Dallas, TX- Natural gas is being billed as the clean energy of the future, but the process of extracting natural gas—fracking—has little known unintended consequence. Aside from the toxic chemicals used in the process poising water tables; fracking has also been linked to an increase of car and truck accidents.
Earlier this month the Associated Press conducted and analysis of traffic fatalities in six states where fracking is experiencing a boom, including the state of Texas. They found that fatal traffic accidents have quadrupled since 2004 in in regions where the fracking industry has grown.
The AP found that in one Texas fracking region, motorists were 2.5 times more likely to be involved a fatal accident per 100 miles driven than other regions in the state.
Natural gas is extracted by injecting large quantities of water, sand, gravel and chemicals under high pressure into the drilling site. All of the materials used in the fracking must be trucked in and the AP estimates that it takes between 2,300 and 4,000 truck trips for each well, that’s almost triple of what is necessary for antiquated drilling techniques
Fracking has created jobs and injected a great deal of money in areas being drilled. That’s a good thing, but in addition to the benefits, there is a lot more commercial truck traffic in regions that not equipped to handle it.
AP reported that in 21 Texas counties where drilling has expanded, traffic fatalities per 100,000 people has increased 18 percent.
While commercial truck drivers are heavily regulated, drivers in the oil and drilling industries are not. That means they don’t have to conform to hours-or-service regulations and other safety rules commercial truck drivers must adhere to, making traffic accidents the most common cause of death for workers in the oil and drilling industries.
Not all of the accidents in these areas can be attributed to truck drivers; passenger vehicle motorists are also to blame and often take risks to get around or away from these slower moving vehicles.
Texas has launched safety campaigns to cut down on the accidents in drilling regions, but that won’t prevent all deadly or injurious truck accidents.
Recently, a San Antonio family was awarded a $118 million dollar accident settlement when their son was killed by driveshaft that had fallen from a truck in Eagle Shale Ford area. A jury found that the trucking company failed to properly maintain their vehicle. While that is an unusually large settlement, it shows the risks trucking companies take when they fail to repair or maintain their vehicles.
When a fatal or injurious truck accident is attributed to a truck driver’s or a trucking company’s negligence, the victim or their surviving family members can and should seek a wrongful death or personal injury settlement. Retaining a Dallas truck accident attorney like Stovall Law Group will assure that their clients are awarded generous settlement that covers their medical expenses and any other accident-related costs they incur.