Next Generation Sports Safety -- Air Bags for Skiers

November 19, 2014, by

downhill-skier_6188.jpgThe most recent advance in downhill skiing may not be skis, not boots, not aerodynamic clothing ... it is airbags. These new airbags for skiers are intended to protect skiers from catastrophic injuries after losing control on a run. Many well-known skiers have suffered severe injuries in recent years and some have had to drop out of racing or jumping at Olympic Games due to their injuries. An airbag system for skiers will be permitted for use at the World Cup and other major races. This is not something that skiers are required to use, but officials have been working on the system with manufacturers and are hoping skiers will give the airbags a try.

The possibility for serious injury is a risk that skiers are simply willing to take. But a rash of accidents, that included high-profile skiers, which included severe limb and brain injuries was the motivator for this new device. The airbag system which can be worn as part of the skier's racing gear, is intended to inflate when it senses that the athlete is out of control. Although the device has been tested to ensure that it doesn't slow the racer down or interfere in their performance, it remains to be seen whether racers will adopt the device. One of the more difficult aspects of the development of the device has been ensuring that it deploys at precisely the right moment. Some truly horrific injuries have been suffered by skiers over the past several years. It is hoped that this device will help avoid further injury to life and limb.

Continue reading "Next Generation Sports Safety -- Air Bags for Skiers " »

The Stunning List of GM Recalls

October 28, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock_000017099921XSmall.jpgAtlanta's local and global CNN has just published the entire list of every vehicle that General Motors has recalled during 2014. The list is stunning and worth a look to ensure that your vehicle is not on it. If you own a vehicle that is on this list, you could well avoid serious injury or even death, as some vehicles on this list have significant defects that have done just that. Those owners who sit back and think it won't happen to them, it won't be their car or truck that ends up having one of these recalled defects, are taking a significant risk. This is something that cannot be stressed enough. Don't let that recall notice sit in your mail pile, make an appointment and get your car in for service.

The GM recalls are unprecedented in their breadth and depth. In general, CNN Money reports that one in every five US vehicles has been recalled this year. There are one million vehicles currently on the road that have uncorrected defects. This includes GM and non-GM vehicles, but it is also a stunning number. What happened to the quality control at GM could happen at any company. It was a combination of faulty parts, a culture of silence and a lack of executive responsibility. The GM recalls have cost the company $2.5 billion and there was no profit this past quarter. The CEO Mary Barra has stated that it may well be a no-bonus year for GM workers.

Continue reading "The Stunning List of GM Recalls" »

Fatal Crash After Driver Tries to Evade Law Enforcement

October 25, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for emergencyvehicle.jpegIn recent years we have seen an increase in dangerous situations arising from those evading law enforcement on our roads and highways. Just last week in California, a California Highway Patrol officer on a motorcycle was unable to stop or to cite a group of riders also on motorcycles who were taunting him. Although these riders engaged in numerous violations, the officer had to let them ride off, since he had to wait for back up and the riders failed to respond to his siren and signal to pull over. Once back-up arrived he and his colleague tried to follow the riders, but this chase became too dangerous once it was off the highway and on city streets. Although in this situation there was no one injured, it could have become very dangerous. It seems that increasingly there is a failure on the part of some to do things we used to take for granted, such as pulling over for an emergency vehicle or for law enforcement. And as this disrespectful, and often illegal, way of responding to the instructions of our law enforcement and first responders rises, so does the impact on innocent bystanders.

Case in point, the price that one teen may pay for having attempted to evade Georgia State Patrol officers as they pursued him in a stolen vehicle. His alleged failure to stop now means that he will be charged as an adult in Fulton County not just for stealing a vehicle, but for murder. As he attempted to get away from law enforcement, he is alleged to have run a red light and in turn crashed into another vehicle that was traveling through the same intersection, killing a passenger. Yet another vehicle was hit during this pursuit and others were injured. Reports indicated that five individuals were taken to the hospital after this hot chase. This teen has many charges to deal with now, including DUI, unlicensed driving, serious injury by vehicle and many more.

Continue reading "Fatal Crash After Driver Tries to Evade Law Enforcement " »

Atlanta Pedestrians: Use Caution When Walking

October 9, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for iStock_000016030629XSmall.jpgOver the past several years we have posted readers about the dangers that face us all when we cross a street in America. Recently, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sought information on pedestrian statistics for Georgia from our Department of Transportation. In its report we learned that in 2013, more deaths occurred on Georgia roads than in nearly two decades, despite a decline in pedestrian crashes. So, in other words, when vehicles and pedestrians collide, these crashes are proving more dangerous.

Not surprisingly, the Atlanta area was found to be the most dangerous for those on foot and a national study has placed Atlanta as the eighth most dangerous metro region for walkers. It used to be that taking a stroll was a relaxing and enjoyable way to get around. But these days, we must be extremely cautious when entering a roadway on foot. Those who are disabled in some way, are unable to walk on foot, or whose mobility depends on a motorized or hand-powered chair or have challenges with vision may be even more vulnerable.

Continue reading "Atlanta Pedestrians: Use Caution When Walking" »

Atlanta MARTA Bus & Pedestrian Tragedy

September 29, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock_000016030629XSmall.jpgEarlier this week a 19 year-old teen was hit by an Atlanta MARTA bus. She did not survive the injuries and passed away several days later at Grady Hospital. This accident has had a tragic end and our hearts and sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased teen. This truly is a terribly sad time for them. Although the bus driver is unlikely to be charged in this tragedy, due to the early investigative report that the young woman was not crossing legally when the accident occurred, there are potential legal ramifications. Even if the driver is not charged criminally, this does not necessarily indicate the end of the legal options and the victim's family could well file a civil suit against MARTA and others after further investigation. For example, under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-93 a driver must exercise due care not to strike a pedestrian regardless of the circumstances. This provision requires that if a driver observes a child or a confused or otherwise incapacitated pedestrian he or she must try to avoid colliding with that pedestrian. More investigation is needed to determine whether the bus driver violated this provision.

MARTA has issued a statement expressing sympathy to the family of this young woman. Since the accident just occurred, it might take some time for the public to understand just what happened in this tragic incident. Although in many instances, pedestrians have the right of way, that is not always the case. We have seen in recent years that more and more pedestrians are being struck by vehicles that are either traveling too fast or in which the driver is distracted. But there are some instances in which a pedestrian can be viewed by the law as having some responsibility for his or her injuries. Although the driver of a vehicle is responsible for exercising due care when in the presence of a pedestrian, there are limited situations in which the driver may not be held fully responsible for the injuries of a pedestrian.

Continue reading "Atlanta MARTA Bus & Pedestrian Tragedy " »

Tractor Trailer's Flying Wheels Prove Deadly

September 18, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Truck7.jpgA tractor trailer crash shut down eastbound Georgia I-20 recently as the vehicle ended up on its side over several lanes of traffic. Details on the cause of the crash are not yet available, but the metro Atlanta area is unfortunately all too familiar with similar truck crashes. When large trucks crash, they can cause major issues for the traffic around them, whether or not other vehicles are involved. For example, in a recent truck accident in the east, two people lost their lives when the wheels of an oncoming truck flew off and hit their oncoming vehicle. Another similar crash killed a motorcyclist in Iowa last month when a truck wheel came loose.

There are many other circumstances in which debris falling off or flying off a truck can cause injury or death, including when cargo falls off or out of the vehicle. Flying truck debris can indeed cause serious injury or death on our roadways and only a few years ago, a child was killed when a truck's transmission parts flew off. Under federal regulations, commercial truck drivers are required to perform inspections on their trucks, but parts or debris-related accidents can happen and are especially dangerous at high rates of speed with heavy vehicles. Despite this, officials say that a flying truck wheel is actually not a common occurrence and this specific hazard is not tracked by federal agencies that collect crash statistics. We do know one general piece of information about these hazards. Although accidents involving tractor trailer wheels flying off are actually a very low percentage of overall truck crashes, they can prove quite dangerous.

Continue reading "Tractor Trailer's Flying Wheels Prove Deadly" »

Fatal Gwinnett County Crash Could Lead to Charges

September 17, 2014, by

DUI Picture 1.jpgA recent Gwinnett County car crash may well have been the result of excessive speed and alcohol use. This often-deadly combination is part of the investigation currently under way after a tragedy occurred in Buford. The crash occurred in the early morning hours, which is statistically a more dangerous time to mix driving, drinking and speed. The first reports of the crash are that two men were fatally injured as they traveled together. As their vehicle approached an intersection, the man who was driving did not stop at a stop sign at the intersection of the Buford Highway. Unfortunately and tragically, a second vehicle was driving on the Buford Highway approaching that same intersection at the same time. The second vehicle was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the car in which the men were traveling. Although the facts are not clear yet, it is possible that the second vehicle was driving faster than the speed limit and there may have been alcohol involved. The two adults and two children in that vehicle sustained injuries that were reportedly not life threatening. The two men lost their lives.

It is not reported whether the driver of the vehicle that hit the men's car will be charged with any crimes. There are currently no facts that would indicate the specific charges that might flow from this tragic crash. Possibly excessive speed could be charged, as well as Georgia's homicide by vehicle laws in some degree might be under consideration by authorities. It is not clear whether the suspected alcohol involved the fatally injured driver or the driver who hit the vehicle in which the two men travelled.

Continue reading "Fatal Gwinnett County Crash Could Lead to Charges" »

When Trespass is Dangerous

September 3, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for candles .jpgA railroad crash that took place last winter has now become the subject of a law suit in Chatham County State Court. The case involves a terrible accident that occurred during the filming of a biography about famed musician Gregg Allman and starring William Hurt. One of the scenes for the film involved a somewhat surreal image of a hospital bed on railroad tracks. The film's producers chose a location for the scene to be filmed on and around railroad tracks owned by CSX Transportation. The production requested permission to film on and around the tracks. The transportation company apparently denied these requests twice and in writing, supporting the denials with specific concerns about the need to keep the tracks secure and safe. The production had permission to shoot on nearby property owned by a lumber products manufacturer.

However, for reasons that are not clear, the production decided to film on and very near the tracks. Various unidentified people were apparently sighted around the tracks by two CSX train operators on the day of the horrific accident. In one report it is claimed that the producers knew they did not have permission to shoot on the tracks, but let the filming go forward perhaps allowing the crew to believe permission had been given. As the filming was occurring, a CSX train traveled directly into the path of the filmmaking, hitting the objects that were on the tracks and killing a young woman involved with the production. She was fatally injured by flying debris.

Continue reading "When Trespass is Dangerous " »

FedEx Truck in Serious I-20 Crash

August 20, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Truck7.jpgLast week a very serious truck crash took place in the early hours on Wednesday. The Federal Express truck was headed west on I-20 in Carroll County when it is thought that it rear-ended a retired old school bus. The initial comments made by the Georgia State Patrol indicated that the bus had been traveling in the far right lane when it was hit. The bus may have been traveling slowly in its lane. Unfortunately, the impact occurred with sufficient force to overturn both the truck and the bus and, as a result, both drivers were injured.

The crash closed the westbound lanes for about three hours. The vehicles also ended up catching fire. Other drivers, including a UPS driver, saved the FedEx driver as his vehicle burned and he was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital. The other driver also needed medical intervention and was taken to a local medical center. The accident is still under investigation.

Continue reading "FedEx Truck in Serious I-20 Crash" »

Daycare License Revocation After Toddler's Death

August 13, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 1175023_magnolia.jpgThe tragic death of a three-year old in Alpharetta last month has resulted in license revocation of the day care facility in which he was killed and the filing of a civil law suit by the child's parents. The owner of the facility has been in business for 25 years. Her home serves as a day care center and is licensed by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. The agency investigated the event that ended in the child's death and based on that, noted that there were significant violations including dangerous conditions on the property. The allegation with regard to the child's death is that part of a twine type cord was on the play yard swing and the child apparently was caught in that rope and essentially was asphyxiated. The child was left on his own for a short period of time when the tragedy occurred. Although the care giver contacted emergency support and applied CPR, the child ultimately passed away at a local hospital.

The owner of the center has appealed the license revocation. She will have an opportunity to present her case once the Office of State Administrative Hearings sets a date for her to tell her story and why she should be able to stay in business.

Sadly, this horrific death is not the first of its kind in the recent past. A child in England died in similar manner in 2012. She was caught in a rope that had been at the top of the slide. She as alone for 20 minutes and had passed away by the time she was found. It was her first day of nursery school. That center was also criticized for an alleged failure to follow safety rules. Both the facility and the care giver responsible for the child were taken to court. The nursery school was supposed to put ropes away when children were not playing with them and no child was to be on a slide alone. In that little child's case, the physician stated that she might have been saved had she been found sooner.

Continue reading "Daycare License Revocation After Toddler's Death" »

Cobb County Judge Allows Family to Reopen GM Lawsuit

August 10, 2014, by

iStock_000001983354XSmall.jpgA Cobb County judge is making national headlines by permitting the family of a deceased woman to reopen their case against General Motors. As noted in prior posts, the parents of Brooke Melton, who died after her GM Chevrolet ignition switch failed, sought to unwind the settlement previously reached with the auto giant. The deceased woman's case is very significant in that it helped reveal the faulty ignition defect which led to the largest automotive recall in the country's history. The judge has now determined that the Melton family can begin discovery related to potential fraud by the company is covering up what they might have known about the defect and present material evidence that has come to light since the settlement was reached.

In the latest hearing, GM tried to convince the court that the settlement it had reached with the family should stand and that the case should not be permitted to be reopened. The lawyer for the automaker argued that if the Melton's settlement could be reopened, there would be no finality in the process and parties would not be able to rely on settlements reached as being final. But the court disagreed and is allowing the family to reopen the case in what is essentially a new case, that will include the information that has come to light since the case was settled. The Melton family is now able to go forward to pursue in discovery what GM knew about the ignition switch defects prior to their daughter's death.

Continue reading "Cobb County Judge Allows Family to Reopen GM Lawsuit " »

Cobb County Parents Bring Case Against GM Home

July 24, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock_000001983354XSmall.jpgWe have recently posted on the many recalls that General Motors has issued on their vehicles that has taken center stage for the auto maker and its reputation. Most Americans do not have a personal connection with the recalls, but some families have suffered tragic losses due to defects that GM is alleged to have known about and covered up. GM says it intends to ensure that its corporate culture changes. The sheer number of recalls and defective parts is staggering. But apparently the American public believes in their future and is still buying their vehicles.

The recalls and the deaths that resulted from a defective ignition switch has literally come home to the Atlanta area. The parents of a deceased woman whose life was allegedly lost due to the defective ignition switch is front and center local news. The Cobb County parents have returned to the state court and their case is now before a Cobb County state court judge. Its pathway home is an interesting procedural journey that includes their recent win in federal court. A Georgia federal district judge remanded their case back to Cobb County. His ruling rejected the argument made by GM that the couple had joined a local GM dealer solely for the purpose of getting state court jurisdiction over the case and seeking to avoid federal jurisdiction. Although the couple received $5 million in a settlement with GM, they are alleging that since the settlement was reached much more information has been revealed. This information reveals more about the company's knowledge of the ignition switch defect, and other defects. More information has also come to light about GM's attempts to cover up what allegedly they knew was a dangerous defect in the ignition switch that the couple believes caused their daughter's death.

Continue reading "Cobb County Parents Bring Case Against GM Home " »

Cobb County Wrong Way DUI Injures Two

July 23, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DrunkDriver3.jpgFor decades, we have known that excessive alcohol and driving are not a good combination. After many years of involvement in Georgia Mother's Against Drunk Driving, I am all too aware that the consequences of drinking and driving are not only inherently dangerous, but unpredictable. Those who have been convicted of crimes related to DUI and are serving sentences in prison for injuring or killing others on the road, will likely tell you that if they had to do it over again they would have found another way to get home from that party, from that bar from that gathering with friends where they had "a little too much." Those who have been convicted and who present their stories to audiences, such as high school students, note that the first thing to go is judgment.

That result was recently evidenced in Cobb County when a teen driver attended a party and ended up driving on the wrong side of the road, causing serious injury to two people. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the teen hit another vehicle head on while driving in the opposite lane of traffic. The teen is lucky in one sense. Those injured in the other vehicle will survive their injuries, although medical intervention was required due to broken bones and other injuries. The young driver herself needed some medical treatment. The allegedly drunk driver has now been charged with felonies, including two counts of serious injury by vehicle and related crimes. This crime is codified at the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-394.

Continue reading "Cobb County Wrong Way DUI Injures Two " »

Medical Emergency Cause of Fatal Truck Crash?

July 7, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 1175023_magnolia.jpgRecently, a Hall County collision between an SUV and a tractor trailer resulted in the deaths of three children and two adults. An absolutely tragic situation, this collision may have been caused by the sudden seizure of the SUV's driver. After this terrible tragedy occurred, the fiancé of the SUV's driver was interviewed and he told WSBTV that she should not have been driving and that the crash may have been caused by an epileptic seizure. It is possible that this horrific accident may well have been the result of a medically impaired driver who entered into oncoming traffic and directly into a tractor-trailer. It is devastating to the families involved, including the truck driver who was not at fault in this particular crash. Two of the driver's children were in the vehicle at the time of the crash and did not survive. One child decided to stay at home and play and another lives elsewhere. The other deceased passengers were very close family friends. The toxicology reports will come later, and whether the five deceased vehicle occupants were wearing seat belts is not known.

Some will remember that just last year, a truck driver suffered a medical emergency and crashed into a Gwinnett County strip mall. The driver passed away after crashing into two businesses. In that situation, the driver had just been at the doctor's office having a post-operative examination after eye surgery. He had been cleared by his doctors to return to work. Amazingly, no one in the businesses was harmed, including kids in a karate studio. In that accident, the driver also jumped the median.

Continue reading "Medical Emergency Cause of Fatal Truck Crash? " »

Summer Water Fun, Still Dangerous

June 26, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for swimming-pool-100155245.jpgThe recent report of a young, strong man losing his life in a swimming accident is another example of the dangers that summer swimming can bring. Reports indicate that the 20 year-old was taking a swim across a local pond in Brunswick, Georgia and was unable to make it across. When he called out for help from a friend who was with him, she was not able to get to her friend. She nearly drowned trying to help him. The young man's community and family are devastated as he was a be loved son, a brother and friend to many. This most recent pond tragedy occurred around the same time as several other Georgia drowning tragedies in our lakes and rivers. Only a couple of weeks ago, three drownings occurred at Lake Lanier. This terrible day on the lake included the death of a father who tried to save his son from drowning. They had been tossing a ball that went into the water and when the teen son went into the water to retrieve the ball, both ended up struggling for their lives as the dad tried to save his son. Neither was able to survive this struggle.

When these drowning accidents occur, we think again about water safety. Each situation is different and even when children, teens and adults know how to swim, it can be difficult in situations that involve natural water, currents and other objects. But as we know from recent local tragedies, including a child who fell into a club pool, these accidents can occur quickly and without warning. For example, there are about 400 teen and child drownings per year in the United States that involve pools and spas. The majority of these drownings take place at private homes and take the lives of kids under the age of five.

Continue reading "Summer Water Fun, Still Dangerous" »