Florida Highway Patrol, Verizon Wireless Win LACP Awards For "Danger Thumbs' Safety Campaign

TALLAHASSEE, FL — The “Danger Thumbs” safety campaign by Verizon Wireless and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), which targets texting teen drivers across the state, has earned top honors in the 2010 Magellan Awards from the League of American Communications Professionals (LACP).

Danger Thumbs won a Platinum Award and Best Campaign Debut “across all categories of competition for the past year,” according to LACP.

“More than 375 entries were submitted, so competition was exceptionally tough,” said Tyson Heyn of LACP. “Winners demonstrated a laser focus on communications grounded in creativity and passion, which ultimately helped audiences understand the relevance and importance of the message.”

Danger Thumbs was designed to make Florida’s roads safer by educating young drivers on the dangers of texting while behind the wheel of a car. The edgy graphics featuring the Danger Thumbs character are appealing to teens, and help make them more receptive to the campaign’s safety messages.

“Texting drivers of any age can create a tremendous hazard on the roads,” said Captain Mark Welch, FHP’s chief of public affairs. “But Danger Thumbs targets teens with our safety messages while they are still learning to drive.

Teens also are generally the most prolific users of wireless text messaging.

“We’re not picking on young people, but we know how they love to text,” said Pam Tope, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless. “We’re proud to team up with the Florida Highway Patrol, the authority on safe driving in the state, to reach young drivers with important lessons. And we’re very honored to win and share the Magellan Awards with such an outstanding partner as the FHP.”

The campaign includes presentations by FHP officers at high school driver’s education classes across the state, videos, and safety messages delivered by a variety of web-based and social media channels popular with teens.

The “Danger Thumbs” Florida initiative complements a more general “Don’t Text and Drive” public service campaign by Verizon Wireless that includes billboards, public service announcements (PSAs), advertising, brochures and other traditional communications aimed at all drivers.

The company has a long history of leadership in promoting safe driving while using wireless phones. In the first year (2000) Verizon Wireless formed, the company broke from the rest of the wireless industry by supporting legislation that required people who talked while driving to use hands-free devices. Shortly after, the company teamed with the FHP in Florida to distribute more than 20,000 free hands-free headsets to Florida motorists in a “Drive Responsibly, Call With Care” campaign.

In addition to the new “Danger Thumbs” campaign with the FHP, Verizon Wireless today supports legal bans on texting while driving, and prohibits Verizon Wireless employees from texting while on the job or in a company vehicle.

For more information about Verizon Wireless, visit www.verizonwireless.com. For more information on the Magellan Awards, go to www.lacp.com.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest and most advanced 4G network and largest and most reliable 3G network, and serves more than 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

About LACPThe League of American Communication Professionals was established in 2001 in order to create a forum within the public relations industry that facilitates discussion of best-in-class practices within the profession while also recognizing those who demonstrate exemplary communications capabilities. Competitions routinely include hundreds of entries from some of the most recognized organizations throughout the world. For more information on LACP, visit www.lacp.com.