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Utah moms pledge to be cell phone-free in the car



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Drivers who text and talk on their cell phones have become the target of new laws and public awareness campaigns.

KSL News conducted a Cell Phone Challenge when we found several moms willing to put themselves to the test. The eight busy moms said they keep their families moving with minivans and cell plans, admittedly at the same time.

"I'm a multitasker, big time," said Michelle Gibby. "And my mind is always going a million different ways."

Kris Brant told us, "When I'm in my car, I'm like, ‘I can make this phone call, and this phone call, and I can do this.'"

Not for long. They all signed on the dotted line, pledging to go cell phone- free -- no talking, no texting in the car for one week.

"It's going to be tempting, but I'm going to do it," Jodi Jones said.

They headed to their cars, some already with a strategy. Jodi Jones put her cell phone in the glove box, while Linda Barton put hers in her purse.

"I'm going to put it in my wallet and under my seat right here," Shelly Bailey said.

Gibby told us, "I have a big sign that I made that's in front of my steering wheel that says: ‘No Cell Phone.'"

But by midweek, habit had gotten the worst of Gibby, and she used her phone. Her reminder sign then got a more prominent placement.

Others had close calls.

"I was literally not even out of the parking lot, after I'd signed the pledge, before I was thinking, I should call this person, I should get this done," Marty Arnold said.

"[I] reached for it, but I stopped myself," Shelly Bailey said. "So, that was hard."

Their kids were late to birthday parties. They couldn't plan out football games on the go. But kids cheered their moms, and a few said the worst influence was their husband.

"He kept calling me," Kris Brant said. "So, I finally pulled over and said, ‘What do you need?'"

By end of the week, we thought they'd jump at the all-clear to resume full phone status. Their response surprised all of us.

"I found it liberating," Shauni Snow said. "Once I wasn't so tethered to that stupid phone, it felt really great."

"It was quite liberating," Janalee Jones told us. "I still had every minute of my day, and I still got everything done. I wasn't saving any time by using it in my car."

"The best part was I realized I don't have to be attached to my phone," Marty Arnold said.

All of them say they'll change their ways after the challenge, both for their sanity and their children's safety.

"When they see it, they know it's a dangerous thing," Shelly Bailey said. "It's something like wearing a seat belt now. It's important to stay safe."

So are you ready to take the cell phone challenge? You can sign the cell- free pledge or print out a form and do it as a group. Just CLICK HERE.

We'd love to hear your experiences too. Fill out the form below and let us know how your pledge to be cell phone-free in the car goes.

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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Nadine Wimmer

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