DES MOINES, IA — Verizon Wireless today introduced a curriculum package designed to teach young drivers that, when operating a car, the first responsibility is safe driving. The program was unveiled at a press conference held during a drivers' education class at Valley High School in West Des Moines. The educational video and printed materials are being sent free of charge to the Iowa Association of Safety Education and in coming months to school districts throughout all states served by Verizon Wireless' Northwest Area.
"Verizon Wireless is making the Cellular Telephone Safety Test video and printed materials available free to high school drivers' education programs throughout the state," said Jim Christensen, direct sales manager for Verizon Wireless in Central and Eastern Iowa. "While wireless phones can be an invaluable tool -- in contacting emergency personnel or helping others in need -- we want to train tomorrow's drivers how to use today's technology safely."
Produced to appeal to teenagers, the video uses seven scenarios to teach safe driving and responsible wireless phone use. In addition, eight safety tips reinforce the video's message that responsible driving must be the first priority.
"We developed this program because wireless phones have become a way of life for many drivers," said Christensen. "And it is apparent that any number of activities - including eating, playing with the radio or CD, talking with passengers, or irresponsible use of a wireless phone - can distract a driver. We hope this program will help drivers develop good habits and an awareness of the need to focus on their main responsibility: safe driving."
Representatives from the Iowa Association of Safety Education have agreed to distribute the video and training materials. The Automobile Association of Minnesota/Iowa also supports the drivers' education program. "The time to start educating drivers about responsible phone use is when they're teenagers," said Daron Van Helden, spokesman from AAA of Minnesota/Iowa. "Verizon Wireless is making a difference by stepping up to train young drivers that responsible driving is their main priority."
Verizon Wireless took an industry-leading position earlier this year when the company launched a series of business initiatives to make using wireless phones in a car easier and ultimately safer. Specifically, these efforts are aimed at increasing the availability, affordability, and awareness of hands-free technologies. Verizon Wireless retail stores carry the latest products, services and technologies to make hands-free wireless calling available and affordable.
The Northwest Area includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. The Verizon Wireless Driver's Education materials have been distributed in Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Kansas and Missouri.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 3.4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp --now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The new company has 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. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com.