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Virgin Mobile lobbies for sidewalk Safe Text Zones across Canada

New zones to help protect pedestrians while texting

TORONTO (ONTARIO) April 1, 2010

Virgin Mobile Canada is taking to the sidewalks to make them a bit safer with a new campaign to encourage government agencies to install Safe Text Zones across Canada.

Studies show that the number of sidewalk accidents has increased drastically in the last several years, largely due to the high number of pedestrians who text while they walk. In Canada alone, more than 20,000 pedestrian accidents have occurred while texting since 2009.

“Thousands of Canadians are hurt each month after bumping into street poles and other sidewalk obstructions – and even each other – while texting on their mobile phones,” says Dr. Thumbson, lead researcher with the consumer advocacy group Canadians Raising Awareness for Street-related Harm (C.R.A.S.H.) “Textus interruptus, or a lack of awareness of one’s environment while texting, has drastically increased, especially with today’s youth as they just can’t stop playing with it. To ensure that pedestrians are kept safe, we believe that Safe Text Zones should be installed on major streets across Canada. It’s a real safety issue and it’s time the government took action.”

To test out the concept and prove its success, Virgin Mobile has stepped in to set up prototype Safe Text Zones in Toronto on sections of Queen Street and Yonge Street and on Vancouver’s Robson Street. The zones are equipped with padded street pillars and Virgin Angels armed with padded shields to protect pedestrians on the sidewalks.

“These Safe Text Zones can help drastically reduce the number of injuries related to texting while walking by providing a soft landing for anyone who crashes,” said Nathan Rosenberg, Chief Safe Text-pert, Virgin Mobile Canada. “From thumb sprain to full on neck-twists, texting and walking can be dangerous business. After C.R.A.S.H. brought the various issues to our attention, it was immediately clear that we needed to step in and show our support. We’re hoping that the Safe Text Zones we’ve installed will show both Canadians and our government what an important issue this is.”

To help Canadians stay tuned to Safe Text Zones, Virgin Mobile Canada also launched an iPhone app for Members today. The Safe Text app will alert texters as they enter into a Safe Text Zone so they know when they’re ok to keep typing without having to look up. Canadians can join the cause by texting their message of support to Virgin Mobile hotlines at 647-381-TEXT or 778-TEXT-400. Virgin Mobile’s public service announcement can also be viewed at youtube.com/virginmobilepresents.

About Virgin Mobile

The Virgin Mobile group of companies has attracted more than 14 million customers worldwide. As the No.1 mobile youth network, Virgin Mobile Canada's mission is to be Canada’s most loved mobile company with the hottest phones and plans on the hottest network. Its plans with extra for no extra make it easy for Members to find the perfect plan for them to connect to e-mail, social networks, texting and GPS navigation with the smartest phones and mobile Internet products. Virgin Mobile Members also get access to the hottest events, global roaming and the best customer service. J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Canadian Wireless Customer Satisfaction Study has awarded Virgin Mobile “Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Prepaid Wireless Service, Five Years in a Row” and it has ranked Virgin Mobile “Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Postpaid Wireless Service” . 91% of customers would also recommend Virgin Mobile to a friend.

Virgin Mobile phones are available at more than 4,000 locations nationally including The Source, Virgin Mobile retail locations and additional retail partners. Virgin Mobile products can also be purchased online at virginmobile.ca or by calling 1-888-999-2321. Get personal with Virgin Mobile Canada on Facebook at facebook.com/virginmobilecan and Twitter at twitter.com/virginmobilecan.

For more information, please contact:
Kayla Rochkin, Hill & Knowlton Canada 1-416-413-4767 Kayla.rochkin@hillandknowlton.ca


Erica Faltous, Virgin Mobile Canada 1-416-607-8412 / 1-416-400-0171 erica.faltous@virginmobile.ca

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