas prices and increases in car accidents.

Why might low gas prices lead to more car wrecks? One reason that a researcher with the study pointed to is that when gas prices are low, people often drive more frequently.

Another reason the researcher pointed to is that drivers may act differently behind the wheel when gas prices are low. Specifically, the researcher postulates that the lower gas prices are, the less likely drivers are to be careful about what speed they are driving at, because they generally are not as concerned about fuel efficiency maximization when gas prices are low. Of course, being careful about the speed one is driving at not only can have fuel efficiency benefits, but also can have safety benefits. So drivers being careless when it comes to speed can have serious impacts on road safety.

Do you think car crashes are more common when gas prices are low? Do you think drivers here in Kentucky, generally, are more likely to be careless about their driving speed when they aren’t paying as much at the pump?

One would hope that, regardless of the price of gas, Kentucky drivers would always make sure to only drive at an appropriate speed. Attorneys can provide legal advice to individuals who have suffered injuries as a result of a car accident that was caused by a driver going too fast.

Source: WDAZ, “Study links price of gas to number of road accidents,” Adrian Glass-Moore, Feb. 23, 2015

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