Spurred by the current Miss Atlantic County, AtlantiCare, which has facilities in six counties, plans to install signs warning people not to text and drive at several of its campuses, spokeswoman Jennifer Tornetta said.

The first of the signs was installed Thursday at the main entrance to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City.

Miss Atlantic County Lindsey Giannini, of Hammonton, approached AtlantiCare about the signage. She and Mike Kellenyi, of Washington Township, formed Nikki’s Foundation, People Against Distracted Driving, a nonprofit group in memory of Nikki Kellenyi, Mike Kellenyi’s 18-year-old daughter. She died as a result of an accident involving a distracted driver.

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Giannini, whose cause is also her platform in the Miss New Jersey Pageant next week in Ocean City, designed the signs, which read, “Stay Alive, don’t text & drive,” and Kellenyi helped her get them made.

Giannini began her “Stay Alive…Don’t Text and Drive” campaign in 2011 and designed the first of the signs just four months prior to Nikki Kellenyi’s April 15, 2012 death. Giannini regularly speaks at the Trauma Center’s Prevention in 3D education program for high school students, which is aimed at preventing death and injury from drinking, driving and drugs.

“It has been truly rewarding to speak to countless young adults at seminars presented by AtlantiCare”, Giannini said of her participation with the 3D program. “It’s our collective goal to make all drivers aware that distracted driving can lead to deadly consequences.”

Dr. Kelly Willman, a trauma critical care surgeon at the hospital, said the signs are a part of an ongoing effort to remind people of the dangers of distracted driving.

“It’s something that a lot of young people overlook,” she said. “They don’t consider this a dangerous type of activity.”

Willman said she regularly sees injuries that result from distracted driving.

“In the time spent looking at a text, half a mile can go by,” she said. “It really only takes a second for something catastrophic to happen.”

The AtlantiCare Foundation sponsored printing of signs to be installed at various AtlantiCare sites.

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:

609-463-6716

TGilfillian@pressofac.com

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