Recently, a 58-year-old bridge in Washington State collapsed, sending drivers tumbling into the water below. The bridge collapse occurred when a truck carrying an oversized load of drilling equipment hit several trusses on the bridge. The bridge had a "fracture critical design," so loss of just one structural support could undermine its stability and result in collapse. Unfortunately, when the truck hit the trusses, there was no way that the bridge could stay standing.
Fortunately, no one died in the Washington State Bridge Collapse. Yet, as USA Today indicates, this collapse is an important wake-up call reminding us that the infrastructure in Washington State is aging. Our Los Angeles injury attorneys know that the problem of aging infrastructure is not isolated to Washington either, with numerous roads and bridges throughout the United States in desperate need of repair.
Drivers at Risk of Accidents due to Aging Infrastructure
Aging infrastructure presents a lot of problems for drivers. Roads that are not well-maintained and that are crumbling or falling apart, for example, can significantly increase the risk of auto accidents. Road defects such as worn away shoulders on the roads mean that a car cannot pull off to avoid an accident or when the vehicle is in distress. Potholes, uneven road surfaces and changes in road surface can increase the chances of a tire blowout, a rollover crash or a motorcycle accident. And, of course, bridges that are not stable can collapse and cause serious injury or even death.
CBS 8 reports that many of the bridges in the United States are potentially in danger of collapsing. These bridges span the United States, from a six-lane highway over a bridge in Washington to the I-880 bridge over 5th Avenue in Oakland California. These bridges are called "fracture critical" because they are the riskiest of bridges since damage to a single vital component of the bridge can result in the entire thing crumbling.
Despite the disrepair and the high risk of injury on these "fracture critical" bridges, however, little is being done to fix the aging infrastructure problems. The federal government is virtually paralyzed by partisan disagreements and getting almost any legislation passed is a challenge. Spending bills such as a stimulus package designed to fix infrastructure have almost no chance of success, especially with lawmakers calling for spending reductions aimed at reducing the country's debts and deficits to sustainable levels. Unfortunately, many local areas are also crippled by lack of money, in large part due to falling revenue during the recession in recent years. Thus, states may not have the money to fix aging infrastructure either.
If the infrastructure continues to age without repairs, more accidents like the Washington State bridge collapse may occur. People on the bridge may not be so lucky next time to escape injury or even death. Bridges collapsing and people being injured are outcomes that should be avoided at all costs.
If the worst does happen and a bridge collapses or an accident is otherwise caused by aging infrastructure, it could end up costing the city or agency responsible for maintenance far more than repairs would have as all those injured or the family members of those killed file wrongful death actions to obtain compensation for injuries and losses.
Contact Howard Law, PC today, if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.
Teaching Our Youngest Riders Safe Biking Habits, California Injury Lawyers, May 5, 2013