Oprah Show takes stand against distracted driving

July 20, 2010 10:47:32 AM PDT
Oprah Winfrey is taking a stand against distracted driving. The first national "No Phone Zone Day" on Friday's live Oprah Show, brought together transportation safety experts and victims of distracted driving.The show packed an emotional punch. In declaring the national No Phone Zone Day, Winfrey delivered her passionate message, followed by heart-wrenching stories of senseless loss.

"What I want to do is to get as many people as possibly can today-- and in the days to come-- to stop texting and talking on the phone while driving," Oprah Winfrey said.

In 2008, nationwide, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving driver distraction.

Diveeta Thompson recalled the tragic night in October 2008 when her 18-year-old son Rodney went to pick up a friend.

"I hugged him and told him I would see him a little later and never saw him again. He crashed his car; he was reaching for his cell phone and hit a pole and was killed instantly," the mother said.

Thompson is now dedicated to educating other about the dangers of distracted driving and speaking to teens at schools in their hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind., calling it therapeutic and necessary.

"I don't want another family to experience what my family has had to experience. It's been devastating, indescribable pain of not having Rodney in our lives," Thompson said.

Every audience member at Friday's show signed the No Phone Zone Pledge. For some, it was a life-changing experience.

"I signed the pledge, and I don't know how seriously I took it. But when I saw those stories, it really kind of broke my heart for those people who had lost loved ones. And I have two little girls, and I just can't imagine losing one of them," said Megan Hubbard, an Oprah audience member.

"I thought it was very informative. I hope there are a lot of teenagers that are able to watch. I have a teenage daughter who does nothing but text," said audience member Irene Malone.

"It was a fantastic show. It sends a great message. People do need to pay attention while they're driving and use common sense," said Carrie Norwood, audience member.

It's a message Oprah Winfrey hopes all drivers will take seriously.


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