Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt enhanced its efforts to reduce motor vehicle-related deaths among teen drivers.
The Allstate Foundation awarded $58,000 to Children’s Hospital’s teen motor vehicle safety program, “Be In The Zone.” The BITZ program, spearheaded by the Pediatric Trauma Program, is a hospital- and school-based collaboration created to prevent injury and save lives by increasing knowledge about the dangers of distracted driving, especially cellphone use and texting while driving.
Inexperienced drivers younger than 20, are most at risk of being involved in a fatal crash caused by distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Through our BITZ Program we aim to increase awareness among teens about the dangers of distracted driving especially cell phone use and texting and driving,” said Purnima Unni, and Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention program coordinator.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among the nation’s teenagers, particularly in the greater Nashville area, which has the third highest death rate among young drivers, according to the NHTSA.
“The Allstate Foundation is passionate about promoting teen safe driving with programs that help save young lives and instill a lifetime of safe driving attitudes and behaviors. That is why we are proud to be able to support Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s BITZ program,” said Michelle Therrien, communications division manager at Allstate. “This valuable program puts the ownership in teens hands by empowering them to take the lessons they learn and translate them into a yearlong anti-texting campaign in their school for the ‘Be in the Zone —Turn Off Your Phone’ program. Together we can work towards keeping teen drivers safe in Tennessee.”
“Through the generous support of The Allstate Foundation we have been able to increase the reach of our program and expand into more counties,” said Unni.
This year, the BITZ program reached more than 9,000 students across six high schools in six high-risk counties for teen motor vehicle crashes. The participating schools include Cheatham County Central High School, Franklin High School, Hendersonville High School, Lebanon High School, Siegel High School and Springfield High School.