Oprah Promoting No Phone Zone

Posted on May 3, 2010

If you want something promoted, who better to bring attention to an issue than television personality and actress, Oprah. Oprah Winfrey’s “No Phone Zone” campaign is underway and she is asking drivers to set aside their cell phones while they drive. That includes texting, talking on the cell phone or otherwise being distracted by the device. Even looking down to see who is calling can be a distraction. Winfrey has a Website set up to address the issue, No Phone Zone, on which she says nearly, “500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed each year because drivers are talking, texting, and e-mailing behind the wheel.” At least 30 states are behind the campaign which has been coordinated and endorsed by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Department of Transportation, FocusDriven and Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Cell phone accidents in Florida and throughout the U.S. pose several serious risks. However, this year the Florida Legislature failed to schedule a hearing on a texting while driving proposal. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, chair of the Finance and Tax Council, told The Associated Press, “There are a lot of things that people do in their cars that are very distracting, and all of them need to be addressed. And it needs to be addressed from a different perspective.”

Florida now fails to join the 24 states that already have some sort of ban on cell phone or texting use while behind the wheel. It’s difficult to understand what happens in Tallahassee. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting drivers were 23 times more likely to be in a collision and cell phone use is already determined to make drivers four times more likely to be involved in a crash. But one recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that state that in three states and the District of Columbia that all enacted a cell phone ban there were not any reduction in traffic crashes. The jury is still out on this issue, but Oprah is helping with all of the emphasis on driver safety that is no doubt lowering the numbers of fatalities on our roads.

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