On Nov. 2, Georgians will vote on Amendment 2 to lock-in the assurance of access to trauma care in every corner of our state. Voters must determine if it's worth adding less than three- cents- a- day to the cost of our vehicle tags to develop a statewide trauma care network accessible to all Georgians, no matter where they travel, work or live when their critical injury occurs. Voting for Amendment 2 will ensure this level of life saving trauma center coverage is no accident and is available for much less than many motorists pay now for a vanity tag.
Currently, Georgia has only 16 trauma centers located around the state. That may sound like a lot but only four of these are designated as Level 1 Trauma Centers, designed to handle the very worst of life- threatening injuries. Living in the largest state east of the Mississippi River, this means Georgia victims of serious injuries are 20-percent more likely to die than the national average for similar injuries.
Why? Because trauma care centers can't save the lives of people who don't get to them in time. Physicians know there's a critical window of just 60-minutes after a serious injury for adults to get life-saving care. They call it "the Golden Hour." And for children, that window lasts only 30 minutes. Sadly, under the current system, time under "the Golden Hour" has run out far too often to give the chance of life for many of our family, friends, and neighbors who have experienced trauma first hand.
Amendment 2 would connect Georgia's lifesaving trauma care funding to vehicle tag fees because that's where more than half of Georgia's trauma injuries occur: drivers and passengers involved in vehicle crashes. The rest come from accidents in the work place, and farm and home injuries.
So the Amendment 2 question really comes down to this: Do I want to pay a little for trauma care now or a whole lot later? Given the importance of statewide emergency care response to us all, no one should learn the answer by accident.
Bob Dallas, Director
Office of Highway Safety