Texas Oil and Gas Boom Traffic Fatalities Continue to Rise
According to recent reports, throughout the state, the number of traffic fatalities related to the Texas oil and gas boom continue to rise, in both these number and severity. These accidents are occurring on all sorts of Texas roadways, from interstates in cities to two-lane roads in rural areas.
One such recent report compiled the number of serious traffic accidents that killed three or more people, and found that such accidents have become far more common, increasing from 72 fatalities in 2010 to 148 in 2013. So far this year, that trend promises to continue, with 81 fatalities having been reported just through July 15.
The problem isn’t only limited to accidents with multiple fatalities. Overall, the problem of road deaths on Texas’ roadways has been increasing since the dawn of the oil and gas boom, even as the number of road deaths have been dropping steadily around the country as a whole. Since 2008, state of Texas has led the nation in the number of motor vehicle fatalities, even overtaking California, the former champion.
Because vehicle crash reports don’t always contain a tremendous amount of detail, it’s difficult to directly link the increase in fatal accidents over the last five years to the oil and gas boom. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas led the United States in the number of workplace fatalities in 2012, and accidents involving transportation were a major cause of workplace deaths in the state.
According to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), oil and gas workers are 8.5 times as likely to die on the job as private employees in any other industry. And of the 50 Texas oil and gas workers who were killed in 2013, half were killed in transportation accidents. According to workers’ compensation records, three times as many on-the-job fatal motor vehicle accidents have been reported so far in 2014 than were reported five years ago.
Among the most common factors cited in these accidents is fatigue, in part because of the long commutes many of these workers have to make just to get to the drilling site, as well as two-week-long stretches of 12 hour workdays. In some cases, employers don’t even supply workers with on-site rest areas. In one reported case, a driver who caused a fatal accident had just worked 14 straight days and logged 190 hours just before the accident.
The oil and gas boom in Texas has brought a lot of benefit to the people of the state, but it has also brought a number of problems that need to be solved. If there are too many people on the road who are too tired to be there, something must be done to alleviate that problem.
If you or a loved one are injured or killed in one of the increasing number of accidents that are occurring in the state of Texas, please contact the Texas Automotive Accident Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm, so that we can investigate and help you to protect your rights.