Increased Oilfield Transportation Accidents
he Permian Basin is the oil hub of the state. The first oil well in this region was discovered in the Midland almost a hundred years ago. Consequently, the Midland area and other nearby areas such as Odessa witnessed an unprecedented oil boom, which attracted a large number of workers from others parts of the United States. The otherwise barren landscape was transformed into a network of roads. Since then, the region has only progressed. Oil production in the area has surged to the levels witnessed during the 80s and this has resulted in increased trucking traffic, which has already strained the region’s roads.
The region’s existing infrastructure has proved to be insufficient to handle this amplified oil activity. Now new pipelines are being laid and this means congestion and traffic jams will only worsen. It’ll probably result in more traffic-related accidents. There is another aspect to this problem. The long working hours and the stressful working environment are important reasons behind the rising driving-related accidents. It has often been reported that fatigue takes its toll on drivers who sleep during driving, leading to a fatal crash. These problems will only aggravate post greater trucking traffic in the Midland and Odessa region.
Statistics tell sorrowing tale
So what does the oil boom mean for the region? Though the area has witnessed a huge economic upsurge, the risk of traffic accidents too has grown even more. The closest impact of the oil boom is seen on the roadways connecting the oil rigs where more crashes and mishaps are taking place. When the amount of traffic spikes on roads, so does the number of crashes.
According to Houston Chronicle, between 2009-2013, traffic-related fatalities rose up to 8 percent. On the other hand, casualties on account of similar reasons in other states declined, whereas crashes involving commercial vehicle shot up in Texas . The Midland and Odessa region too has to its name a significant proportion of these accidents.
Motor vehicle-related fatalities in the West Texas counties associated with the Permian Basin swelled by more than 50 percent from 2009-2013. The number of deaths increased by 11 percent in Eagle Ford as well as Barnett Shale counties; according to subtotals, the Houston Chronicle did computing and comparing for each multicounty area based on the Texas Department of Transportation crash data. The data pertaining to the Urban Midland County is no less scary where traffic fatalities registered a whopping 47% increment.
Many Midland and Odessa transportation companies, however, have launched an in-depth and extensive driver training program to uphold the safety standards. You can gain access to inexpensive driving simulation software, track a driver’s progress, prevent speeding, and enforce the seatbelt rule in real time.
The Midland Crash Report
2010: This was the year when the second phase of the oil boom just started and the area had a total of 2,963 accidents that resulted in 835 injuries and 16 deaths.
2011: The traffic kept increasing, and so did the number of accidents. The accidents shot up to 3,279 that resulted in 1,160 injuries and six deaths.
2012: Traffic accidents rose to 3,723 causing 1,100 injuries and 16 deaths.
2013: There was a minor decrease this year and the number of accidents fell to 3 with the death toll clocking 520 and the figure of the injured reaching 1,120.
2014: This was the worst year since the oil boom started. Traffic accidents peaked to 4,013 comprising 1,284 injuries and 24 deaths.
2015: This was again one of the worst years in terms of traffic-related fatalities. 3,602 crashes resulted in 10 deaths and a record 1,317 injuries.
2016: There was a minor reduction in traffic accidents this year that decreased to 3,228 constituting 1,102 injuries and 11 deaths.
In order to keep pace with the freaking boom, oil companies are in dire need of more truck drivers. There are many truck drivers who lost their jobs and are reluctant to return to the industry, resulting in a shortage of truckers. This could pose a real threat to motorists and car owners. The shortage of truckers will force oil companies to hire inexperienced and untrained drivers to meet the demand, but this will only cause the problem of traffic-related accidents to aggravate. Higher oil production will put even more pressure on drivers to deliver oil faster and that would mean skipping the essential rest breaks.
The traffic congestion in the Odessa region has witnessed a spike recently on most of the local routes and interconnecting highways. The problem can be tackled by enforcing stiff safety regulations and increasing the supply of trained drivers. Drivers should be trained to read stop signs, yield signs, traffic lights, and other signals to maintain smooth and safe flow of traffic. Obeying rules can save many lives. Therefore, there’s an urgent need to regulate the shift hours of drivers as fatigue caused by extended driving is responsible for a majority of deaths. Because of longer hours, the risk of falling asleep simply increases.
Following these simple safety measures can reduce the chances of accidents on roads. However, you can’t possibly stay rest assured that others too will drive safely.
In case you are hit because of the mistake of someone else and wondering what to do next, come and talk to us at L.Clayton Burgess. Our experienced attorneys will provide proper consultation. Our initial legal advice is absolutely FREE.
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