There are big 18-wheeler trucks and smaller delivery vans that travel around the Denver area and throughout Colorado on a daily basis. For better or worse, products from across the country and the globe make their way to Denver over land, and for the individuals who transport them, their office is their vehicle. Like individuals with more traditional workplaces, transportation workers’ safety is critical. This means, in part, that the roads and bridges they drive upon are safe and well maintained.
Unfortunately, a recent investigation by The Associated Press has found that there are over 65,000 bridges that are structurally deficient, nearly 21,000 bridges that are fracture critical and approximately 7,800 that are both. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that there are 86,000 bridges on the verge of collapse, these dilapidated states could make driving more dangerous for transportation workers in Colorado.
Imagine getting in a truck accident and being seriously injured. It is highly unlikely that you would be able to work right away and even more unlikely that you wouldn’t need any medical care. During that time, you may not be getting paid and being forced to spend exuberant amounts of money for your care. Filing for workers’ compensation benefits, however, could not only cover your medical expenses, but also give you a portion of your lost wages.
Many of these structurally compromised bridges are those that transportation workers drive over on a daily basis, perhaps even several times in a day. If these bridges truly are at risk of collapse or causing injury, the state and federal governments must do more to protect individuals in the transportation industry.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, “10 Things: Making sense of nation’s bad bridges,” Mike Baker and Joan Lowy, Sept. 16, 2013