Is Increase in Fracking Causing Increase in Trucking Wreck Fatalities?
There has been a sharp increase in the amount of triple-tragedy vehicle accidents that have occurred on Texas highways. Triple-tragedy is the term used to describe vehicle accidents that caused the death of three or more people. Many in the state are pointing to the increase in fracking as the cause for the spike in accident fatalities. Hydraulic fracking, also referred to as fracking, is the process of extracting oil and gas from shale reservoirs that are located a mile or more below the earth’s service. In the process, large amounts of water and sand are pumped into the reservoir, which creates cracks in the rock and allows the removal of the oil or gas. Over the past several years, there has been a boom in the fracking industry. According to the latest reports, the United States now surpasses both Russia and Saudi Arabia in oil production. Along with the massive production in oil, however, comes the amount of tractor-trailer trucks on highways, transporting all that oil. According to statistics, over the past few years, almost every Texas highway has had an increase in triple-tragedy accident. In 2012, there were 101 deaths in triple-tragedy accidents. That number jumped to 148 last year. And as of mid-July, there had already been 81 deaths. The most deadly Texas highway is Interstate 20, which has had 13 triple-tragedy accidents since 2010. According the Live Oak County Sheriff, the highway is now referred to as “death row” because of the high number of fatal truck accidents. Some of the reasons cited for the number of accidents include:
- The increased number of inexperienced drivers behind the wheel of the tractor trailers transporting the oil and gas from fracking sites;
- Fatigue of employees, with many fracking companies requiring 24 hour work days;
- Failure of fracking companies to inspect and maintain company vehicles in good shape;
- Failure to secure cargo loads properly; and
- Impaired or distracted driving.
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