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Vanderbilt University Medical Center Reporter

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services grant helps promote Teen Driver Safety Initiative at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

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Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services  has awarded $75,000 to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s teen motor vehicle safety program, “Be in the Zone.” The program is spearheaded by the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program to increase awareness among teens about the dangers of texting and driving.

Each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

“As a hospital, we are playing a pivotal role in addressing this growing issue of distracted driving. Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services has been a great supporter of our ‘Be in the Zone – Turn Off Your Phone’ campaign,” said Purnima Unni, MPH, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program Manager at Children’s Hospital. “The goal of this campaign is to address the issue of texting while driving among our teens in their own schools as well as their local communities. Without Ford’s continued support, we would not be able to spread this important message across multiple high schools and counties.”

Results from the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that the use of technology while driving continues to put youth at risk. Among high school students who had driven a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days, the percentage of teens who texted or e-mailed while driving ranged from 26 – 63 percent across 35 states. Nationwide, 42 percent of students who have driven a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days admitted to texting or e-mailing.

“Ford Driving Skills for Life is now in its seventh year of partnering with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to support the ‘Be in the Zone’ program,” said Jim Graham, Manager of Ford Driving Skills for Life Program. “This unique initiative has attracted national attention while training thousands of newly-licensed drivers on the risks associated with texting and driving.”

The Ford Driving Skills for Life program has trained more than 1 million individuals in safe driving practices. It is offered in 34 countries, and hands-on driving clinics have been conducted in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

“As a father of two teenage children, I am happy to support the ‘Be in the Zone’ program,” said John L. Barker, owner of Two Rivers Ford. “Educating teens on the consequences of distracted driving will save lives.”

This coming year, the program is partnering with 17 high schools across 10 counties covering more than 25,000 students: Centennial High School, Cheatham Central County High School, Cookeville High School, East Hickman High School, Fairview High School, Fayetteville High School, Franklin High School, Greenbrier High School, Harpeth Hall School, Harpeth High School, Hickman County High School, Independence High School, Nolensville High School, Siegel High School, Smith County High School, Stewart County High School and Whites Creek High School. They will compete in a yearlong competition to get the “no texting while driving” message out in their schools and community. The winning school will receive a cash prize and awards.

To learn more about the program visit http://www.childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/teendrivers

Media Inquiries:
Jennifer Wetzel, (615) 322-4747
jennifer.b.wetzel@vanderbilt.edu




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