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Truck accidents and the fracking industry: two Texas cases

We don't often write in this blog about the type of cargo truckers carry. Instead, we focus mainly on factors such as fatigue and distraction that can affect driver performance and result in truck accidents.

In many areas of the country, however, there is a relatively new type of cargo that is having a major impact upon the entire trucking industry. This cargo consists of various materials used in the booming hydraulic fracturing industry.

Texas is no exception to this national trend. The use of hydraulic fracturing - known as fracking - to get at gas and oil under the ground has put many trucks on the road. And sometimes those trucks get into accidents.

Many people are aware that fracking companies use sand to break up rock formations and facilitate the extraction of oil or natural gas. But the fracking companies also use water in this process.

In one recent Texas truck accident case, a semitrailer hauling water to a fracking site became stopped on a road near Carthage one day in June of 2011. The stopped truck had neither turn signals nor flashing lights on, and it was blocking the road.

Another vehicle crashed into the stopped truck, seriously injuring the driver of the other vehicle. Last week, the trucking company agreed to settle a personal injury lawsuit brought by that driver. The settlement amount was $8.7 million.

This was reportedly the largest settlement in the history of Panola County. But it was not the only multi-million dollar settlement announced this month of a lawsuit against a trucking company in the fracking industry.

The other settlement was of a lawsuit that followed a truck crash that occurred in September 2011. In that crash, a man suffered severe brain damage when his vehicle was hit by a truck hauling water for the fracking industry.

Evidence indicated that the water truck had made an illegal U-turn. The case was settled two weeks ago for $3 million.

Source: Truckinginfo, "Two Texas Truck Wreck Lawsuits Settled for $11.7 Million," June 27, 2013

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