Tue, May 4th 2010 12:30pm
There's been a big push by politicians across the country (and around the globe, as well) to enact laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving. While using your phone while driving isn't a great idea, neither are these laws. They attack a very narrowly defined distraction, which is really just a small part of a bigger problem: overall unsafe driving. There are many other activities that are dangerous distractions to a driver, but going after each of them, one by one, is inefficient, when the real focus should be on making people more safe drivers in general. It also doesn't really help that these laws may not be effective in making roads any safer, and that their real focus is revenue generation, not public safety. Now, Oprah has jumped into the fray, devoting an entire episode of her show to the issue, and pushing viewers to sign a No Phone Zone pledge that says they won't drive while yakking or texting. So far, she's collected more than 300,000 pledges, and while they certainly aren't a guarantee that people will stop using their phones while they drive, that figure does illustrate Oprah's broad reach and her ability to shine some light on issues. Building awareness through educational campaigns like this, that have the goal of actually changing behavior, may be much more effective in actually making the roads safer than narrowly targeted laws that punish behavior after the fact.
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