Today, The Oprah Winfrey Show declared a national "No Phone Zone" day and marked this event with a live broadcast from Chicago and viewing rallies around the nation in Los Angeles, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston, and Washington, DC.
I've seen a lot in my past 15 months as Secretary of Transportation, and we've gained incredible momentum on the issue of distracted driving. But having the support of Oprah's television show and the Gayle King radio show has taken this campaign to a whole new level.
They took the pledge! At the Newseum with Girl Scouts from the GSCNC
You can see more photos from No Phone Zone day at my Flickr site
And that's exactly what I told Oprah and Gayle--distracted driving is a bad habit with serious consequences. We're in the habit of texting or talking on the phone while we drive, and many people still don't know how dangerous this is.
But the numbers don't lie. People are getting killed by this every day.
DC's Police Chief Cathy Lanier told Gayle today that distracted driving is killing 15 people every day. And loved ones will have to live with those losses forever.
Look, habits are hard to break, and we've got a tough road ahead to try to get people to put distractions away when they get in the driver's seat. But we know that if we can get people to keep their hands on the wheel, and their eyes and minds on the road, we can save lives.
Listen to Allentown, PA's Jacy Good, Grapevine, TX's Jennifer Smith, Ft. Wayne, IN's Diveeta Thompson, Ft. Collins, CO's Shelly Forney, Bollingbrook, IL's Cheryl Miller, and Concord, MA's Jerry Sibley.
Every one of those people--all of whom have shared their story with Oprah--has suffered a devastating loss by a distracted driver. A mother, a father, a son, a daughter.
But, thanks to the platform that Oprah has so generously made available, we have the courage of these surviving family members to motivate us to do better
And thanks to the spotlight that she has shined on this deadly epidemic, we are going to make our roads safer.
If the crowds I saw today and the nearly quarter of a million who signed Oprah's pledge stick to their word and make their cars a "No phone zone," I know we will win this fight.
I want to thank Oprah and Gayle for their support and encourage everyone to visit www.distraction.gov to stay involved in our efforts to end distracted driving.