TYLER, TX (KLTV) - In an effort to curb distracted drivers, an American celebrity is urging folks to keep their eyes on the road, not their cell phones. Oprah Winfrey has joined transportation officials to declare today "No Phone Zone Day."
The message is simple: Put down the phone when you are behind the wheel.
Kara Deshazo was on her way home from a friend's house when she heard a familiar ding. It was the sound of an incoming text message from her boyfriend.
"So I checked it and when I was looking down and responding, I hit a curve, lost control and flipped my car a few times and it landed on its side," said Deshazo.
Deshazo escaped unharmed, but says the impact served as a wake up call.
"I've had a few close calls before I got in that wreck, but that just like changed my life when I thought I could have seriously been hurt or hurt somebody else," said Deshazo.
Shortly after her's wreck, her best friend learned the same lesson.
"When she was looking down at her phone, she hit him," said Deshazo. "The back of his truck made the hood of her car crash into it."
The "No Phone Zone" campaign is urging states to pass laws that prohibit phone use in cars or texting while driving. Twenty-five states already ban texting while driving, but Texas only restricts cell phone usage in school zones.
"If you are in an active school zone, where the lights are flashing, you are not allowed to use cell phone unless you are on a hands free zone," said Don Martin, with Tyler PD.
Tyler police have seen wrecks they believe were caused by cell phone use.
"One that I can think of was on Broadway where a car just veered off the road and hit a pole and flipped," Martin said.
"We are very lucky," said Deshazo. "It is something that I think a lot of people don't even think about."
A campaign to halt this potentially deadly habit.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says at any given moment during the daylight hours, more than 800,000 drivers are using cell phones. That is roughly 10 times the population of Tyler.