Oprah launches anti-texting while driving campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) - Oprah Winfrey wants America's drivers to declare their cars "No Phone Zones."...

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oprah Winfrey wants America’s drivers to declare their cars “No Phone Zones.”

“It’s like Russian roulette every time you pick up your phone in the car,” Winfrey told her viewers from Chicago on Friday. She dedicated her TV show to urging people to sign pledges not to chat or text from behind the wheel.

Safety advocates hope Winfrey’s star power will bring attention to the growing scourge of distracted drivers, who are blamed for an estimated 6,000 deaths and a half-million injuries a year.

The advocates hope to mimic the success of safety campaigns in the 1980s that helped reduce drunken driving deaths and increased the use of seat belts.

“We need to really break people’s bad habits,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at a Washington rally against distracted driving. “Everybody has a bad habit of thinking they can talk on their phone or text and drive, and you can’t do it safely.”

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Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia prohibit drivers from texting behind the wheel; six states bar drivers from using hand-held cell phones.

Congress is considering legislation to push all states to ban texting by drivers, and the federal government is encouraging all states to restrict cell phone use behind the wheel.

Since Winfrey launched her campaign in January, more than 200,000 people have taken the pledge. They can choose one of three promises for their driving: no texting; no texting and only handsfree calling; or no texting or calls.

Friday’s broadcast included “No Phone Zone” rallies in Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta and

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