How a multimillion-dollar grant is helping save lives in Georgia

Distracted driving is one cause of fatal car crashes.
Distracted driving is one cause of fatal car crashes.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2021 at 5:46 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT)- The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has awarded more than $2 million, in total, to The Georgia Department of Public Health and Augusta University to improve motor vehicle safety.

The DPH stated in the release that there are several functions that this $2,066,100 grant will be used towards: technical assistance and resources to partner agencies statewide, developing community support for motor vehicle safety programs, supporting data linkages, and helping evaluate programs efforts.

Augusta University received $16,360 to aid in the Georgia Young Adult Program, however, this is not the first time that Augusta University has received this grant. Last year, $17,547.60 was awarded for the program.

The goal of this program is to encourage highway safety in young adults.

Allen Poole, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, acknowledges that one death on Georgia’s roads is one too many. “The loss of one life on our roads is one too many, and the fact almost all fatal traffic crashes can be prevented is one reason why we are awarding this grant.”

According to the release, the funding from GOHS acknowledges the success of programs in Georgia that are essential to protecting public health.

  • $1,257,375 to the Injury Prevention Program’s Child Occupant Safety Project (COSP) that promotes safe transportation of children throughout Georgia. COSP provides child safety seats and education for local caregivers through the car seat mini-grant program active in more than 130 counties, as well as training specific to healthcare professionals, law enforcement, emergency medical services, firefighters, and childcare providers.
  • $225,757 for support of the Georgia Emergency Medical Services Information System (GEMSIS) upgrades and linkages, as well as tools to measure the time to definitive care, especially for trauma patients. The GEMSIS database is the only statewide source for pre-hospital care information. The GEMSIS Upgrades grant will support the work being done to increase the completeness and accuracy of the patient care information.
  • $208,949 to the Injury Prevention Program’s Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES), a project that brings together multiple agencies to identify opportunities for Page 2 of 2 crash prevention by linking and analyzing crashes, vehicles, and behavioral characteristics to medical and financial data.
  • $201,493 to the Office of Health Indicators for Planning, which processes Death, Population, Hospital Discharge, and ER visit data. Data are made available to DPH on a departmental data warehouse and are published on OASIS, a web-based query system providing public access to Motor Vehicle Crash information on Deaths, Population, Hospital Discharges, and ER visits.
  • $172,526 to the Injury Prevention Program’s 55+ Driver Safety Program. This program educates drivers over the age of 55, their families, and professionals on safe driving, age-related mobility challenges, and the importance of mobility planning. The program develops comprehensive strategies to balance the needs of at-risk adult drivers with the safety of other road users and pedestrians.

Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., stated “This unique partnership between highway safety and public health helps promote a safer Georgia.” She also discusses how this contribution will make a positive effect on injury prevention, “This programmatic support has made a difference and continues to save lives and prevent injuries.”

“The target of zero traffic deaths in our nation is achievable, and we will continue to help develop and implement educational messages, enforcement campaigns, and other safety initiatives aimed at bringing us one step closer to our goal.”

Allen Poole

Augusta University is one of the many universities throughout the state that has partnered with this program to effectively educate students on this important issue. The University host DUI simulators, alcohol awareness events, and monthly programming to ensure the students make informed decisions about driving.

“Receiving this grant is so important because it allows us to increase programming to educate students on alcohol awareness and DUI prevention,” said Morgan Davis, Student Wellness Coordinator at Augusta University.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury, and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters from a health perspective.

For more information about DPH, visit

For more information on this grant, visit

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