Lately, you can’t turn on the news without hearing about the ongoing debate over cell phone use and texting while driving. Cell phone related accidents and deaths are at an all time high. Oprah calls it “America’s New Deadly Obsession.” That’s why Oprah has started a movement to make cars a No Phone Zone. Starting in January of this year, Oprah began her No Texting Campaign. In this campaign, anyone can sign “Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge” and start to break their “addiction” to texting while driving. To sign the pledge, go to Oprah.com and click on “No Phone Zone.” Since the end of March, more than 160,000 people have signed the pledge.
Here are some facts about cell phone use while driving:
· Approximately 500,000 people are injured and about 6,000 people are killed each year because of drivers distracted by their cell phones!
· A recent study found that 71% of adults ages 18-49 admit to using their cell phones or texting while driving!
· They also estimate that cell phone use increases crash risk by four times and texting increases crash risk by eight times
· The study also found that texting while driving slows a person’s reaction time by 30%!
· 23 states are currently debating legislation to ban texting while driving! Including South Carolina!
Drivers distracted by their cell phones have caused devastating tragedies for families across the nation. In the fall of 2008, a conductor in Los Angeles missed a red light causing his crowded train to collide with a freight train. The conductor and 24 passengers were killed while another 135 people were injured. Investigators found that the conductor was sending and receiving over 40 text messages around the time of the accident. A month later, an 18-wheeler rear-ended a school bus carrying 21 students. The truck pushed the bus more than 200 feet before the bus burst into flames. All but one student escaped. The driver admitted to texting while driving and not seeing the school bus.
Because of accidents like the ones above, the U.S. Transportation department has prohibited truck and bus drivers from texting while operating a commercial vehicle. If caught, the drivers face possible criminal and civil penalties, as well as a fine of up to $2,750.
Teenagers who text while they drive are a double threat. Not only are they new to driving, but cell phone use and texting while driving makes it even riskier for them to be on the road. Now, WebSafety has created new software called CellSafety, which will both monitor your child’s driving and stop texting while driving. The software is downloaded to your child’s cell phone and uses the phone's GPS system to monitor speed. Once the car reaches 10 m.p.h., the software disables the cell phone’s texting capabilities.
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or teenager, now is the time to sign Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge and commit yourself to making your car a No Phone Zone area. By doing this you could save thousands of lives.