· More than 7,000 active fields;
· 250 miles wide and 300 miles long;
· 4,991 drilling permits issued in 2018 so far;
· Recent projections show an expected production of 5.4 million barrels per day (mbd) by 2023.
With increased oilfield activity comes increased 18-wheeler and heavy truck traffic. With increased 18-wheeler traffic comes increased collisions. Unfortunately, many of the collisions caused by 18-wheelers or big work trucks result in deaths or serious injuries.
In fact, the Dallas Morning News recently reported that while traffic deaths in the Permian Basin involving big trucks decreased in 2015 -because of falling oil prices – they surged last year as crude prices were back on the rise.
Due to the increased oil field related traffic, the Permian Basin is now home to what many call the “Death Highway”. Highway 285, which runs between Pecos, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico might be the deadliest highway in the U.S. The number of wrecks in this area that have resulted in serious injuries or deaths have caught the eye of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Several highways in the areas have had speed limits dropped and more troopers have been assigned to the area, but the collisions are still happening at an alarming rate.
Common causes of oilfield transportation and 18-wheeler related collisions:
- Fatigued driving/lack of sleep/overworked drivers
- Inexperienced drivers being hired
- Untrained drivers being allowed to drive
- Deadlines being placed on drivers for deliveries
- Mechanical problems on old trucks
- Lack of maintenance on old trucks
- Following too close
- Passing when unsafe
Due to the demand, oil and transportation companies often hire inexperienced drivers and fail to provide these new hires with the training they need to be safe and defensive drivers.
There are specific rules provided by state regulations as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, that require drivers to be properly qualified and trained before operating an 80,000-pound tractor trailer on behalf of a company. When companies fail to follow those rules, its is often innocent people who get hurt or killed.
If you have been seriously injured or if a loved one has died in an accident, it can irrevocably change the lives of every person in your family. The aftermath can be complex and confusing, but you do not have to navigate it on your own.
You should gain a clear understanding of the legal options available to you. An attorney experienced in serious injury and wrongful death cases can explain these options, discuss the legal process and develop a plan for your case.