Oprah Winfrey’s No Texting Pledge
In January 2010, The Oprah Show dedicated a full hour to the dangers of texting while driving.
Winfrey said that studies show people who text while driving are 8 times more likely to get in a crash than undistracted drivers. According to recent statistics, 6,000 die and 500,000 are injured each year because of distracted driving. It was reported that 71% of drivers between the age of 18 and 49 either talk or send messages on their phone while driving.
Several audience members shared their experience of losing a husband, a son, a mother, or a daughter because of distracted driving.
A Colorado woman, whose 9 year old daughter was killed because of texting while driving, insisted that “Your car is a place to go from A to B. Your car is not a phone booth.”
Oprah also interviewed a Utah boy who, at the age of 19, was involved in a car crash in 2005 that killed two men. He was sending text messages while driving to his mandatory alcohol and drug test. He was sentenced to spend 30 days in prison with community service. He has been spending the last few years doing conferences in high schools and colleges, sharing his experience with other teenagers, saying “I can never forgive myself for what I did. I still have trouble sleeping”.
One of the guests on the show, University of Utah researcher David Strayer, mentioned that texting while driving increases the risk of crashing by 8. “”For comparison purposes, someone who’s drunk at a 0.08 blood alcohol level has a four-time crash increase. So talking on a cell phone is about the same as driving drunk”, said the researcher.
Winfrey said texting while driving is the equivalent of having four drinks and driving. She encouraged viewers to stop using their cellphone while driving by taking the No Phone Zone Pledge:
“I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by not texting or using my phone while I am driving. I will ask other drivers I know to do the same. I pledge to make a difference.”
As she mentioned on the opening of her show: “Don’t tempt faith; that text can wait”
Source: The Oprah Show, January 18 2010