Teen Driver Safety Program

The Teen Driver Safety Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt addresses the growing problem of teen motor vehicle crashes in Tennessee. Funded by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services and The Allstate Foundation, the Be in the Zone (BITZ) Teen Motor Vehicle Safety program is a unique hospital-school collaborative program that educates teenage drivers of the dangers of texting while driving. It is a sequential combination of hospital and school-based components incorporating Phases 1 and 2 over a school year.

Phase 1: Hospital-based program

Phase 1 is designed to keep teen drivers safe. Its purpose is to teach teens motor vehicle safety in a hospital setting. The program is a team effort of the Trauma Program, rehabilitation staff and Emergency Department staff.

High school student club leaders (HOSA, DECA, FBLA, Criminal Justice) from Tennessee counties are chosen to participate in Phase 1. During a day-long intensive program, students experience:

  • A trauma presentation on risky driving behavior
  • "Injury" assignments from the rehabilitation team to manage throughout the day as if they had been in a motor vehicle crash
  • A mock trauma simulation in the Emergency Department
  • Hear from a Champions of Change speaker who has been personally affected by the consequences of distracted driving

An interactive environment is used to:

  • Increase awareness among teens of motor vehicle safety and the consequences of unsafe driving habits
  • Teach teens about the dangers of distracted driving, especially cell phone use and texting while driving.

Participating teens have given the program outstanding evaluations.

For more information or to join the Be in the Zone-Turn of Your Phone program, email Eppiphanie Benton.

Phase 2: School-based program

Phase 2 is a teen motor vehicle safety program that encourages teenagers to translate the lessons they learned in Phase 1 into a year-long distracted driving campaign in their schools with a focus on cell phone use, especially texting while driving.

Groups of students from surrounding counties participate in the Phase 1 hospital-based interactive teen motor vehicle safety program, "Be in The Zone" (BITZ). These students are to develop and implement a multi-faceted, distracted driving campaign at their schools and in their communities. They are provided with a detailed instruction guide and other resources from Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

The campaign is in the form of a competition consisting of of an overall Best Campaign, Best T-Shirt Design, and Best Social Media Campaign. Through the support of our funders, each competition involves cash prizes.

Research shows that programs targeting behavior change among teenagers are more likely to be successful if they have some component of self-management and if messages come from peers. All schools continue to do an outstanding job in getting school and community involved. We are proud of the leadership role they have taken and the support the schools have shown in spreading this important message.

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