More numbers of trauma care hospitals in Georgia could mean up to 700 lives saved every year in automobile accidents. However, the state has a severe shortage of trauma centers – just 15 centers in all, many of which are located in urban centers.Now, a new bill that would levy an additional $200 fine on speeding drivers on Georgia’s highways is being introduced as a means of funding expansion of the state’s trauma care system.
As Georgia personal injury attorneys, we regularly see the impact of delayed emergency trauma care on the injured. Motorists in rural areas of Georgia, where over a million people are more than 75 miles from the nearest trauma care center, have a higher rate of succumbing to serious injuries sustained in a car crash, a bullet injury or a serious fall, because of their lack of access to trauma care. The discrepancy in urban-rural "golden hour" care access – the life saving care that can save a person’s life, if received within the first hour of being injured – is clear to see in the numbers.Motorists involved in an accident in urban cities like Atlanta, have a death rate that’s one in every 339 accidents.In rural centers, the fatality rate is a whopping one in every 74 accidents.In most of these cases, lives can be saved if the patient has timely access to emergency trauma care, but precious time is lost transporting injured victims to the nearest trauma center.
The state’s chronically under-equipped trauma care system has been a source of concern for a while now, and the legislature has made attempts to correct the situation.These have been inadequate, however. Funding has been the primary source of concern and with no end in sight to Georgia’s fiscal crisis, generating funds for trauma care center expansion has become a problem.
Now, there’s hope in sight. Last week, the House voted 113-53 to levy a fine of $200 on "super speeders" who drive extra fast on the state’s highways.Drivers exceeding 85 mph on four-lane highways or 75 mph on two-lane roads could find themselves having to cough up the fee which will be additional to any other fines they may have imposed on them. .The bill would also impose an additional fee of $400 on some motorists who apply for renewal of their driver’s license. These fees will be used to expand Georgia’s trauma care system, allowing more people to access the life-saving care they need in the event of an accident.
The bill attempts to make "super speeders" who are often the ones guilty of causing serious accidents, responsible for funding the expansion of trauma care centers, and it has our total support. Finding other funding sources during a recession is going to be next to impossible, and tougher measures are necessary to raise funds, so that more Georgians can be brought under trauma care cover.