With good weather and summer fun, come some added dangers of personal and catastrophic injury. And as a Georgia personal injury lawyer experienced with helping victims of serious injuries and their families pick up the pieces after suffering injury, I see first hand the dangers of summer fun. I do not wish to step on anyone’s summer fun, but I am compelled to warn parents of some specific dangers noted earlier this week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The age of social media and access to sites like YouTube has made communication more interesting and information more available. But along with this, teens are doing more and more dangerous activities to get the attention of their peers filming dangerous or daring acts to post for others to see.
Parents must pay attention to this potential and warn their children of these dangers. They are real and potentially life-changing and they are happening right here in the Atlanta metro area and surrounding counties.
As noted in the piece in the AJC, the dangers include the allure of tall bridges with shallow waters under them. Some bridges are lower, but the water is not deep enough to support the jump from above. Gainesville police told the AJC that divers do not consider what they are jumping into … but they do it anyway. And of course, adding to this danger is the use of alcohol, which impairs judgment.
Social media is a part of the problem, say local police. As noted in the AJC article, “[w]ith school out and the summertime heat, bridge jumpers are out in full force around Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona, both a quick drive from Atlanta.” Law enforcement near these popular lakes is all too aware of the dangers of jumping from bridges.
The potential for debris that is unseen catching a diver and keeping them from surfacing is one real problem. Another is the fact that jumpers often misjudge the distance to shore and have difficulty swimming the distances back to safety. And the police caution that another very real danger is the height of the bridge and distance to the water which can be a very hard blow to the diver’s body.
Only last February, “a Buford woman was seriously injured when she was forced to jump 40 feet into Lake Lanier to avoid being struck by an oncoming tractor-trailer.” She was seriously injured.
Another danger is that drivers can become distracted by jumpers and end up in an accident themselves. In addition, some train trestles are too narrow for pedestrians and if you are walking on a trestle, you might be forced to jump to avoid being hit by a train. The Forsyth County Fire Department was quoted as stating that the public cost of rescue is a factor that most do not consider.
The police in Cobb, Forsyth and other areas, will write citations when they find jumpers, but sometimes these teens and others are able to jump when no one is around. Which is, in itself, quite dangerous.