When people think of Texas, many envision miles of oil and gas fields, and with good reason. The oil and gas industry continues to thrive and grow here in the Lone Star state. Companies are doing everything they can to make the most of the current boom, and workers and innocent victims tend to suffer the consequences.
If you work in the industry, you know just how dangerous it is. You face a multitude of hazards from equipment, machinery, falls and more. However, one risk that you may not have expected is from oil field truck accidents. The number of these crashes appears to be rising at an alarming rate, and you, your fellow workers and everyone else on the road could become a victim at any time.
Factors contributing to the problem
A large part of the problem is that those working in this industry work long hours, including the drivers. Regulations allow oil well drivers to work for 20 plus hours during a shift. How is this possible considering the strict rules other truck drivers must adhere to under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations? What you may not know is that the FMCSA allows an exception to the strict trucking regulations for oil well drivers.
The agency considers the time drivers are waiting for their loads as “off duty” time. The result is that an oil well driver does not rest during this time, which means he or she is most likely fatigued by the time the driving begins. It’s not hard to imagine why so many of these accidents occur because the drivers are simply too tired to be operating a car, let alone a truck. It will take the industry and the FMCSA taking the problem seriously to truly make a change.
Accidents will continue to happen
Until changes are made, the number of oil field truck accidents could continue to rise. Whether you work in the industry or not, you are at risk when you share the road with these drivers, especially if they have been working and driving without a rest period for long hours. If you do suffer serious injuries, your life may never be the same.
One way to help effect change would entail taking the industry to court in an attempt to hold companies liable for their work practices. Not only could you receive compensation for your injuries, but you could also help bring this problem to light. It could save someone else from experiencing the same harm, loss and grief. In addition, it may eventually help force the FMCSA to change its rules regarding oil well drivers.