Google announced today that has provided mapping (via the Google Maps API) for a couple of highway safety initiatives around the use of cell phones in vehicles.
The first such initiative is Oprah’s "No Phone Zone", which lets users make a pledge under three different options: no texting, no texting plus handsfree calling only, and no phone use at all while driving. These pledges are then mapped in near real-time using the API, so others can see where and when these pledges were made.
The second initiative is about educating people about state policies related to phone use on the road. There is another map in which users can click on a state to see restrictions on texting, handsfree, and handheld phone use. Users can then click through for more details from the Governors Highway Safety Association, or even contact a state Governor’s office directly.
"Mobile communication has revolutionized the way we live, but unfortunately, irresponsible use has also made the roads more dangerous," says . "In 2008, nearly 6000 people lost their lives in the US and more than half a million people were injured in police-reported crashes during which some form of driver distraction was reported — and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cell phone use was a major contributor to that."
I’ll go out on a limb and say Google does not want you to view these maps on your phone while you’re driving. Oprah’s site has more info about the No Phone Zone initiative.