GTE offers tips to keep families safe-on and off the roads-- in conjunction with Wireless Safety Week

May 24, 1999—
As thousands of families prepare for the summer vacation season, GTE is stressing the importance of safe, responsible driving. The company is celebrating Wireless Safety Week, May 24-30, by offering a free brochure on responsible wireless phone use in all retail stores beginning today.

"There are many distractions for motorists," says (name/title), "and we want to urge people to focus on their driving, so they can be as safe as possible on our nation's highways." (Name) said distractions include putting on make-up, reading, talking with passengers or children in the back seat, drinking coffee, eating, smoking, and using a wireless phone.

"More than 98,000 emergency calls (Source: Cellular Telephone Industry of America, 1999.) are made daily on wireless phones," (name) said, "Clearly wireless phones provide safety and security for millions. GTE believes that education is the key to promoting safe use of wireless phones."

Helpful Safety Tips

Some tips from GTE's free brochure include:

  • Dialing a phone number is probably the most distracting aspect of using a wireless phone in a vehicle. Whenever possible, pull over to a safe place before dialing a phone number or ask a passenger to dial the call for you. Use a hands-free accessory so you can keep both hands on the wheel. If you don't know the number, use *411, directory assistance, so that you can keep your focus on the road.

  • Make it a practice to prepare for the calls you need to make. For routine "I'm running late, " or "Do you need anything at the grocery store" calls, dial the number while you are still safely parked in the lot at work or at the grocery store.

  • When you know you need to call someone en route, dial the number before you put the car in motion. Your phone will keep the number in the display window, so when you are ready to talk, all you need to do is press the send button.

  • On or off the phone, never engage in stressful or emotional conversations; or those that may require you to take notes or try to remember complex details or numbers.

  • Let voice mail pick up your calls while you are driving, especially when traveling in adverse conditions.

Family Safety Net

On and off the road, most people agree that wireless phones are the most powerful safety tools since 9-1-1. Here are some important ways to strengthen the safety net around your family 24 hours a day:

  • Be sure everyone in your family knows how to dial 9-1-1 from your wireless phone. In case of an accident, you may be unable to initiate a call. Make sure all passengers, even children, know how to turn on the phone, dial 9-1-1 and press the send button. Remind them that emergency operators need to know your location, encourage them to look around before calling so they can describe where they are. Emphasize that they must press the send button in order for the call to go through.

  • Make it a habit to carry your wireless phone wherever you go. Take it with you on the hike, to the neighborhood pool, when you are out walking the dog or strolling the baby around the neighborhood. Use a belt clip to keep it handy, but out of your way. Knowing they can reach you instantly, at any time, will give you, your spouse and children, peace of mind.

  • Routinely check your phone's battery. Keep it charged up and ready to go. Use a lighter adapter in your car.

  • Help young children learn their home address early. One easy way to do it is to begin bedtime stories with, "There once was a little girl/boy who lived at (your address.)" Give them specific instructions on what to do if they are ever lost or separated from you.

  • Take your phone with you while fishing, boating or sailing. Most frequently traveled lakes and waterways have wireless service. There are already many instances where wireless phones have played a critical role in water rescue operations. Be sure to dial 9-1-1 if you see anyone operating a craft in a dangerous manner, or if you see someone in need of assistance.

  • Extend the safety net to your parents by giving your phone number to them and inviting them to contact you in case they need assistance. No matter how far apart you are geographically, knowing that they can reach you instantly will give them added peace of mind.

  • Keep your phone handy at home, so that in the event of severe weather or some other natural disaster, you can take it, along with a flashlight, some bottled water and other emergency supplies, to a safe place.

About GTE Wireless:

GTE Wireless provides voice, paging and data telecommunications services to more than 4.8 million customers in 17 states. GTE Wireless is a part of GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE). With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services.