Today, Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios are taking a stand against distracted driving, launching a new public service announcement campaign, and joining forces with some of the country's pre-eminent transportation safety organizations to declare Friday, April 30, 2010, the first national "No Phone Zone Day."
A large-scale effort to honor victims of distracted driving, "No Phone Zone Day" will also educate and activate Americans to end the deadly driving habits that kill nearly 6,000 Americans a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The announcement was initally made April 6 on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
"A call or text isn't worth taking a life," said Winfrey. "We must not allow more mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers to die before we take action against distracted driving. Let's put a stop to it now, by joining together on April 30 for national 'No Phone Zone Day,' and by making our cars a 'No Phone Zone.'"
"I've made it my mission at the DOT to end distracted driving," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "We know that if we can get people to put away cell phones and other electronic devices when they are behind the wheel, we can save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of injuries every year. That's why I'm proud to support and participate in Oprah's 'No Phone Zone Day.'"
Today, The Oprah Winfrey Show will present a special live episode devoted to ending distracted driving. In conjunction with the episode, Harpo Studios is mobilizing communities to take action at "No Phone Zone Day" viewing rallies to be held in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Oprah show partner stations -- WSB-TV Channel 2 in Atlanta, WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston, WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit, KABC ABC7 in Los Angeles, and WJLA ABC7 in Washington, D.C. -- will support the rallies in their respective markets. The planned rallies will bring together victims' families, elected officials, advocacy organizations, parents, youth, and law enforcement to discuss best practices and steps to limit distracted driving in their own communities. In addition, a new "No Phone Zone" public service announcement campaign will be showcased on today's Oprah show.
A working coalition of transportation safety organizations will come together as part of "No Phone Zone Day" activities and viewing rallies across the country -- including LaHood and the U.S. Department of Transportation; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA]; the Governors Highway Safety Association [GHSA]; the National Organizations for Youth Safety [NOYS]; FocusDriven; SADD [Students Against Destructive Decisions]; RADD, the Entertainment Industry's Voice for Road Safety; and more.
In addition, "No Phone Zone" corporate partners Sprint, General Motors/Chevrolet and Liberty Mutual will lend their support -- both for national "No Phone Zone Day" and in the coming months to spread the "No Phone Zone" message.
As a national call to action, all viewers and town hall participants will be asked to take the "No Phone Zone" pledge. By pledging, drivers agree to make their car a "No Phone Zone" and refrain from using their phone while driving, eliminating distractions from incoming calls, texts or e-mails.
To date, more than 160,000 people have signed Oprah's "No Phone Zone" pledge at Oprah.com. Many celebrities have already joined the cause, including Oscar® winners Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges and Mo'Nique; comedian Jerry Seinfeld; actress and icon Raquel Welch; Olympic superstar Shaun White; country music's Lady Antebellum; entertainer and entrepreneur Tyler Perry; the cast of TV's Glee; plus many more.
A 2008 NHTSA study indicated that, at any given moment during the daylight hours, more than 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone. According to a 2005 study for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS], drivers are four times less likely to get into accidents serious enough to cause injury when they turn off their cell phones while behind the wheel.
For more information on "No Phone Zone Day," and to take the No Phone Zone pledge, please visit www.oprah.com/nophonezone.
For additional information on distracted driving, visit http://www.distraction.gov/.
About Harpo Studios
Harpo Studios is the home of Harpo Productions Inc., the most successful production company in daytime talk, producing the No. 1, award-winning The Oprah Winfrey Show and syndication's latest success, The Dr. Oz Show, as well as having developed Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray.
Harpo Productions creates and develops original TV programming for primetime, syndication and cable television, and operates Oprah.com, a premier lifestyle website. ZoCo Productions LLC, an affiliate of Harpo Productions Inc., and Sony Pictures Television co-produce The Dr. Oz Show.
Harpo Print LLC and Hearst Magazines publish the monthly O, The Oprah Magazine publication.
Harpo Films produces feature films and, through an exclusive deal with HBO, scripted television programming.
Harpo Radio Inc. produces Oprah Radio [XM channel 156, SIRIUS channel 195, as part of its "Best of XM" package] on SIRIUS XM Radio.
A joint venture between Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a multi-platform company, will debut in January 2011 in approximately 80 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.
Hooray for Oprah, to devote such significant broadcast time and creative resources in order to help get drivers to simply hang up their phones and focus on their task at hand: driving!
Has your company or organization signed Oprah's No Phone Zone pledge? If not, please do so now: http://bit.ly/BizNoPhoneZonePledge.
And then, of course, see that all of your personnel -- e.g., interns, sales reps, delivery persons, independent contractors, executives -- practice prudent, common-sense driving habits for the greater good.
Stay safe out there!
SOURCES: Harpo Studios, IIHS, NHTSA
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