Gov.’s commission honors Distracted Driving Campaign


(From Left to Right) Lt. Gary Megge, Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, CEO Barbara Rossmann, David Zimmerman, Garrett Marcum, Executive Director Jim Santilli, Milly Barnhart, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson; Laurel Zimmerman, CEO Kolby Miller, Chief Robert Phillips, Captain Monica Yesh, Deputy Chief Michael Phy, Commander Joseph Deer, Spokesman Bob Felt.
EAST LANSING, Michigan — The “Remembering Ally: Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign” was honored at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission (GTSAC) annual awards luncheon on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 for disseminating information about the dangers of distracted driving.

The awards luncheon was part of the 18th Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit, which was held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.  Hundreds of traffic safety professionals were in attendance from around the state of Michigan, and eight Outstanding Traffic Safety Achievement awards and three long-term awards were presented.

“Through a partnership with many public safety agencies and businesses that have a passion for saving lives, an award-winning campaign was developed that continues to garner international attention,” said Jim Santilli, executive director of the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan (TIA).  “Research has proven that traffic crashes can be prevented through effective public education campaigns, such as the one we created right here in Michigan.”

The “Remembering Ally: Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign” includes a television public service announcement, video depicting a dramatization of a distracted driving crash, multimedia presentation, and materials available to schools and law enforcement agencies across the country.  The campaign was created by TIA in honor of Ally Zimmerman, a 16-year-old Romeo High School student and Oakland County resident, who was hit by a distracted driver on December 28, 2010.  She later died from her injuries.

It is estimated more than 100,000 people have been impacted by the campaign’s message.  The crash video, which was filmed in Clinton Township during December of 2011, has been viewed in more than 90 countries.  The video previously received an award for production excellence.

The agencies that participated in creating the crash video include: Clinton Township Department of Fire, Rescue and EMS; Clinton Township Police Department; Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals; Macomb County Sheriff’s Office; Macomb Township Fire Department; Medstar Ambulance; Michigan Department of Transportation; Michigan State Police; Ruehle’s Towing; Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan; and, U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit.

“The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office was honored to participate in the development of the Remembering Ally: Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign,” said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.  “The Sheriff’s Office remains dedicated to working with other agencies to reduce traffic crashes and prevent tragedies from occurring.”

Attending the luncheon for the award was: Santilli; Wickersham; Commander Joseph Deer, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit; Bob Felt, spokesman of the Michigan Department of Transportation; Lieutenant Gary Megge of the Michigan State Police Traffic Services Section; Kolby Miller, chief executive officer of Medstar Ambulance; Chief Robert Phillips of the Macomb Township Fire Department; Deputy Chief Michael Phy of the Clinton Township Department of Fire, Rescue and EMS; Barbara Rossmann, president and chief executive officer of Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals; Captain Monica Yesh, district commander of the Michigan State Police; Milly Barnhart, Ally’s grandmother; David and Laurel Zimmerman, Ally’s parents; and, Garrett Marcum, Ally’s brother.

“Inspired by the love of a grieving family, this campaign sends a compelling message to drivers and passengers young and old,” said Rossmann.  “Our hospitals are too frequently dealing with the trauma associated with traffic injuries.  Working with other agencies, our goal is to help prevent these tragedies through education.”

Financial sponsors of the campaign included: Botsford Hospital Trauma Services, Carrier & Gable, Inc., Chrysler Group, LLC., DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, RDJ Specialties, Inc., Takata Corporation, and various individual donors.

“Kudos to the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan, and the many other agencies, for their efforts to educate teen drivers about the dangers of distracted driving,” said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.  “The campaign effectively reaches teens and saves lives.  I congratulate everyone on this honor.”

The GTSAC was formed in 2002 to serve as the state’s forum for identifying key traffic safety challenges and developing and implementing plans to address those issues. The GTSAC is comprised of representatives from the departments of: Community Health, Education, State, State Police, and Transportation, as well as Office of the Governor, Office of Services to the Aging, and Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.  There are also three representatives from local government appointed by the Governor.