Distracted Driver Program Targets Teens - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Distracted Driver Program Targets Teens

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by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. They weren't at school Monday, but they still got an assignment they probably won't forget.

A number of teenagers from Franklin High School and Cheatham County Central High School were at Monroe Carell Junior Children's Hospital for an intensive five-hour course called Be In The Zone.

All of these teenagers are perfectly healthy, but they have to act like they've been injured in a violent crash.

"It's just harder to move around. Everything's slower," said FHS student Rachel Caulkins who had to walk around on crutches because of a broken femur.

Marissa Stone – from Cheatham Co. Central High - had broken arm is in a sling and goggles coated in Vaseline to represent damaged vision.

"Oh, I can't see! At all!" Stone said.

They're from two of a handful of high schools across the state participating in the program. It's so intense they get to see exactly what doctors have to go through to save a child supposedly mowed down by a distracted driver.

"She said she wasn't paying attention when she heard a thud," Trauma Program Manager Amber Greeno told the students as doctors worked on a child manikin.

It's all to teach them taking your eyes off the road-- just for a moment-- can have near fatal consequences.

"How do you explain that to a parent that it was a mistake and that I was sending a silly message off when I hurt your child or killed your child?" said Purnima Unni with the Trauma Injury Prevention Program.

Students will take the lesson with them. They have to create a presentation and study at their own school and then present their findings to classmates and community groups.

They'll track who drives to and from school while distracted by a cell phone and then measure if their campaign is working.

"I hope they can just understand how much of a problem texting and driving is and they really start to change their habits," Caulkins said.

Unni hopes it will stop what's become an addiction, as more and more teens across Tennessee don't fully understand the danger of taking their eyes off the road.

Vanderbilt officials hope to expand the program to smaller hospitals to reach even more teens.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
Facebook: NC5_AdamGhassemi
Twitter: @NC5_AGhassemi

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