Verizon Wireless And Driving School Association of California Teach Students Safe Use of Wireless Phones While Driving

IRVINE, CA — Verizon Wireless is partnering with the Driving Schools Association of California (DSAC) to bring responsible driving information to student drivers, who may use wireless phones in automobiles. As part of Verizon Wireless' nationwide consumer education effort "Drive Responsibly. Call with Care," the company developed a curriculum package designed to teach young drivers that, when operating a motor vehicle, their first responsibility is safe driving.

Endorsed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the educational video and printed materials are being provided free of charge to members of the Driving School Association of California. The program was unveiled in California yesterday during the DSAC's continuing education seminar in Van Nuys, which was attended by DSAC members, non-members and traffic violator school representatives.

"Verizon Wireless is making the Cellular Telephone Safety Test video and printed materials available free to DSAC education programs throughout the state," said Verizon Wireless Southern California Region President Mike Finley.

Produced to appeal to teenagers, the video uses seven scenarios to teach responsible driving. After viewing each scenario, the host reveals the correct answer that would have resulted in the safest driving. The end of the video provides eight safety tips to reinforce responsible calling and driving. The video and printed content is based on industry recommendations for safe use of cellular telephones while in a vehicle, and is available to all DSAC driving schools for free (up to two videos) by calling (949) 286-8151.

"While wireless phones can be a valuable tool -- in contacting emergency personnel or helping others in need -- we want to train tomorrow's drivers how to use today's technology safely," said Verizon Wireless Northern California Region President Ralph Martinez.

"Wireless phones have become a way of life for many drivers," said Robert Jay Stahl, past president, DSAC. "And it is apparent that any number of activities - including eating, playing with the radio or CD, talking with passengers, or irresponsible use of a wireless phone - can distract a driver. The time to start educating drivers about responsible phone use is when they're students. Our partnership with Verizon Wireless will help our students develop safe, defensive driving habits."

Verizon Wireless took an industry-leading position last month when the company broke ranks with the rest of the wireless industry to support statewide legislation in California that calls for hands-free use of wireless phones while driving to improve both driver convenience and attentiveness. In addition, the company launched a series of business initiatives last year to make using wireless phones in a car easier and ultimately safer. Specifically, these efforts are aimed at increasing the availability, affordability, and awareness of hands-free technologies. Verizon Wireless retail stores carry the latest products, services and technologies to make hands-free wireless calling available and affordable.

About Verizon Wireless

As the U.S. wireless industry leader, Verizon Wireless has made the responsible use of in-vehicle wireless phones a top priority for the company and its customers. Verizon Wireless believes that its customers' attentiveness to driving can be improved by using wireless service with convenient hands-free technologies, such as headsets, earpieces and voice-activated systems. The company's mission is to put its strength behind enhancing the availability, affordability, and awareness of hands-free technologies. This effort includes spearheading hands-free educational programs among drivers and wireless users of all ages; mandating handset manufacturers to ensure hands-free, voice-activated compatibility for their handsets by 2002 or risk losing Verizon Wireless' business; selling earpieces and headsets at low prices to encourage their use; and, when appropriate, supporting statewide legislation that requires drivers to use hands-free devices when conducting in-vehicle calls.

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 27 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, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 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

About the Driving School Association of California

Driving School Association of California offers driver instruction and training for adults, teens, handicapped, and disabled persons. The Association is dedicated to improving driver safety through educating and informing the public about it's related member services from driving schools to corporate risk management.