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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2010

Contact: Jonathan Adkins
(202)789-0942, ext.13
(202)669-9746, cell

State Highway Safety Agencies Supporting
Oprah’s No Phone Zone Day

Drivers Urged to Make Commitment to Hang Up and Drive

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and its member State Highway Safety Agencies are joining forces with Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios to fight distracted driving during “No Phone Zone Day” on Friday April 30, 2010.

Affiliates nationwide will air a special live episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” devoted to dangers associated with cell phone use and texting while driving. Special viewing rallies will be held in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., bringing 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, the “Oprah” show will debut a new sponsored public service announcement campaign. All participants and viewers will be asked to pledge to make their cars a “No Phone Zone.”

GHSA’s State Highway Safety Office members are participating in the viewing rallies and other community mobilization activities. GHSA is encouraging all states to spread the word through news releases, community events, and through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. States with distracted driving laws may use the day to draw attention to the legislation. Currently, 23 states and Washington, D.C. have texting laws. (For a full list, visit www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html).

GHSA Chairman Vernon Betkey has personally taken the “No Phone Zone” pledge and will participate in the Washington D.C. rally. He notes that “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—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. We are very grateful to Harpo and Ms. Winfrey for their leadership and commitment.”

Also supporting Oprah’s “No Phone Zone Day” are: the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), FocusDriven, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and RADD – the Entertainment Industry’s Voice for Road Safety.

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To take the “No Phone Zone” pledge, visit: www.oprah.com/nophonezone.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.