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Denver's 'Vision Zero' plan may also be boon for certain workers

The general trend in automobile travel has been one of improving safety. As technology gets better, car accidents are less likely to result in deaths and serious injuries. Unfortunately, however, Colorado broke from that trend last year.

In 2015, approximately 545 people died in traffic accidents on Colorado roads. That number was nearly 12 percent higher than the previous year, and the first time since 2008 that the state had more than 500 deaths in a year. In Denver alone, 57 people were killed in car accidents last year. This is not just an issue of public safety. For many who work in the Denver area, it is also an issue of safety on the job.

Whether you drive commercially or otherwise drive as part of your job, traffic safety is workplace safety. As such, your employer should be taking reasonable steps to ensure that all employees are:

  • Obeying traffic laws while operating a vehicle for work
  • Driving without distraction, including distractions caused by communicating with other employees or managers
  • Driving in vehicles that are properly maintained and promptly repaired
  • Receiving adequate training on how to safely drive vehicles they may be unfamiliar with

City officials recently announced that through its "Vision Zero" initiative, Denver will work to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries on city roads. Specific strategies for achieving this goal include a stronger law enforcement presence, public awareness campaigns and better road infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians. Hopefully, plans include efforts to reach out to employers as well.

If you regularly drive as part of your job, please remember that a traffic accident may be compensable under the state's workers' compensation program (if it occurred on the clock and in the service of employment). To better understand your rights and options, please discuss your case with an experienced workers compensation attorney.

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