A Study of the Effectiveness of the Hands- Free Ordinance in San Antonio, Texas
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Purpose: The purpose of this research is to explain whether or not the city San Antonio, Texas’ Hands-Free ordinance has had an effect on reducing motor vehicle collisions. Explaining the effect, or lack thereof, could help administrators understand the implications of such a law that is aimed at reducing cellphone use related vehicle collisions. Method: This study utilizes an interrupted time series approach where monthly accident rates was the dependent variable. Vehicle accidents attributed to cellphone use for the years 2014 and 2016 were collected for San Antonio and Dallas. Dallas was the control city which has similar population size, and does not prohibit phone usage while driving. Furthermore, this study controls for factors such as precipitation and temperature. Results: The results of time series analysis showed that San Antonio’s Hands-Free law did not have any significant impact on the reduction of motor vehicle collisions attributed to cellphone usage. In contrast, the results showed an increase in vehicle collisions in San Antonio as well as Dallas, during the years of 2014 & 2016. Conclusion: Since the City of San Antonio’s hands-free law did not have the intended effects in reducing motor vehicle collisions, this suggests that drivers are failing to comply with the law, or engaging in more discreet, but less safe mobile device use while driving. Potential reasons for the ineffectiveness of this law are discussed.