Oprah Winfrey, with support from a number of government and safety organizations, is launching a new campaign on Friday, April 30, to help put an end to distracted driving. The national “No Phone Zone Day” is intended to increase awareness and educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving.
Oprah’s Friday show will be devoted to the topic, and rallies held in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. will bring together victims’ families, government officials, organizations, and parents and teens to discuss ways to limit distracted driving. In addition, there is a call to action to make cars a “No Phone Zone” by signing a pledge on the Oprah Web site to not call or text in the car. So far, there are close to 200,000 people who have submitted their pledge.
The “No Phone Zone Day” is backed by a number of government and advocacy organizations including National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), and RADD (the Entertainment Industry’s Voice for Road Safety), among others.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, has made it his mission to end distracted driving. He has launched a number of initiatives to combat this growing problem, such as creating a sample bill to help states enact texting bans and initiating the recent pilot campaigns in Syracuse, NY and Hartford, CT called “Phone in one hand. Ticket in the other.”
Data from NHTSA show that almost 6,000 people were killed and more than a half million injured in 2008 as a result of distracted driving. Currently, seven states, plus the District of Columbia, prohibit drivers from using a handheld cell phone and 23 states have texting-while-driving bans.
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