Lyft’s Responsibility-Dodging Business Model Puts Users at Risk

Ridesharing apps, particularly the major players, Uber and Lyft, have made huge changes in recent years to how people get around, and how others earn a living. While passengers enjoy the convenience of affordable, on-demand drivers, and drivers enjoy the freedom of making their own schedules, this new approach to transportation has so far fallen short in other ways, including safety. Because rideshare drivers are contractors and not employees, they receive none of the training and little of the screening that traditional cab drivers undergo. Not only that, but Lyft and similar companies have historically used drivers’ contractor status as an excuse to deny responsibility for their misdeeds and mistakes, which have been alarmingly frequent. Unprofessional, Unqualified, and Criminal Drivers Are Common In March of…

The State of Georgia Has Failed to Protect Its Residents from Armed Abusers

In theory, domestic abusers have been forbidden from owning firearms under federal law since 1996. Properly enforced, this simple safety measure has the potential to save thousands of innocent lives, without so much as inconveniencing those gun owners who have a history of basic human decency and level-headedness. Unfortunately, more than 20 years after its passage, the law remains fraught with loopholes and only haphazardly applied. The restriction does not cover stalkers or abusive partners who have not lived with, married, or had children with their victims, for example, and even the most blatantly disqualifying crimes are often not reported to the background check databases used to determine weapon buyers’ eligibility. Most deadly of all, however, is the failure of many states to enforce the…

Residents of HUD Housing Can’t Afford to Wait for Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A rule requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public housing may be on its way, both through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and, potentially, through federal legislation. For many low income families, however, this is already too little, too late. Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a deadly, colorless, odorless gas produced by the burning of carbon-based fuels. Any appliance that runs on natural gas can potentially malfunction and poison an entire home, and purpose-built sensors are the only way of detecting the gas before it reaches lethal levels. Like many public housing projects, Allen Benedict Court in South Carolina was not equipped with these life-saving devices when CO poisoning claimed the lives of two residents in January…

Gun-Related Deaths Are out of Control in Metro Atlanta’s Apartment Buildings

For the nearly 6 million people who live in the Atlanta metropolitan area, gun violence is a terrifying and tragic reality of everyday life. It has been for far too long, and is now more than ever. In 2017, 1,623 Georgia residents died by shooting. That number has been steadily climbing at a rate of 77 more deaths each year since record keeping began in 2014, and the problem is even more concentrated in and around Atlanta. In 2016, Atlanta was ranked the #18 “Murder Capitol” of the U.S, and guns were involved in 82% of all recorded homicides in the city. Just because gun violence is currently a fact of life, however, doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable or unchangeable. Shooting Deaths Are Not Inevitable…

uber app

Extra Insurance Is Just the First Step Toward Making Uber Safe

As of 2015, the state of Georgia requires Uber to provide its local drivers with $1 million in insurance, in case of on-the-job accidents. The ridesharing giant has since adopted this basic safety measure across the board, but it barely scratches the surface of the company’s safety issues. Even the improved insurance has problematic loopholes. For example, a driver en route to pick up a passenger is theoretically covered, but if that upcoming ride is cancelled, as would generally happen following an accident, Uber’s coverage no longer applies. More concerning yet is the inadequate driver screening process that allows for so many accidents and other problems to occur in the first place. In April of 2018, an Uber driver on her way from Marietta to…

Georgia personal injury attorney

Whoever Wins the Tug of War for Hartsfield-Jackson, Passengers Still Lose

In a controversial move that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms likened to “declaring war on the city,” the Georgia State Senate voted on March 7th to remove control of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport from the city of Atlanta and place it with the state. Weeks later, the Georgia House approved a heavily altered version of the bill, softening the state takeover into the creation of a state-run oversight committee. Yet amid all the debate over who has the right to control and profit off of the busiest airport in the world, few are talking about passengers’ rights to a safe travel environment, or how to fix Hartsfield-Jackson’s ongoing failure to provide one. The Record of City-Level Corruption Is Long and Indisputable As one of the biggest economic…

Georgia personal injury attorney

Gwinnett County’s Rejection of MARTA May Be about More than Partisan Politics

The voters of Gwinnett County have recently rejected a proposal for a local MARTA expansion. This isn’t the first time — voters turned down similar proposals in both 1971 and 1990 — but greater population diversity and worsening traffic congestion had led many transit advocates to believe this might be MARTA’s year in Gwinnett. There were no doubt many factors contributing to the proposal’s defeat, some of them underhanded. The issue was left off the November ballot and relegated to a special election, excluding many lower income voters and giving the county’s dwindling population of wealthy suburbanites a louder voice. One anti-transit activist even arranged robocalls telling voters that MARTA was planning to “put thousands of apartments in Gwinnett,” exploiting racist and classist prejudices against…

Public Safety

DeKalb County Has Raised Pay for Public Safety Employees by 4%

As of November 2018, public safety employees in DeKalb County, including police officers, firefighters, and 911 operators, have been granted a pay raise of 4%. This is in addition to the February 2018 vote to create 155 new police officer jobs. DeKalb County has good reason to focus on attracting quality talent to police positions and ensuring that officers are well incentivized and supported. In 2017, the DeKalb County police department was severely understaffed, leading to a rise in both unsolved homicides and homicides in general. By the middle of the next year, the unsolved homicide rate showed significant improvement, thanks to a fuller staff of detectives. One crime journalist and former councilman suggests that the link between officer retention and crime solving goes beyond…

Atlanta Premises Liability Attorney

The Safety Hazards of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s “Plane Train”

The people-mover known as the “Plane Train,” which shuttles passengers around the busiest airport in the world, is so ridiculously unsafe that it’s become a running joke, yet nothing is being done to improve safety. The interior of each Plane Train car is empty, except for 10 vertical bars to be shared among 50 riders at a time. Before each start and stop, an automated voice advises travelers to “please hold on” — and it’s not kidding. The train then lurches in and out of its 24-35 mph operating speed abruptly enough to knock unbraced passengers off their feet. Automated voices also warn at each station that “the doors are closing and will not reopen.” Apparently, being caught in the doorway doesn’t instantly sentence a…

injury cause by damaged sidewalks

The City of Atlanta Is Being Sued for Unsafe Sidewalks — Again

Simply walking down the street can be a risky endeavor in Atlanta, where obstructed and deteriorating sidewalks are a fixture of everyday life. Getting around safely is even more difficult for those Atlanta residents for whom walking itself is challenging or impossible. Small cracks and rises that many able-bodied pedestrians don’t notice can pose a serious danger and obstacle for users of wheelchairs and other assistive devices. That’s the reason for the latest lawsuit concerning Atlanta’s sidewalks. Three Atlanta residents with physical disabilities have filed a class action lawsuit against the city, on behalf of themselves and others in similar situations, for its failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Atlanta Never Kept Its Promises from Last Time Being sued for the condition…