We provide evidence that displaying roadside fatality counts on highway dynamic message signs (DMSs) result in significant increases in traffic crashes. We exploit detailed data on DMS and crash location, DMS log files, and a unique setting in Texas where fatality messages are instructed to occur only during one week each month. We further find that the association between fatality messages and crashes is increasing in both the reported fatality count and the number of DMSs observed, and that these effects dissipate within 5km on road segments with no downstream DMSs. Overall, we provide evidence that due to cognitive constraints, behavioral interventions can backfire.
Friday, February 21, 2020
3:30pm – 5:00pm
Small reception to follow in Room 426. All are invited to attend.