Oil Boom Making Roads Dangerous: Texas Trucking Accident Lawyers Discuss Oil Boom Traffic Dangers
While the boom in oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale region is great for the economy of South Texas, the sudden increase in traffic it has brought to roads not built for that type of traffic is wreaking havoc and making them quite deadly. In some cases, rural roads that easily handled 200 vehicles per day now deal with as many as 2400, with a great many of those being large trucks weighing 80,000 pounds or more. This increase in traffic on narrow roads without shoulders has left many of them badly damaged, but it has also resulted in many more deadly accidents.
TxDOT recently released an accident report for the area in 2012 that doesn’t look good for drivers in the Eagle Ford Shale region. While the total number of auto accidents causing serious and/or fatal injuries only rose by about 2 percent, from 2,673 in 2011 to 2,723 last year, the accidents were far more deadly. The number of traffic fatalities was up 40 percent, from 177 in 2011 to 248 last year. Two-thirds of those killed were men, and the most dangerous time of day was the period between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The most troubling statistic, however, is that the number of auto accidents involving commercial trucks is up 1,000 percent. One problem seems to be that the traffic is making many drivers impatient and more likely to disobey traffic laws. In response to this, TxDOT, the Department of Public Safety and several trucking industry associations have launched a roadway safety campaign for the area, which they’ve dubbed “Be Safe. Drive Smart.”
TxDOT hopes that the campaign will improve safety and awareness for both commercial and passenger vehicle drivers, but it could face an uphill battle. Existing roads need to be repaired and widened, and there is a need for more police and patrol cars keeping watch over the roads, and all of that takes time. In the meantime, the increase in traffic means the likelihood of accidents causing injury or death will likely rise.
While the South Texas energy boom is welcome in many ways, the increase in traffic injuries and fatalities is not. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed due to an accident in one of the communities affected by the new Texas oil booms, contact a lawyer with experience handling these types of claims. The Texas Trucking Accident Lawyers at Hill Law Firm are here to discuss your legal rights. Call us today!