30 April 2010

Oprah's push to end distracted driving: No Phone Zone

via www.oprah.com

Have you ever had a close call while talking on the cell phone while driving? I'm embarrassed to say I have. I once narrowly missed a pedestrian. Another time, I almost rear-ended the car in front of me because I didn't notice the light had changed.

We multitask. We're busy. We have so little time to talk on the phone. But phone use while driving -- whether talking or texting or looking up an address -- puts everyone in danger. Taking your focus off the road even for a second puts us all at risk for an accident (which is why I think hands-free use is no solution). No excuses, no exceptions.

I'm thrilled that Oprah's shining a spotlight on this problem with her No Phone Zone pledge. Even more wonderful, this initiative may very well have taken took root based on a conversation between Oprah, Cooper and Emily of The Motherhood -- they were on her show to raise awareness about their Mom Sends the Msg campaign. The change that's possible with the willingness to speak up and act...inspiring.

So, will you join me in pledging to end your phone use in the car?

Your comments

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I'm in already. In Ontario it's illegal to talk on the phone without a handsfree device but I just didn't ever buy one. So, it forces me to be phone free all together.

I think my next step would be food and beverage free in the car. That's another accident waiting to happen! (umm.. actually.. not so much waiting to happen but already happened. I was in a very small accident as a teenager because I was drinking a juice while driving)

I can't even imagine trying to text and drive at the same time. In the UK, it's been illegal to use a mobile phone in the car (without handsfree) since 2003. Like the above poster, I don't have a handsfree device so I don't use my phone.
It amazes me that people think they can operate a vehicle and reply to an email at the same time.

Not particularly an Oprah fan, but she has such monumental influence, it's nice to see her take up a cause that's a little quirky and might have been ignored for a few more years had she not gone Commando on it.

Two weeks ago a man I've known my entire life (the father of one of my best friends) was killed on the side of the road as he was standing behind his truck. He was struck by a driver who was texting while driving.

The second tragedy is that it is unlikely that he will have anything happen to him.

So, in addition to being aware that driving while distracted kills people, I think we need to do something so that if a person is responsible for the death of another human being because of distracted driving, has something happen to them, because that is the only way something is going to change.

Parents - help your teen drivers understand the importance of this issue!

(1) Model good behavior: If you want them not to text while driving, please show them by refraining from using your own phone while driving.
(2) Talk to them about how dangerous it is. Texting while driving has been proven to be even more deadly (more than 6-times more deadly) than driving while drunk!! Help them to understand that distracted driving can kill.
(3) Arm them with tools to help protect themselves. Teach them to speak up if they are the passenger in a car where the driver is texting while driving. Help empower them to be an agent of change.
(4) If they are already driving, and still think it's OK to text while they drive, or simply can't help themselves, get them help! There are technology solutions that are designed to help people help themselves. Mobile apps that you simply load onto your phone can prevent texting while driving without taking away any of the safety features of the mobile phone. Check out TextArrest (www.TextArrest.com), which offers a family plan to protect all the drivers in your family. It's even free for the entire month of May.

Be the change!! That call or text can wait.

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