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“Be in the Zone” Teen Safe Driving Program

Ford Driving Skills for Life partnered with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. As a Comprehensive Regional Pediatric Center (CRPC)—one of only four in the state of Tennessee—Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is responsible for modeling safety and injury prevention practices for many other hospitals and organizations throughout the state.

Teen motor vehicle crashes continue to be an area of concern in the Middle Tennessee region. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (July 2012) identified the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as having the nation’s third highest teenage driving death rate for 15- to 24-year-olds in 2009. The Nashville MSA comprises 13 counties (Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson and Wilson). Currently, one high school each from Dickson, Wilson and Robertson counties is participating in the “Be in the Zone” program, which focuses on safe teen driving and building awareness about risky driving behaviors like texting.

Support from Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford Driving Skills for Life has been critical to building the “Be in the Zone” program. “Be in the Zone” program to focus on improving teen driver safety among rural high school youth through a peer generated anti-texting driving education campaign.

Student leaders from the selected high schools will learn about the dangers of risky driving through the “Be in the Zone” program at Children’s Hospital. These student leaders lead the effort to organize the yearlong campaign in their respective high schools. These campaigns are peer-led.

Partnerships with rural regional medical centers empower and enable implementation at the rural community level. Training efforts such as a workshop, a DVD and a detailed manual provide partners with the tools to effectively run a “Be in the Zone” program modeled after the program. Students will also partner with local agencies such as the regional medical center, fire department, police department, emergency medical services, media and insurance companies to reinforce the messaging of the campaign among key community partners. The Comprehensive Regional Pediatric Center, Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians, Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office have all agreed to be partners for this project and pledge their support.

  • The program received a finalist award in Children’s Hospital Association 2012 Injury Prevention Call for Resources (Protect the Child in a Crash).

  • Risky teen behavior was the theme for a “Timely Trauma Topic” series at the Children’s Hospital in August 2012; Ford Motor Company Fund’s support for the “Be in the Zone” program was recognized.

  • An abstract was accepted for panel presentation at the Injury Free Coalition for Kids— Trauma Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in November 2012.

  • An abstract was accepted for poster presentation at the Children’s Hospital Association Creating Connections Conference in March 2013.

  • Research based on the “Be in the Zone” program was submitted to the Journal of Trauma—Acute Care and Surgery.

  • The program was presented at the Tennessee Department of Heath Injury Prevention Taskforce meeting.

Find out more about this program here.

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