The next step in the battle against distracted driving seems to be The Pledge. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey set off the trend on 30 April this year, when her show featured a special segment called “National No Phone Zone Day.”
On that show, which was graced by the likes of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as well as representatives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, Oprah took the pledge to never use a cell phone while driving and to make the car a “no phone zone.” She also asked for viewers to do the same. People were asked to sign up for the pledge on the website, and promise never to use their cell phones while at the wheel.
This week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took the pledge to never indulge in text messaging while driving, although not on Oprah’s website. The mayor has written a special piece for Huffington Post, announcing his pledge and calling on the more than 37,000 employees of the city to do the same. The mayor is taking part in a special anti-distracted driving campaign by AT&T to combat texting while driving. The campaign is supported by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department. These are some of the people who see firsthand the effects of texting while driving-related accidents.
Any Los Angeles personal injury attorney however, will be even more excited to note that the Los Angeles Unified School District is participating in the campaign. Teenagers are some of the biggest users of texting devices, and distracted driving has added another risk to the already high accident potential of these motorists. Getting school authorities to become more involved not just in raising awareness about the problem, but in nudging students to switch off their cell phones while driving, is no small feat, and is likely to reap great results.