SANTA FE, NM — Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless provider, today unveiled a new educational program in New Mexico that teaches new drivers about wireless safety behind the wheel, reinforcing the company's industry-leading position on responsible driving. The program, entitled vIQSM, or "vehicle Intelligence Quest," encourages new drivers to consider their driving aptitude and educates them about the options for the in-vehicle use of wireless technologies. Officially approved for use by the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department Traffic Safety Bureau, the educational video and printed materials sponsored by Verizon Wireless will be sent to approximately 300 school district driver education coordinators and 30 private driving schools throughout the state.
"Wireless phones have become a way of life for many drivers," said Franklin Garcia, driver education program manger for the New Mexico Traffic Safety Bureau. "And it is apparent that any number of activities - including eating, tuning the radio, talking with passengers, or irresponsible use of a wireless phone - can distract a driver. Verizon Wireless' vIQ program helps educate students about responsible wireless phone use while they are first learning to drive - an important time to develop safe, defensive driving habits."
The vIQ materials, designed to be part of the driver education curriculum, includes a video and an instructive educator's guide, which takes the instructor step-by-step through the program. Breakout activities are suggested to give instructors and their students an opportunity to think and talk about the issues of vehicle safety and wireless phone usage. The educational package is available at no cost to educators, schools, libraries and drivers education instructors throughout the United States.
"While wireless phones provide an invaluable safety tool in a vehicle, we want to help young drivers learn how to use this technology safely," said Ralph Martinez, regional president of Verizon Wireless. "We hope the program will help drivers develop good habits and an awareness of the need to focus on their primary responsibility: safe driving."
Emmy® Award winning creative director, Peter Reynolds of FableVision Studios, scripted the animated vIQ video and educational guide. Reynolds has 17 years' experience developing educational software.
To order a copy of the video and for more information, contact Jenny Weaver at 480/ 763-6321 or visit (www.verizonwireless.com/responsibledriving).
About the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department
The Traffic Safety Bureau is the division of the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department that works with local New Mexico law enforcement to enforce the state's driving laws and encourage New Mexicans to drive safely.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28.7 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.
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