The Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) executive director and CEO, Donald J. Palmisano Jr., raised more than $21,000 for a new ‘Make Georgia Hands-Free’ campaign to reduce distracted driving when he completed the 100-mile ‘Javelina Jundred’ trail run in Arizona in October.
“I want to express my sincere thanks to the more than 70 individuals and organizations who supported me in this effort,” says Palmisano. “We surpassed our fundraising goal by more than $6,000, and 100 percent of the funds that we raised will be used to educate the public on the dangers associated with distracted driving.”
Jack M. Chapman Jr., M.D., the president of the MAG Foundation’s Board of Trustees, thanked and applauded Palmisano and his sponsors, emphasizing that, “This fundraiser will provide some significant and much-needed resources to get the campaign up and running.”
The MAG Foundation, the Medical Association of Atlanta (MAA), and the MAG Alliance will officially launch the ‘Make Georgia Hands-Free’ campaign with a free town hall forum that they will host at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Auditorium at Emory University in Atlanta from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, December 2. The event will feature Joel Feldman – a nationally-recognized driving safety advocate who is with the ‘End Distracted Driving Campaign’ – and Rep. John Carson, who is the chair of the Georgia House Study Committee on Distracted Driving. The event is open to the public, and no registration is required. Free parking is available in the WHSCAB parking lot and the Peavine parking deck.
“The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that distracted driving is responsible for about 16 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S., which translates into some 5,000 deaths per year,” says Ali Rahimi, M.D., an MAA member who serves on the MAG Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Distracted driving has evolved into a very real and dangerous patient safety threat.”
He explains that, “The town hall’s primary purpose was to begin to raise awareness, as it is imperative to change our social mindset and place the same kind of emphasis on distracted driving that we do on drinking and driving because it can result in the same devastating injuries and loss of life.”
And MAG Alliance President Dave Street stresses that, “The exponential increase in the use of smart phones and other mobile devices in recent years has created an environment whereby drivers are often engaged in tasks that draw their attention away from operating their motor vehicle, resulting in an increase in accidents. The MAG Alliance believes that a combination of awareness and legislation is needed to educate and instruct the public on the proper and legal use of smart phones while driving.”
Go to www.mag.org/makegahandsfree for additional information or to support the ‘Make Georgia Hands-Free’ campaign with a tax-deductible donation.
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