The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is joining a nationwide advocacy campaign led by talk show host Oprah Winfrey to encourage people to not talk on their cell phones or send text messages on Friday, April 30. ITD signs along highways will display the message “Driving/texting? Hang Up. Arrive Alive.”
Winfrey’s show today will discuss the dangers of cell phone use while driving. The episode will be shown at viewing rallies in large cities across the country, but no rallies are scheduled in Idaho. Winfrey’s website also has a “no phone zone” pledge page, where hundreds of thousands of people have clicked saying they won’t text while driving, will use a hands-free device to talk on a cell phone while driving, or will pull over to talk on a phone while driving.
Idaho lawmakers did not pass a texting while driving ban earlier this year. Talking on a cell phone is also legal in Idaho. Six states, including Oregon and Washington, prohibit handheld cell phone use while driving, and 23 states have texting bans, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, which is also backing the “No Phone Zone Day.”
Read ITD’s full news release below.
Make a commitment to focus on the road ahead and put your cell phone away while driving.
The Idaho Transportation Department joins forces with the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios to fight distracted driving during "No Phone Zone Day" Friday (April 30).
Digital message signs along Idaho highways will carry the safety message, "Driving/texting? Hang up. Arrive alive."
Cell phones and texting are two of many distractions that drivers might experience when operating a motor vehicle. Distraction or inattention is a contributing cause of about one out of five motor vehicle crashes in Idaho, according to ITD statistics.
A special live episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," devoted to dangers associated with cell phone use and texting while driving, will be featured at viewing rallies in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
GHSA Chairman Vernon Betkey has personally taken the "No Phone Zone" pledge and will participate in the Washington, D.C., rally.
"GHSA has always supported a multifaceted approach to combating distracted driving. While state legislation and enforcement are both critical factors, education efforts are also important," Betkey said. "And what better person to raise public awareness than Oprah Winfrey?"
"As a society, we need to make cell phone use while driving as unacceptable as drunk driving," he added.