About BITZ


The Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital is addressing distracted driving among teenagers through a data-driven, research-based program funded by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services and The Allstate Foundation.

Both organizations have been generous supporters of the “Be in the Zone” Program since its start in 2011. Their gracious funding each year allows high school teens to become active advocates and agents of change against distracted driving.

Through a unique hospital and school based collaboration, the “Be In The Zone” Program aims to prevent injury and save lives by increasing knowledge about the dangers of distracted driving especially cell phone use and texting while driving.

Our Teen Motor Vehicle Safety Program “Be In The Zone” has two phases:

Phase 1: Hospital-Based Program

Phase 1 is designed to keep teen drivers safe. Its purpose is to teach teens motor vehicle safety in a hospital setting. The program is a team effort of the Trauma Program, rehabilitation staff and Emergency Department staff.

High school student club leaders (HOSA, DECA, FBLA, Criminal Justice) from Tennessee counties are chosen to participate in Phase 1. During a day-long intensive program, students experience:

  • A trauma presentation on risky driving behavior
  • “Injury” assignments from the rehabilitation team to manage throughout the day as if they had been in a motor vehicle crash
  • A mock trauma simulation in the Emergency Department
  • Hear from a Champions of Change speaker who has been personally affected by the consequences of distracted driving

An interactive environment is used to:

  • Increase awareness among teens of motor vehicle safety and the consequences of unsafe driving habits
  • Teach teens about the dangers of distracted driving, especially cell phone use and texting while driving.

Participating teens have given the program outstanding evaluations.

Phase 2: School-Based Program

Phase 2 is a teen motor vehicle safety program that encourages teenagers to translate the lessons they learned in Phase 1 into a year-long distracted driving campaign in their schools with a focus on cell phone use, especially texting while driving.

Groups of students from surrounding counties participate in the Phase 1 hospital-based interactive teen motor vehicle safety program, “Be in The Zone” (BITZ). These students are to develop and implement a multi-faceted, distracted driving campaign at their schools and in their communities. They are provided with a detailed instruction guide and other resources from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

The campaign is in the form of a competition consisting of of an overall Best Campaign, Best Public Service Announcement (PSA), and Best Social Media Campaign. Through the support of our funders, each competition involves cash prizes.

Research shows that programs targeting behavior change among teenagers are more likely to be successful if they have some component of self-management and if messages come from peers. All schools continue to do an outstanding job in getting school and community involved. We are proud of the leadership role they have taken and the support the schools have shown in spreading this important message.


Participating Schools: 2020- 2021

The following schools have chosen to be part of the Be In The Zone Campaign for the 2020- 2021 school year. These 8 schools in 8 different counties are helping to spread messages against distracted driving to their peers and community members. The Best Campaign winners for each division will be chosen in April 2021. Stay tuned!

  • Station Camp High School, Sumner County
  • Cookeville High School, Putnam County
  • Marshall County High School, Marshall County
  • East Hickman High School, Hickman County
  • Springfield High School, Robertson County
  • LEAD Academy, Davidson County
  • Brentwood High School, Williamson County
  • Holloway High School, Rutherford County

The BITZ campaign will allow students to find creative ways to reach their peers and the community. Not only will students have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on their community, but they will also be able to win their school cash prizes!

Best Campaign Competition:

Students will plan and implement a year-long, student-led campaign that reflects the program theme, Be In The Zone. A campaign consists of many activities, events, and the use of different media – all focused on a common theme. This will be an opportunity to showcase their creativity, planning, and leadership abilities and make an impact in their school and community. Each school’s campaign will be evaluated by a panel of adult and teen judges. The best campaign consists of the following components:

1)Ford’s Driving Skills For Life “The Academy” online module

2)Service Learning Project

3)Minimum of 2 additional activities

Best Public Service Announcement (PSA) Competition:

In this competition, students will produce a 60-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) geared towards the new Tennessee Hands Free Law that went into effect July 2019. Last year, TN passed the Hands-Free Law that bans the use of any handheld device.

Social Media Campaign:

You will create a social media marketing campaign to reach, engage, and educate your school and the community about the dangers of distracted driving and BITZ. Your campaign should encourage your community to engage with the Be In The Zone message.

Champion of Change Speakers

We are lucky to have a set of wonderful speakers who generously share their personal experience and message against distracted driving to the students and schools participating in this program.

If you or someone you know has a personal message relating to teens that details the consequences of distracted driving and would like more information about becoming a Champions of Change speaker, please contact our Trauma Injury Prevention Program at (615)-936-8742.

Derrick Smith

Derrick Smith is a long-time Middle Tennessee resident who details the tragedy and consequences experienced by himself and others that were brought on by his unwise decisions while driving. Using his firsthand knowledge to further awareness of teen driver safety is one of Derrick’s passions.

Pat and Doug Ralls

Pat and Doug have been passionate advocates for educating the public about the dangers of distracted driving since 2009, when their son Brian was tragically struck and killed by a cell phone distracted driver. Their message brings needed change to the way teens and parents think about distracted driving and the dangers it creates.



Allstate Foundation