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June 29, 2022

Where Every Family Matters

Local Schools Participate in Teen Driver Safety Program

The safety campaign plays a pivotal role in highlighting the growing issue of distracted driving.

Concerns about teen driver safety are nothing new. And while teen driver fatalities have declined over the years, car crashes are still the leading cause of death among teens. Every day in the United States, nine people die from a distracted-driving motor vehicle crash, with six of these deaths being drivers between 16-19 years old.

These statistics are part of the reason Ford Motor Company Fund and Pilot Company along with the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt are working to increase awareness among young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving through the “Be in the Zone” Teen Driver Safety Program (BITZ).

Campaign zeros in on teen driver safety

“Teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers,” said Purnima Unni, MPH, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Manager at Children’s Hospital. “The campaign provides us a great opportunity to spread awareness about distracted driving and the graduated driving licensing law. Overall, it empowers youth to make a real difference in their communities.”

The goal of BITZ is to address the issue among teens and for them to take the information back to their schools and communities to raise awareness about the consequences of these actions.

The unique hospital-school collaborative educates Tennessee teen drivers of the dangers of distracted driving over the course of the school year. As part of the campaign, each school is also tasked with participating in a youth empowerment project.

This year the following schools will participate in the 2021-2022 campaign: Cane Ridge High School, Central Magnet High School, Clarksville Academy, Harpeth Hall School, LaVergne High School, Smyrna High School, Wayne County Technology.

To learn more about the program, visit vumc.org/injuryprevention/current-bitz-program.