Verizon, CTIA act to forestall carphone ban with safety campaigns

WASHINGTON: Both Verizon Wireless and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) are developing programs to encourage drivers to use cell phones responsibly. Their efforts are an attempt to stave off an expected increase in government restrictions on using the phones while driving.

WASHINGTON: Both Verizon Wireless and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) are developing programs to encourage drivers to use cell phones responsibly. Their efforts are an attempt to stave off an expected increase in government restrictions on using the phones while driving.

WASHINGTON: Both Verizon Wireless and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) are developing programs to encourage drivers to use cell phones responsibly. Their efforts are an attempt to stave off an expected increase in government restrictions on using the phones while driving.

According to The New York Times, local governments have passed 11 laws that ban or control the practice, with bills submitted in 35 states.

Verizon Wireless claims it has taken the lead on the issue. 'Verizon is one of the big pushers for a progressive policy when it comes to responsible driving while using wireless (phones),' said executive director of corporate communications Jeffrey Nelson.

All Verizon Wireless retail outlets now feature a 'safety wall' with information about responsible driving and hands-free devices at below retail prices. 'We are putting our money where our mouth is,' Nelson said.

Verizon also trains its employees to use hands-free devices, and repeats the message throughout its company rhetoric, from analyst briefings to sales pitches. Verizon's hands-free logo is printed on all materials it produces.

On the public policy front, Verizon is working to oppose local ordinances calling for a blanket ban on car phones in favor of state laws that require the use of hands-free devices.

Meanwhile, CTIA is close to releasing a new, top-secret PSA on safe use of cell phones while driving. Radio ads already have appeared, asking drivers, 'Is this the right time to be using your phone?' The group also is asking legislators to enforce current restrictions against distracted driving, rather than impose new bans.





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