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Car designs of the recent past have focused greatly on improving the safety of front seat occupants.  Such safety improvements have led to better restraint systems, seat-belts, and airbags.  Advanced seat belt systems and airbags now make it easier for front seat passengers and drivers to escape serious injuries or death in the event of an accident.

However, rear seat passengers have not been as lucky.  Protections for passengers in the back seat have not kept up with the pace of other car safety improvements.  For instance, side airbags are present to protect back seat passengers in a side crash, but there are no front airbags for these passengers as there are for front seat riders.  Similarly, seat belts in the back seat usually do not have the same tension capacity as front seat belts. The result is that rear-seat passengers continue to be at risk of serious injuries in accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently analyzed more than 100 crashes where rear seat occupants were seriously injured or killed. They found that the most common injuries to back seat passengers were injuries to the chest. This was the most common cause of serious injury or fatality to back seat passengers, regardless of whether they were adults or children.

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Boating season will soon be in full swing in all over Georgia.  Being on the water is one the greatest pleasures of life for avid boaters.  As with any activity, however, it is important that you follow all safety precautions to avoid any accidents or injuries.

The National Safe Boating Council has its own general safe boating tips.   The pre-departure boating checklist below will also help you be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

First of all, make sure that the weather conditions are not only pleasant, but also safe where you plan to go boating. Check weather forecasts as well as tide and current reports.

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Few things feel more like summer than a trip to the amusement park. As schools let out all over the state of Georgia in a few weeks, thousands will flock to Six Flags, White Water or other amusement parks throughout the state, or country, for some summertime fun. And while accidents on rides at amusement parks are rare, they are not unheard of. The safety of the rides at amusement parks around the country was called into question recently when two crash test dummies flew off their seats on a roller coaster and landed several feet away.

The two dummies were being tested to check the safety of the GaleForce roller coaster at Playland’s Castaway Cove in New Jersey. The ride was putting the dummies though a routine safety check, when the dummies, that were supposed to be securely restrained in their seats, flew off the ride midway and crashed into the roof of a nearby hotel. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported to the people at the hotel, although there was significant damage to the roof of the building.

According to amusement park officials, the fact that the crash test dummies flew off the ride is no cause for alarm. They insist that the ride is safe, and has been safe ever since it was launched. They say that there was no failure of operation or machinery, and that this incident was a result of the dummies not being used properly on the ride.

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With the warmer weather here, people will be out in parks and their neighborhoods, and many will be with their dogs.  And while it is an almost universal truth that children love dogs, not all interactions between children and dogs involve are fun.  Instead, a child may very well suffer a dog bite after innocently trying to show a dog some affection. After suffering a dog bite, many children end up with serious injuries, some of which can be serious enough to require surgery.

Over 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year, but only 17% of those get reported.  According to statistics, children account for more than 50 percent of the dog bites recorded in the United States every year. They are also much more likely to suffer serious injuries. In Georgia, dog bites are considered a public health concern.

There are some things that parents can do to make sure that their child is not injured in dog bite attacks. Don’t leave your child alone with a dog. Pediatricians say that this holds true even for family dogs or dogs that are familiar to you.  Remember, any dog can bite.

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Every year, hundreds of motorists and construction workers in Georgia are injured in accidents in highway work zones. To raise awareness about the important of safety in these zones, the Georgia Department of Transportation recently launched a special awareness and education campaign.

The campaign is called Drive Like You Work Here, and it aims to raise awareness about the special dangers construction workers face while working in highway work zones.  These construction workers provide a vital service to the nation, namely by helping with infrastructure development projects that are oftentimes the lifeblood of our state’s economy. However, they are also frequently at risk from motorists who fail to understand the need to pay special attention they drive through these congested work zones.

It is not just construction workers who are at risk when motorists drive through these highway work zones without paying attention, but the motorists themselves are also at risk for serious injury when they are inattentive or speed through a zone. In the year 2018 alone, there were 52 accident related fatalities in work zones in Georgia.  These fatalities were all members of the public, meaning none of the fatalities involved a construction worker.

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The number of pedestrians has been increasing all throughout Georgia as more people choose to walk for health or recreational reasons. The City of Atlanta has especially taken extra efforts to become a more walker friendly town.  Therefore, as a pedestrian, you should be aware of the protections and rights afforded to you under Georgia laws. Learning about these laws will help you obey traffic rules as well as keep you safe.

First of all, pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk in Georgia. If you are already waking on the crosswalk, then all motorists must stop and yield to you. The law requires a motorist to stop and remain stopped while the pedestrian is crossing the road.  The motorist can only resume driving when the pedestrian has safely completed crossing. That means that a motorist can’t try to squeeze by you, or barely give you any room to squeeze by them while they are on the road.

However, the picture becomes different when you are crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk. Now, it’s the motorist’s rights that take precedence, and you must yield to motorists who are driving. You, as a pedestrian, also have the duty to look in both directions to first make sure that the street is safe to cross – a lesson that we all learned as children.  This doesn’t mean that a motorist can continue to speed towards you though.  A driver still has the duty to avoid hitting a pedestrian if he or she is already in the process of crossing the street.   A driver also must anticipate that a pedestrian could attempt to cross the street at any point, and has the duty to warn a pedestrian of their approach by honking the horn or give some other type of warning.

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Claims based on negligent security, which can arise after a person has suffered an assault, rape or other violent incident on another’s property, can be complicated to file.

A claim for negligent security is filed when a person has been injured on another person’s premises as the result of inadequate security. Examples of negligent security could be the failure to provide adequate illumination or security in vacant areas such as parking lots, failure to provide adequate security or protection to attendees at a concert or other event, and other incidents in which there are injuries caused as a result of the failure of the property owner to provide safe and secure premises.

In a claim based on negligent security, the property owner is considered liable if the injured party can prove that the property owner’s failure to provide adequate security at the premises led to a violent assault, attack, rape or any other incident that endangered the safety of the victim or the person bringing the claim.

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There is never a shortage of tractor trailers or commercial trucks on Georgia roads.  This seems especially true during rush hour in metro Atlanta.  Trying to maneuver around a large commercial truck or 18-wheeler can be challenging, to say the least. One of the main reasons why driving around a large truck is tricky is due to the fact that the truck driver may not always see your car, which makes the chances of a being in an accident that much greater.   More often than not, when a passenger vehicle is hit in an accident by a large commercial truck, the resulting injuries can be very severe.

Here are some tips on what you should always keep in mind when driving around a large commercial truck or tractor trailer.

Do not come to a sudden stop in front of the truck.  These trucks have a much larger stopping distance. This means that it takes them much longer to come to a complete stop after the driver applies the brakes. If you are driving in front of a tractor trailer, braking suddenly can mean that the truck may crash right into your car with devastating consequences.

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The opioid overdose epidemic has been a top-priority for safety advocates as well as federal agencies for several years now. However, a little-known fact that has not garnered as much press is that opioid use has also contributed to an increase in the number of car accidents linked to drivers who were driving while under the influence of these painkillers.

A dependence on opioid medications or painkillers like Oxycontin has been blamed for a nationwide crisis that has raged unabated. In 2017 alone, 47,000 Americans died as the result of an opioid overdose. Deaths from opioid overdoses increased 14% nationwide in that year.  In Georgia, however, opioid deaths increased over 16% in 2017.  And to make it more a part of the daily conversation, social media has been awash with images and videos of addicts passed out or dead in their cars, sidewalks and commercial spaces.

Now, researchers at the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University Medical Center say that there is ample evidence that opioid painkillers and drivers high under the influence of medications like Oxycontin are also causing an increasing number of car accidents. Their conclusions are based on results from a study that was conducted on 18,000 drivers involved in fatal accidents between 1993 and 2016. According to the researchers, the number of fatal car accidents involving drivers under the influence of opioid painkillers actually tripled over this 25-year period.

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Atlanta recently received the dubious honor of being ranked 4th in the nation for having the most aggressive drivers, according to GasBuddy.  Aggressive driving involves hard braking, swerving, but most often speeding.  Accidents caused by speeding kill more people than any other accident factor, including drunk driving or distracted driving.

Speeding accounts for at least one-third of all traffic fatalities every year, and has continued to be the single biggest factor contributing to crashes over the past two decades. In 2017, the last year for which conclusive data is available, speeding caused 27 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Speeding is a major traffic safety issue primarily because of the tremendous impact that results in an accident caused by speeding, compared to a moderate-speed accident. There are a number of other safety concerns associated with speeding. For example, data shows that motorists who are more prone to drive at high speeds are prone to other risk factors such as a failure to wear seatbelts. In 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 49 percent of all people who died in speeding-related accidents were unrestrained at the time of the crash, compared to 21 percent of motorists who were not in high-speed accidents.