WALNUT CREEK, CA — Verizon Wireless reminds consumers to take steps now to comply with new driver safety initiatives. Motorists in California have less than four months to get ready to comply with a new state law requiring drivers over the age of 18 to use hands-free devices when talking on their wireless phones.
"Time is precious and people are using wireless devices to help them be more productive," said Rich Garwood, president of Verizon Wireless' Northern California and Nevada Region. "If they choose to use a device while driving, it's important that they know both the law and responsible driving tips and options."
Starting July 1, 2008, motorists over 18 could face fines starting at $20 for talking on wireless phones without using hands-free devices (Vehicle Code (VC) §23123), while drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a wireless phone even with a hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).
Consumers have a number of choices available to help them comply with the new law, from universally compatible headsets to phones with built-in speakerphones and voice-activated dialing. Most phones can be fastened easily to a car's vent or visor and removed when you leave the vehicle. No installation or hard wiring is necessary.
Hands-free car kits, which provide a cradle for the phone and an external microphone, offer drivers another option for complying with the new law.
Verizon Wireless, the most widely used brand of wireless service, offers the following responsible driving tips:
- Remember - safe driving is always your first responsibility when behind the wheel.
- Before you leave the curb:
- Activate your voicemail service if you haven't already, so you won't miss a call if traffic conditions prevent you from answering the phone. You can retrieve your messages later.
- If you're taking advantage of any navigation service, including VZ NavigatorSM, program the address into your phone before you leave the curb, either on the handset or online, then you'll only need to listen to the directions.
- Program important and frequently dialed numbers into your phone to take advantage of speed dialing and voice dialing features on your phone.
- Set up your playlist on your V CAST Music-enabled device, or any music player, while you are stopped.
- Turn your phone to speakerphone or put on your headset. Many phones have speakerphone capability. Headset models available from Verizon Wireless range from Bluetooth devices for individual use, or car mount, to hands-free ear buds compatible with devices from many wireless providers.
- 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 voicemail or voice-memo-capable handset.
- Never view or send text or multi-media messages or video downloads while driving
For more information on hands-free options and responsible driving, customers can visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store or www.verizonwireless.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 65.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.