Ryan Loyd, reporting for Texas Public Radio, says that the oil boom in the Eagle Ford Shale – South Texas’s 50-mile wide, 400-mile long fossil-fuel rich swath – is a bittersweet thing for Texans. There are big profits, but also big costs, even human costs.
Eagle Ford Shale-related 18-Wheeler Accident Statistics
The Texas Department of Transportation says that there have been 1,200 18-wheeler accidents in the 19 counties on the Eagle Ford Shale, as Loyd reports, since 2011.
Unfortunately, many of these weren’t just minor accidents.
Out of the 1,200 big rig wrecks, 25 people lost their lives. As long as there’s oil and gas exploration and production, expect more Eagle Ford Shale truck accidents, with the fatal toll likely to keep going up.
Here’s another interesting statistic: there are only seven deputies on hand in one particular county to patrol 1,400 square miles. These deputies face responding to roughly 15 emergency calls on every shift. Loyd quotes La Salle County Deputy Sheriff Jose Garcia: “We’ve had our share of traffic accident fatalities involving 18-wheelers and of course, regular motor vehicles.”
This for a sheriff who used to preside over only a “handful” of emergency calls on any given day, before the oil boom.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Most people would naturally begin to wonder what has caused the 1,200 wrecks involving 18-wheelers (unless, of course, you’re one of those motorists in a car who has had to contend with the traffic).
Generally speaking, there are certain causes of trucking accidents that are a direct result of the oil boom in South Texas. These include:
- Deteriorating, unsafe roads. Much of South Texas farm and county roadway wasn’t built to handle massive amount of traffic. And there are hundreds of trips required for just one hydraulic fracturing well site. The deteriorating roads are making it hazardous for smaller vehicles to travel.
- Truckers hogging lanes. Truck drivers might not be doing it intentionally, but coming upon hogged lanes is a regular occurrence. This makes it difficult for other drivers to see properly. Simply put, the roads weren’t designed for wide loads.
- Speeding and driving while sleepy. Truck drivers seem to be in a rush to get from point A to point B, and many are driving long past the time in which they need rest. It’s called driving while sleepy. It’s also called the “profits over people” mentality, where Loyd quotes an attorney: “In the oil industry, time is money,” which means unsafe driving.
There’s also the question whether trucking companies are following best practices in terms of keeping trucks properly maintained and hiring drivers with safe-driving records. Particularly on the maintenance front, many of the 18-wheelers you find on South Texas roads these days are being driven, and driven hard. In other words, it’s not just the roads that are deteriorating, and creating a menace for other Texans.
Hire the San Antonio, Texas, Lawyers of Tyler & Peery
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in or around the Eagle Ford Shale, consider hiring the attorneys of Tyler & Peery in San Antonio. We’ve been representing seriously injured people and their families since 1990. Call 210-340-0900 or contact us online. We offer free consultations.