Dekalb County is First to Equip Special Education Buses with Wireless Phones for Safety

Dekalb County is First to Equip Special Education Buses with Wireless Phones for Safety

Verizon Wireless to Arm Drivers with Immediate 911 Access

December 11, 2001




Bus drivers in DeKalb County will soon drive with 911 emergency access at their fingertips. Today, Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless communications provider, presented recycled wireless phones, hands-free headsets and in-dash battery chargers (valued at more than $61,000) to the DeKalb County Public School System for its 250 special education buses. The buses will be equipped with the wireless phones by late-December.

"After observing the risks bus drivers face while traveling our congested city streets, Verizon Wireless felt this was a necessary and proactive step to take to ensure the safety of our community's children," said Jim McGean, president-Georgia Region for Verizon Wireless. "Verizon Wireless is committed to education, and we feel a sense of comfort knowing we are able to help our children get to and from school more safely each and every day."

The 250 phones are the first in a series of phone donations planned by Verizon Wireless to metro area schools over the next several years. The phones were given to DeKalb County drivers because the county travels more miles and longer hours than any other Atlanta area school system.

According to Dannie Reed, executive director of transportation for DeKalb County Schools, "Our drivers log enough miles each day to travel around the world three times. They're on the road before 6 a.m. and drive until 10 p.m." The special education buses also were chosen based on a needs assessment. Reed added, "The children that ride our special education buses have a variety of needs - while our bus drivers are trained to accommodate those needs, immediate access to 911 operators is also very important in ensuring their health and safety."

This donation marks the first time a Metro Atlanta school system has worked with a wireless company to equip buses with free wireless phones and 911 access.

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.