Verizon Wireless Sponsors Wireless Safety Education Program for New Drivers in Oregon

Verizon Wireless Sponsors Wireless Safety Education Program for New Drivers

Affiliation With "Drugs. Drinking. Driving. Don't." to Help Program Reach Student Drivers

November 16, 2001




Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless provider, today reinforced the company's industry leading position on responsible driving by joining with "Drugs. Drinking. Driving. Don't" to distribute a Verizon Wireless developed educational kit to teach new drivers about wireless safety behind the wheel. The affiliation has sent the program, entitled vIQSM, or "vehicle Intelligence Quest," to approximately 70 school district curriculum coordinators throughout the Willamette Valley. Drugs. Drinking. Driving. Don't. is a multi-faceted, partnership dedicated to educating Oregonians about the importance of traffic safety and the perils of impaired driving.

"Wireless phones have become a way of life for many drivers," said Izetta Grossman, Drugs. Drinking. Driving. Don't. program director. "It is apparent that any number of activities - including eating, tuning the radio or CD, talking with passengers, or irresponsible use of a wireless phone - can distract a driver. The best time to start educating drivers about responsible phone use is when they're just learning to drive. Verizon Wireless' vIQ program will help students develop safe, defensive driving habits." In addition to use at public schools, vIQ will be shown during Drugs. Drinking. Driving. Don't. programs at colleges and community events throughout the Willamette Valley. "The slogan of Drugs. Drinking. Driving. Don't. is 'Educating Oregonians on traffic safety one community at a time,' making the vIQ kit a perfect fit for our program," said Grossman.

vIQ, designed to be part of a driver education curriculum, is packaged with an instructive Educator's Guide and video, which takes the instructor step-by-step through the program. Breakout activities are suggested to give instructors and their students an opportunity to 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.

"Our goal with vIQ is to educate new drivers about making smart choices from the start of their driving careers," said Kelley Kurtzman, president of Verizon Wireless' Pacific Northwest Region. "The vIQ program recognizes that sometimes a driver's best choice may be to pull off the road to make a call, or let a call go to voicemail and respond after reaching a final destination. vIQ supplements our other ongoing responsible driving initiatives, which include brochures for customers with responsible driving hints and discounted prices on hands-free accessories."

The Drugs. Drinking. Driving. Don't. public education program is a combined effort of the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police, Mothers' Against Drunk Driving, Parent Line and the combined Clear Channel Communication's radio stations in Oregon.

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), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular and GTE Wireless. 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.