San Antonio and the Eagle Ford Shale oil producing counties to the south have experienced a surge in employment opportunities. Along with the economic growth, however, came an increase in heavy truck traffic in the area, resulting in a significant rise in car and truck accidents. Approximately 40 percent of all workplace deaths in the nation were attributed to transportation accidents in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also reported that Texas has the highest number of workplace deaths, per capita, in the United States, largely because of the oilfields. Due to these alarming statistics, the Texas Department of Transportation is urging all motorists to drive carefully on state roadways.
A deadly problem
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a national decrease in the number of fatal workplace accidents that occurred from 2012 to 2013, Texas showed an increase in the number of traffic accidents that took place during that time. In the Eagle Ford Shale energy area alone, the number of auto accidents increased by 7 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the Texas DOT. Out of the 3,450 devastating traffic accidents that occurred in 2013, 238 accidents involved fatalities.
Leading causes of Texas traffic accidents
According to the Texas DOT and law enforcement officials, speeding and distracted driving are the most common causes of auto collisions in the area. Trucks that are in operation despite safety and equipment violations also put motorists’ lives at risk.
Eagle Ford Shale is not the only oil-producing area to see tragic car and truck accidents. A commercial truck belonging to a trucking company, which was ordered by the Texas Department of Public Safety to shut down operations due to a long string of safety violations, was recently involved in the untimely death of a Texas mother. According to NPR, the woman was driving near East Houston’s refineries when a semi-truck smashed into her car after running a red light.
Truck driver fatigue is another common cause of many accidents that occur near the oilfields. After working 12 to 20-hour days, workers must drive for an hour or more before reaching their hotels. A number of workers have fallen asleep at the wheel while driving along Highway 72, which links Eagle Ford Shale to the other towns surrounding San Antonio, according to The Houston Chronicle. This puts residents of those towns and other oilfield workers at risk of suffering severe injury.
Why is legal action necessary?
Texans who have been involved in a serious truck accident should consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney to represent their case. Truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, including brain damage and paralysis. Not only can these injuries affect your ability to work, but they can also decrease your overall quality of life. An attorney can help you get compensation for your medical treatment, property damage and lost wages from time taken off of work. By taking action against a negligent truck driver or trucking company, you may be saving the life of another motorist.