Friday is ‘No Phone Zone Day”

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Governor challenges N.M. drivers to put their phones down while driving

By The Staff

SANTA FE – Gov. Bill Richardson has proclaimed Friday, “No Phone Zone Day” in New Mexico and challenged New Mexico drivers to take the pledge to put down their phones while driving.

Oprah Winfrey initiated National “No Phone Zone Day” as part of her campaign against distracted driving, which has been endorsed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Administration.  

“Drivers distracted by phone calls and texting are making roads dangerous for New Mexico families,” Richardson said. “That is why I have sought legislation to make roads safer from distracted drivers and why I am challenging New Mexico drivers to take the pledge to put their phones down while they are driving.”

Richardson signed the “No Phone Zone” pledge Tuesday and urged his cabinet members to do the same.

Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver and more than half a million were injured, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Association data.

In New Mexico, there were more than 280 cell phone related crashes in one year, 89 of which included injuries to occupants  of the vehicle in 2008.

Starting tomorrow, the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s electronic message boards on New Mexico’s interstates and highways will display messages reminding drivers to put their phone down while driving.

“The statistics speak for themselves,” State Transportation Secretary Gary L.J. Girón said. “There are too many cell phone related accidents that are preventable, if people would just put the phone or texting device down. Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

To date, more than 188,000 people have signed Oprah’s No Phone Zone pledge at Oprah.com. By pledging, drivers agree to make their cars a No Phone Zone and refrain from using their phones while driving, eliminating distractions from incoming calls, texts or e-mails.

To take the pledge, visit www.Oprah.com/

NoPhoneZone or text NPZ to 30644 when you are not driving.