Dangers of Hot Cars: Another Child Dies in Georgia

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that a 2 year old child died after being left in a van at a day care center in Atlanta.  The article by  Alexis Stevens and Fran Jeffries also mentions that since 1998, there have been 509 deaths involving this sort of vehicular hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke.

Normally we think of the danger associated with vehicle collisions on the roadways, but this sad case is a reminder that there are plenty of dangers other than roadway wrecks involving cars, including backovers, heat strokes, and children being trapped in trunks without trunk release mechanisms.

An organization called kidsandcars is doing great work to protect our children from these sorts of dangers.  Their website – kidsandcars.org – is a wonderful site to get information about these dangers and what we can do to protect our children from them.

As one example of a way to help remember that a child is in the back seat of a vehicle, one recent article recommends that a parent put a stuffed animal in the front seat as a visual reminder that their child is in the back seat.   There are many, many more things we can do to avoid the needless deaths and injuries from hot cars and other dangers associated with vehicles.

Please take a moment to visit these websites and read these articles to learn how to prevent your children from becoming victims of these dangerous conditions in cars.

Texting Laws and Facts You Need To Know

Deaths and Injuries Involving Distracted Driving

In a recent entry I led you to a website that showed you the tragic stories of children who had lost their lives as a result of distracted driving.  Today I thought I’d share with you some of the nationwide statistics on auto accidents that occur as a result of distracted driving.** 

  •   20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA).
  •   Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s         reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.   (Source: University of Utah)
  •   In 2009, there were 30,797 fatal crashes in the United States, which involved 45,230  drivers. In those crashes 33,808 people died.


        * *Unless specifically noted, distracted driving includes anything that may distract a driver while driving, such as but not limited to using a cell phone, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, grooming, reading, changing the radio station, using a navigation system or watching t.v.

       Georgia’s Laws

        So what are the cell phone and texting laws in Georgia?  Currently, there is not an all out ban on handheld cell phone use while driving; however, there are some restrictions.

  • Bus Drivers and Drivers under 18 – Completely banned from using cell phones while driving.  In fact, you can be pulled over and cited for using a cell phone without any other traffic offense if you fall into this category
  • All Drivers – Completely banned from texting while driving.*  Again, drivers may be pulled over and cited for texting while driving even without any other traffic offense having taken place. *

There are some exceptions to these restrictions, which may be found by going to www.gahighwaysafety.org/textingsafety  and reading the law prohibiting texting while driving.  

*This information was obtained from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) at www.ghsa.or/html/stateinfo/bystate/ga.html  

 Accident related statistics in Georgia may be found at www.gahighwaysafety.org/statistics/overall.html

Medical Malpractice Caps in Georgia: Taking Away the Power of Georgia’s Juries

Georgia’s Legislature and Limits on Juries’ Power

     In 2005, the Georgia legislature placed "caps" on the amount of non-economic damages that an injured Georgia citizen could obtain from juries in medical malpractice cases.  In some cases, that limit was as low as $350,000.  This law had the effect of taking power away from jurors in Georgia and giving the power to the special interests that like nothing less than ordinary citizens getting a fair day in court at the hands of 12 jurors.  

Mrs. Nestlehutt’s Injuries and Her Challenge of the Caps

   Mrs. Betty Nestlehutt, age 71, worked in a real estate business with her husband, and she sought some help from a plastic surgeon, who recommended a facelift and a laser resurfacing.  These procedures being performed together posed the risk of imparing the blood supply to the face.  Nonetheless, the procedures were performed and Mrs. Nestlehutt suffered impaired blood supply to her face and was left with large gaping wounds on her face.  The video below shows the damages to Mrs. Nestlehutt.

   The video below shows these damages and illustrates why the legislature’s arbitrary "one-size-fits-all" approach is manifestly unfair to people like Mrs. Nestlehutt.


WE THE PEOPLE from Georgia Justice on Vimeo.