Last year, traffic fatalities in the Permian Basin increased 16 percent from 365 to 424 while traffic fatalities in the Eagle Ford Shale region increased 13 percent from 240 to 272. In both regions combined, there were approximately 8,600 accidents that resulted in injury or fatality. Accidents in this region are attributed to – in large part, and in some cases, almost exclusively – to the drilling and fracking booms in these areas. The Permian Basin alone accounts for 14% of domestic oil production.
WHY IS THE OIL BOOM MAKING THE ROADS MORE DANGEROUS?
The large and quickly growing number of accidents in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale regions occurring around the same time as the oil boom invites the question – did one cause the other? One would have to assume that, based on the staggering statistics, there is a definite correlation between the oil boom and the spike in traffic accidents.
Many speculate that, among other factors, the following could be contributing to the accident phenomenon in the area:
- Increased demand for oil production has resulted in increased exports by commercial trucks and big rigs.
- Oil companies focus on the bottom line. Consequently, some hire underqualified truck drivers.
- Some truckers, because of strict time constraints, speed and implement other unsafe driving practices, such as avoiding mandated resting breaks and driving while tired.
- Before the oil boom, the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford regions were very small, in terms of population, and not heavily traffic. The roads in these regions were never engineered to sustain this type of increased traffic, particular traffic including large trucks.
THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME TO DRIVE IN ENERGY SECTORS
The most dangerous time to drive in energy sectors (what the Texas Department of Transportation is calling these oil production areas) seems to be during the early morning hours. Statistically, most of the serious andfatal accidents in Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale have occurred at 5:00am.
PROJECTS TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY IN THE PERMIAN BASIN AND EAGLE FORD SHALE
The increased traffic combined with regular wear-and-tear over time has caused a number of road defects in these regions. The TxDOT has responded by initiating a number of repair projects, including road widening in some areas, mending damaged edges, and other repairs. Sadly, many of these repairs can’t come soon enough.
If you or someone you love was involved in an accident that occurred in the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale region, or any other Texas energy sector, we invite you to contact the San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Wyatt Law Firm for a free case review!