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Fracking Boom Increases Traffic Accident Deaths in Texas

Traffic Accident Deaths Caused by Exhausted and Distracted Drivers in Texas Linked to Fracking Jobs

traffic accident deathsAs cars were designed with driver safety in mind, traffic accidents deaths in Texas have been falling. The trend continued across the Lone Star State for decades, until a boom in oil mining and fracking jobs in recent years has led to odd work hours, exhausted workers, and therefore, more traffic accident deaths.

“There are so many guys that are working all night and so many people getting up in the morning,” said Steve Alaniz, a commuter who discovered the aftermath of one of these terrible traffic accidents when an exhausted fracking company employee slammed into a school bus. “ … And roads like 72 aren’t big enough to handle that traffic.”

“Triple tragedies” – traffic accidents when three people die – have drastically increased in many rural areas in the state. In 2010, there were 72 such traffic accidents; in 2012, that number increased to 101; and in 2013, 148 triple tragedies occurred on Texas’s back roads.

Texas saw a boom in fracking and oil mining jobs starting in 2008. Across the country, traffic accident deaths have been decreasing, and Texas was no exception until new forms of mining came in. Now, the Lone Star State leads the nation in traffic accident deaths, and many have linked that increase directly to untrained truck drivers and exhausted miners trying to get home at the end of 12- or 24-hour shifts.

Crash data experts agree that the fracking industry’s standard 2-weeks of 12-hour shifts in small rural facilities causes exhausted workers to hit the road home when too tired to pay attention. In one case, a worker had logged 190 hours over 14 straight work-days prior to causing a terrible traffic accident. Experts say that such hours make workers so tired that it’s like “driving while intoxicated.”

Fracking and oil mining companies have faced lawsuits from families whose loved ones died in traffic accidents caused by exhaustion. These lawsuits allege that the companies push workers too hard but fail to provide adequate breaks, areas to rest, and even, in some cases, should supply designated drivers for tired workers.

Truck traffic accidents have also drastically increased with the boom in mining jobs.

“People who’ve never been in the seat of a truck before go to school for two weeks, and they graduate, and now they’re a truck driver, you know,” says Larry Busby, the long-time sheriff of Live Oak County in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas. “Well, they’re not a truck driver yet. They’ve just passed the school.”

“There is a level of congestion that is rising all over the state, particularly in these areas of smaller counties that involve the oil field and energy exploration, and it’s causing folks that are not accustomed to that type of congestion to make unnecessary risks, and it’s costing lives,” says John Esparza, president of the Texas Trucking Association.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Cases from Traffic Safety Accidents

Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, distracted driving can lead to an accident, causing serious personal injury or even death. If you have been injured by an accident caused by traffic safety violations such as drunk or distracted driving, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.

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