November 30, 2016

Allstate Foundation grant strengthens teen-driver safety initiatives at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt


Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt will expand its teen motor vehicle safety program, “Be in the Zone – Turn off Your Phone” with the help of a $60,000 award from the Allstate Foundation.

The program is spearheaded by the Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program to increase awareness among teens about the dangers of texting and driving.

“We are very excited to work with 20 high schools across12 counties in Middle Tennessee this year,” said Purnima Unni, MPH, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program manager at Children’s Hospital. “Through our ‘Be in the Zone – Turn off Your Phone’ program, we encourage teens to participate in a yearlong anti-texting while driving campaign in their schools. The goal is to encourage teens to be positive change agents.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), inexperienced drivers younger than 20 are most at risk of being involved in a fatal crash caused by distracted driving. The results of the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nationwide, 41.5 percent of high school students who had driven a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days reported texting or emailing while driving.

“The Allstate Foundation is proud to support Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the ‘No Texting While Driving’ message,” said Allison May, Allstate Corporate Relations Division manager. “The excellent work they do to empower youth is even more valuable now, considering some of the distracted driving trends we’re currently seeing. Partnering together to change behavior, change culture and ultimately save lives, is what this is all about.”

Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program has identified counties of concern based on pediatric trauma admission. This year the “Be in the Zone- Turn off Your Phone” program is partnering with 20 high schools across 12 counties covering more than 26,544 students. They will compete in a yearlong competition to get the “no texting while driving” message out in their schools and community.

The 2016-2017 participating schools are:

Jo Byrns High School; McEwen High School; Moore County High School; Clarksville Academy; Monterey High School; White House Heritage High School; Spring Hill High School; Marshall County High School; Macon County High School; Springfield High School; Hillsboro High School; Summit High School; Hunter’s Lane High School; Clarksville High School; Brentwood High School; Riverdale High School; Overton High School; Wilson Central High School; McGavock High School; and Lebanon High School.

To learn more about the “Be in the Zone- Turn off Your Phone” program, visit