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Kim Tomsic

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oprah's No Phone Zone to NO HOME ZONE

Escalating No Phone Zone Pledge to a No Home Zone Crusade by Kim Tomsic

The influence Oprah harnesses by speaking a few words is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s like watching the wind whip a flock of moths on a new course. People don’t complain about the infectious sway her opinion holds over the majority because Oprah has proven to be a brilliant steward of her powerful gust. Currently, Oprah is using her persuasive energy to encourage people to give up a wide spread addiction: cell phone use while driving. Her campaign is called No Phone Zone.

Forfeiting phone use in the car is a sandy pill to choke down—many of us have become accustomed to the convenience of getting our to-do list done on the road. It’s handy to respond to emails at red lights, search movie listings while waiting for trains to pass, and make quick return calls at toll booths.

Many Internet users are on the No Phone Zone campaign trail; a shocking email blast is currently filling in boxes. It shows graphic images of a decapitated person and what’s left of his mangled car after an accident—one which was allegedly caused by a texting driver. Oprah may be on to something with her No Phone Zone campaign, but I wonder if the crusade should be on a broader spectrum…something on the magnitude of No Home Zone.

No Home Zone

Driving down the road feeling traumatized by the above mentioned email blast, I was on the lookout for dangerous cell phone users. As I arrived at a red light, I took an anxious peek to my right and sure enough, a teen was chatting on her Hubba Bubba pink phone; to my left, there was a business man with a phone, no wait, not a phone but an electric razor clutched in his hand.

I looked in my mirrors for an escape route from these dangerous drivers only to discover the car behind me was powered by a college student. She was brushing her teeth and spiting into an empty water bottle. When the light turned green, the shaver pulled away as he gave his chin a clean mowing.

I continued driving, nervous now of cell phone users and of people seeking to complete their morning hygiene while blazing down the road. Slowing to a safe distance from the shaver, talker, and brusher, I decided to change lanes. I signaled and glanced to my blind spot only to discover a thirty-something man holding a magazine on his steering wheel. Really? Reading while driving! My heart now bumping hard in my chest made me think I’d be guilty of heart attack while driving. I safely made a left turn, but felt overwhelmed with the amount of passing drivers toting Big Gulps and coffee mugs (I’ve heard the dangers of driving with hot coffee is equal to drunk driving).

Oprah’s campaign, No Phone Zone, invites people to “pledge to make [their] car a No Phone Zone.” I urge you to make it a No Home Zone—leave your novel, tooth brush, coffee mug, and coupon clipping at home. Oprah’s commitment states, “Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by pledging the safest driving behavior I can commit to.” For more information, visit http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html.

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