Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Home / News and Events / News Releases / Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Partners with State Safety Officials to Promote Teen Driver Safety
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Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Partners with State Safety Officials to Promote Teen Driver Safety
 
October 21, 2013
Media Contact:
Ashley Culver
(615) 322-4747
ashley.culver@vanderbilt.edu

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is partnering with state officials to promote teen driver safety. To kick-start the week, a press event will be held Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on the plaza across from Langford Auditorium.

Teens are especially vulnerable to death and injury while behind the wheel. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

“Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of trauma admission to our hospital,” said John B. Pietsch, M.D., associate professor of Pediatric Surgery. “Widespread use of cell phones, especially texting while driving, significantly increases the risk of getting into a crash.  What is needed is a cultural change in thinking.”

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to the NHTSA. Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s “Be In The Zone” (B.I.T.Z.) program was created to help combat this problem. Students who participate in the B.I.T.Z. program are educated about the behaviors that put them at increased risk of crashing such as distracted driving and charged to take what they’ve learned and spread the message throughout their schools and community.

“Distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your primary task which is driving safely,” said Kendell Poole, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.”

Children’s Hospital, the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, want teens to commit to driving phone-free and turning cell phones off when the ignition is on. Parents are encouraged to take the time to discuss safe driving behavior with their teens.

 “The Tennessee Highway Patrol is committed to making sure our teens feel confident and safe when driving on Tennessee Highways,” Sgt. Bill Miller said.  “Part of the THP mission is to educate our teens on the laws and help them become safe drivers.”

Who: The event will feature several speakers including: John B. Pietsch, M.D., associate professor of Pediatric Surgery; Kendell Poole, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office; Sgt. Bill Miller with Tennessee Highway Patrol; Doug and Pat Ralls, parent advocates; and Amberly Leininger and Tatum Hittle, students in the (B.I.T.Z.) program.

What: Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office will hold a press event to kick start National Teen Driver Safety Week.

When:  Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m.

Where: Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s plaza, across from Langford Auditorium. 



Tags: Safety
 
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