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TDOT Urges Tennessee Teens to “Get in the Zone”

Sunday, April 08, 2007 | 07:00pm

Nashville, Tenn – The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is excited to officially launch a new campaign aimed at educating teen drivers about the dangers of driving in work zones. “Get in the Zone” is geared toward high school students who are just learning to drive.

“The number of teenagers involved in work zone crashes is alarming. Teenagers are more likely to be involved in a work zone crash than any other age group,” said Governor Bredesen. “TDOT’s Get in the Zone program is an excellent way to teach teens valuable lessons that could save their lives and the lives of the men and women working in these areas.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. In 2004, approximately 245 16 and 17 year old drivers were involved in work zone crashes in Tennessee.

“Work zones are considered one of the most hazardous places for workers, but they can be even more dangerous for drivers – particularly young, inexperienced ones,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Our Get in the Zone program sends a powerful message about just how dangerous work zones can be and teaches teen drivers the signs they need to know to identify a work zone and tips to help them drive safely through these areas.”

Get in the Zone is a high-tech, interactive presentation provided to Tennessee high schools at no cost. The goal of Get in the Zone is to reduce the chances of young drivers being involved in dangerous work zone accidents. The program has already been viewed by more than a thousand students across the state.

“Youth highway safety is an important target area for reducing the number of lives lost on our nation’s highways,” added Department of Safety Commissioner David Mitchell. “I’m pleased we could partner with TDOT on this important program.”

The Get in the Zone program includes:

  • One day, approximately 90 minutes, of in-school training by TDOT/partner instructors, class/assembly style, including:
    • Role/playing remote control “driving course” for demonstration
    • A dramatic and emotional eight-minute safety video produced specific to Tennessee with teens in mind and available to the school for further use
    • A moving story about a family living with the loss of their teenage son who died while driving in a TN work zone
    • Participation prize for students
  • Teacher curriculum guide for follow-up use in classroom
  • Realistic Work Zone driving CD Rom “game” with lessons provided to teachers for classroom use
  • Web page with key links, downloadable information for teachers, parents and teens

“When it comes to driving in work zones, there’s no such thing as beginner’s luck,” said Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “This program is designed to engage students while providing them with the tools they need to travel safely through work zones. Through efforts like this, we can make our roadways safer for everyone.”
TDOT is proud to offer this program with the support of several agencies, including the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, the 3M Traffic Safety Systems Division, the Tennessee Road Builders Association, Lamar Advertising and the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference.

“The Tennessee District Attorneys General are delighted that new and innovative efforts to protect workers and the driving public in construction zones are underway,” added Wally Kirby, Executive Director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference. “Every life saved and injury prevented helps our state thrive.”

For more information on Get in the Zone, visit

Fact Sheet
April 2, 2007


  • During the period of 2002 to 2006, there were 118 men, women, and children killed in work zones on Tennessee roads and highways. In 2006, there were 5,639 crashes in work zones in the volunteer state.
  • Every three days a teenager is killed and seven teens are injured in work zone crashes in the U.S., according to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.
  • In 2004, approximately 245 16 and 17 year old drivers were involved in work zone crashes in Tennessee, one of which was fatal. That number is down slightly from 2003 when the Department of Safety recorded more than 350 traffic crashes involving 16 and 17 year olds in Tennessee work zones, two of which were fatal crashes.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. In 2005, of the 1,270 traffic fatalities in Tennessee, 55 were 16 or 17 years olds (16 yr old = 21 fatalities, 17 yr old = 34 fatalities).


  • Approximate 90 minute interactive presentation; lead by TDOT instructors and THP partners; individual class or assembly style.
  • Distribution kits are available to schools that are unable to schedule a presentation, but would like to use Get in the Zone materials in the classroom.
  • More than 1,000 Tennessee high school students have participated in presentations lead by TDOT and over 1,000 Tennessee high schools have been provided with Get in the Zone materials for classroom use.
  • or contact: Christin Hayes, 615-741-7929


  • Slow down! Drive within the posted speed limits, which are usually reduced in work zones.
  • Eliminate distractions! Put down the cell phone; leave the radio dial alone.
  • Merge early! You can be ticketed and the cause of an accident for being a last chance merger.
  • Watch for flaggers!
  • Expect the unexpected! Work zones change constantly.
Get In The Zone Assemblies
School Name County Region Date Time Approx. Attendance
St. Agnes Shelby 4 12/7/2006 11:15-1:30 160
Goodpasture High School Davidson 3 11/28/2006 10:00-12:00 270
Hume-Fogg Davidson 3 12/5/2006 and 12/6/2006
(both days)
7:45-11:30 115
Powell High School Knox 1 2/13/2007 8:30-9:50;
Macon County High School Macon 3 3/20/2007 8:00 - 2:55
(6 classes)
Greenbrier High School Robertson 3 4/27/2007 9:45-11:15 200
Springfield High School Robertson 3 5/4/2007 8:15-10;
Sycamore High School Cheatham 3 4/3/2007 8:00; 9:30 400
Knox County Adult High School Knox 1 4/3/2007 9:40 and 12:30 140
Oakmont School Knox 1 5/8/2007 1:00-2:30 20
Christian Brothers High School Shelby 4 4/3/2007 10:05-10:55 400

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