BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S, today announced it is expanding its driving safety initiatives, announced in January for the East Coast, to the entire country and has committed nearly a half-million dollars to do so. The company used the occasion of National Wireless Safety Week, May 22-28, to reinforce its commitment to increase the development, affordability and awareness of hands-free technologies to make using wireless phones in the car easier and ultimately safer. The new company has made the following commitment for its business nationwide:
- Verizon Wireless is requiring its handset manufacturers to produce wireless phones with voice-activated dialing and two-way speakerphone capabilities by 2002, so users can dial, send and end wireless calls without pressing any buttons.
- All of the company's 1,100 stores across the country will be re-merchandised to include a separate wall, titled Accessories With Safety in Mind, to showcase the availability and benefits of hands-free talking. This is expected to be completed by year-end.
- Beginning May 22, the company will roll out, across the country, four high-quality, affordable "universal" headsets, two of which are priced under $20. These universal headsets are designed to work with most manufacturers' phones and use a standard 2.5mm jack.
- Convenience: These headsets and a full range of the latest in hands-free technology are available at the company's stores across the country. Customers also can visit Verizon Wireless' Online store (www.verizonwireless.com) for information.
- Safety Icon: The company has developed a safety icon, which will be prominently featured in posters, advertising and the company's web site, visually reminding users nationwide to "Call Safely."
"Fostering safe use of wireless phones in the car is fundamental to this business. As the new industry leader, Verizon Wireless has made a business commitment to invest in making wireless safety a priority for our company, our manufacturers, our customers, and for the entire industry," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "Our aim is to encourage continuing development, affordability and use of the high-quality, user-friendly hands-free technologies." Verizon Wireless has a longstanding commitment to educating consumers about the safe use of wireless, and offers these tips for driving safely:
Tips for Driving Safely with Your Wireless Phone
- When behind the wheel, safe driving is always your first responsibility.
- Dial your phone when your car is not in motion.
- Always use hands-free when driving and talking;. When you turn your phone on, make sure your hands-free device is on and working.
- Pre-program important and frequently-dialed numbers, including home and babysitter, so you can dial them by pressing only a few buttons.
- Never take notes or write down phone numbers while driving. Rather, pull off the road to a safe spot or leave yourself a message on your voice mail system.
- Know your wireless phone number so emergency personnel can call you back. You may want to write it down and keep it in your car for quick reference.
- If traffic conditions warrant your undivided attention, turn your phone off, and let calls go to Voice Mail or activate Call Forwarding.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 18 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless company was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. The new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more Verizon Wireless information at http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.