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U S WEST CELLULAR: CELLULAR PHONE SAFETY TAKES PRIORITY AT STATE DRIVERS EDUCATION CONFERENCE

 U S WEST CELLULAR: CELLULAR PHONE SAFETY TAKES PRIORITY
 AT STATE DRIVERS EDUCATION CONFERENCE
 BELLEVUE, Wash., March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The first cellular car phone safety education program will be introduced today at the Washington Traffic Safety Educators Conference in Tacoma, U S WEST Cellular said.
 Representatives from U S WEST Cellular, the Bellevue School District and the Washington State Patrol will address educators during a panel discussion on ways to incorporate cellular car phone safety into their drivers training curriculum.
 "Driver safety is a top priority for U S WEST Cellular," said Bernadette Anderson, company spokesperson. "We're currently working with the Bellevue School District to implement a comprehensive cellular drivers training program in Bellevue high schools."
 Next month, U S WEST Cellular representatives will meet with student leaders in Bellevue high schools to introduce the program and explain why it's an important part of drivers training in the '90s. The program will be in the classrooms the first week of May.
 U S WEST Cellular provides drivers education teachers with a teachers' guide, student handouts, audio visual materials and a list of resources they can access for additional materials. Lesson plans include instruction on how to dial 9-1-1 for emergencies and how to use the hands free and speed dialing options. Demonstrations from U S WEST Cellular representatives on safe use of a cellular phone will be an important part of the training.
 Additionally, the company is planning presentations to high school Parent Teacher Associations so parents can reinforce the cellular safety message at home.
 "Many of the car phones kids use belong to their parents," said Anderson. "We want parents to know safe cellular driving practices so they'll pass their knowledge on to their kids before handing over the car keys."
 Since more than 50 million people are expected to use cellular phones by the year 2000, teaching proper cellular phone skills to young drivers is timely, according to Larry Hitchcock, driver education coordinator for the Bellevue School District.
 "With cellular phones becoming more widespread, we want to make sure our students are trained to operate them safely," said Hitchcock. "This way, if they have an opportunity to use a cellular phone, they'll be prepared."
 The cellular driver education program is a pilot project in Washington state, although U S WEST Cellular has successfully orchestrated a similar program in Bismarck, N.D. U S WEST Cellular chose Bellevue to test the program because the company is headquartered in the city. Plans are underway to make the program available statewide in the fall.
 "Cellular phones offer drivers a sense of security in emergency situations," said Anderson. "If the car breaks down, the driver can call for help without putting his or herself at risk. We're trying to teach young drivers that a cellular phone is a valuable tool that could save lives if they use it properly. If we save even one young driver's life, it will be worth it," she added.
 U S WEST Cellular is a division of U S WEST NewVector Group Inc. Headquartered in Bellevue, NewVector has operations in 15 midwestern, western and southwestern states. The company operates 27 Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and 21 Rural Service Area (RSA) cellular systems under the brand name U S WEST Cellular. NewVector also offers U S WEST Paging service in 88 markets.
 NewVector is a subsidiary of U S WEST Inc. (NYSE: USW), a diversified corporation based in Englewood, Colo. U S WEST owns and operates companies involved domestically and internationally in directory publishing and marketing services, radio communications, communications systems sales and service, communications software and financial services.
 -0- 3/20/92
 /CONTACT: Bernadette Anderson of U S WEST Cellular, 206-562-5754/
 (USW) CO: U S WEST Cellular ST: Washington IN: TLS SU:


SC-JH -- SE001 -- 0006 03/20/92 10:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 20, 1992
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