Articles Posted in In The News

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has rolled back his decision allowing new drivers to receive their driver’s licenses without a road test.

The order allowing drivers to skip road tests was issued on April 23rd  after the state had implemented massive social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders in the face of the expanding COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Governor Brian Kemp’s office released an order that immediately suspended driving tests for teen drivers. The order made no mention of rescheduling the road tests.

However, criticism from parents as well as traffic safety advocates seems to have pressured the Governor to reconsider his decision, and thankfully better sense has prevailed. Governor Kemp has now signed a new order which makes it clear that all new drivers who have received their licenses since the April order must take the road exam. After the April order suspending driving tests, as many as 20,000 Georgia teens had obtained their driver’s licenses without appearing for road tests. These teens must now take their road tests in order to retain their licenses.  The new order gives drivers until September 30th to fulfill this requirement and take their tests.  The order also provides for individuals to take the test either remotely or with a supervisor in the vehicle.

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All throughout the country, nursing home residents have been one of the hardest hit groups of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The same deadly results have been seen in Georgia as well.  According to estimates, as many as 50 percent of the fatalities in the state have involved residents of nursing homes.

The Georgia Department of Community Health recently released Covid-19 fatality numbers and the results are frightening. The data suggests that more than 6,000 residents and staff members of nursing homes in Georgia are currently infected with the virus. About 350 facilities in the state are currently grappling with the outbreak. About 20 percent of all Covid-19 cases in Georgia have occurred in nursing homes and 659 deaths have been linked to nursing homes.

The picture is even bleaker in the rural parts of Georgia.  The virus, which was earlier believed to be confined to urban areas, has spread with staggering speed in rural areas.  These counties, with predominantly poor or African American populations have been affected disproportionately by the outbreak, and nursing homes in these regions have seen an alarming spike in death tolls.

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A group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that addresses a pressing need of commercial truckers. The bill, which includes funding for expansion of parking areas, has been welcomed by the trucking industry in Georgia and drivers, especially during the recent times.

Access to safe parking areas is a serious safety issue in the trucking industry. According to federal trucking safety regulations, truck drivers are required to stop driving after a certain number of hours and rest. During these periods of rest, they must park their trucks in safe spaces and get the required minimum rest time before they can begin driving again.

Unfortunately, lack of access to safe parking has been a serious safety issue in the trucking sector. When a driver cannot find a safe and convenient place for him to park his truck, he is more likely to continue driving even beyond the maximum number of hours set by the federal administration. This can have serious consequences because a truck driver who is tired and fatigued, is much more likely to fall asleep at the wheel of the truck. Accidents involving drowsy or tired truckers are not uncommon. In fact, trucker fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents in Georgia and around the country.

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There is no debate the events surrounding COVID-19 are unlike any that this country, and the globe for that matter, has experienced.  The impacts of this disease on our communities will include a once unthinkable number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Although efforts have been made to trace the source of the disease in local areas in order to notify others that may have come in contact with or been exposed to someone with the disease, many of these efforts that not been entirely successful, hence the widespread contagiousness of the disease.

One source that has been known early on in the COVID-19 outbreak are the cruise ships that had passengers with confirmed cases on board.  Recent numbers have indicated that as many as 700 people became infected with COVID-19 on cruise ships.  A number of these passengers went on to die from the illness.  As news of the outbreaks and quarantined passengers broke, some of the cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, took preemptive measures and cancelled any future cruises.

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The recent times have been unprecedented in our country.  Preparations from medical to supply chain are being made across the country to meet the needs and demands of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To aid in delivering goods and supplies, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has decided to relax some of the Hours–of–Service regulations that truck drivers are required to adhere to, in order to meet the increased shipping needs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes, masks and other medical essentials are all in short supply in many states across the country. Panic buying, which has been seen across the country since it became clear that the Covid-19 virus outbreak would be more serious than we believed, has meant many empty shelves at supermarkets and stores across the country. People are running short of basic essentials, including even food items in many areas.

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The year’s busiest motorcycling season is just around the corner, and the Georgia Department of Transportation is taking steps to ensure that residents of the metro Atlanta region and around the state stay safe on the streets.

The Georgia Department of Transportation recently reminded Atlanta residents about its motorcycle safety training courses for residents. The announcement was made via an official press release which states that the agency is offering special programs for beginner riders, as well experienced riders who could use a refresher course for their skills.

One course is especially designed for beginner riders. The program will target not just motorcyclists, but also persons riding mopeds and scooters. The program called the BasicRider course is especially suitable for persons who are new to riding on two wheels, one of the most risky forms of traveling on the roads. Motorcycling is a thrilling activity, but it’s also one of the most dangerous and risky. Beginner motorcyclists who take to the streets on their brand new set of wheels, without having undergone a basic rider safety training program are at a higher risk of being involved in a serious or potentially fatal accident.  The BasicRider program aims to equip novice or amateur riders with the skills and training they need to safely navigate Atlanta’s busy streets. The BasicRider program also includes free motorcycles and helmets provided to students.

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There is no doubt that the metro-Atlanta area is growing by leaps and bounds.  With that growth comes increased traffic, congestion, and unfortunately motor vehicle accidents.   Some of these accidents can be deadly, especially when a pedestrian is involved.

DeKalb County is the second most dangerous county for pedestrians in Georgia, second only to Fulton County. In fact, between 2014 and 2016, there were a total of 67 pedestrian accident fatalities in DeKalb County. Pedestrian deaths, during this period of time, accounted for around one- third of all traffic accident fatalities in the county.

Alarmed by these statistics, officials at DeKalb County have decided to take firm and strategic action to reduce the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, and make the county roads safer for all. DeKalb County Health Board officials are discussing ways to reduce these fatalities with Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety officials, as well as representatives from the DeKalb County Police Department and other concerned pedestrian safety advocates.

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E-scooters have taken the globe, nation and even Atlanta by storm.  Since the fall of 2017, this convenient form of transportation has popped everywhere there is a need for alternate forms of mobility.  But not everyone is aware of the safety risks of riding one, or how to best accommodate these riders in the urban areas.

When they first appeared on the scene, e-scooters were seen as the latest and greatest form of micro-mobility.  However, now that their numbers have increased and clogged streets and sidewalks all over the globe, they are not as welcome as they once were.  This is mainly due the dangers they pose not only to the riders, but to those sharing the roads and sidewalks with them.

Some cities have gone so far as to claim them a public nuisance.  In a few states, there have been several lawsuits filed against e-scooter manufacturers for injuries resulting from faulty brakes and wheels, among other malfunctions.  In Atlanta, a recent law was passed that prohibits e-scooter riders from riding or parking the scooters on the sidewalks.  Anyone who violates these rules could face a fine of up to $1,000.

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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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For years now, proponents of hyperbaric oxygen therapy have claimed the therapy can significantly help reduce the risk of long-term brain damage in persons who have suffered a brain injury. Recently, a case study of a brain-damaged three-year-old child who recovered significantly after being administered the therapy offered support for these claims. The hope is that the approach described in the case study will help other individuals who have suffered a severe brain injury. These types of injuries are common in motorcycle accidents as well as any collision which occurs when vehicles are traveling at a high rate of speed.

Claims of the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy have been met with skepticism for many years, because its proponents have found it difficult to explain exactly why the treatment works in helping reduce brain damage after an injury. When these claims arise in litigation, the experts are often challenges under Daubert, a federal case that has nationally redefined when expert testimony is admissible or should be excluded. However, a number of recent studies have found that even a single session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can significantly impact tissue recovery rates in a person with brain damage. Each session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces cell death and inflammation, and boosts recovery, cell growth and repair rates. That can be seen in the rate of recovery of persons with brain damage. These studies may alter the admissibility of expert testimony since Daubert requires general scientific acceptance of principles to which an expert is testifying in court.

Experts point specifically to a recent case involving a three-year-old child who was found unconscious and unresponsive in her family swimming pool. The child had been deprived of oxygen for several minutes, and had suffered significant brain damage.  There were signs of brain shrinkage, and loss of gray matter. Around two months after the injury, the child was administered hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and her doctors and parents noticed an improvement within 10 sessions of the therapy.

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