Texas has thousands of miles of highway stretching across its vast expanse. We use these roads to get to work, school, and to visit nearby cities and recreational areas. Unfortunately, we must share these roads with hundreds of semi-trucks. This is not a problem when a skilled, alert driver is behind the wheel, but all too often that is not the case. In Texas, we face the additional danger of sharing the roads with dozens of oilfield vehicles, moving from one site to another and hauling loads out of state. At the Button Law Firm, we are especially wary of the hazards these vehicles pose to motorists.
Oilfield Vehicles Endanger Texas Motorists
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), transportation incidents accounted for 40 percent of all oil and gas industry fatalities from 2003 to 2013, making vehicle accidents the leading cause of death in the industry. Why should this fact concern those not working in the industry? Because these fatal accidents are occurring on the public roads we all use on a daily basis. If an inexperienced or fatigued oilfield worker takes a work vehicle on a public highway, he is endangering everyone else on the road. The Button Law Firm is committed to forcing the industry to change in order to protect our citizens.
Why These Vehicles Are Especially Dangerous
Many accidents involving oilfield vehicles are caused by truck driver fatigue. This is because oilfield workers are exempt from some of the federal hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers. While other truck drivers must observe strict drive-time limits and mandatory rest periods, oilfield workers can be expected to drive long distances after working a long shift. Of course, we are concerned for the safety of these workers, but we are also concerned with the safety of the family who happens to be driving home from a Gulf Coast vacation when an oil tanker driver falls asleep at the wheel.
Some of the dangerous vehicles you should be aware of on Texas highways include:
- Pick-up trucks. According to the CDC, over half of the fatal accidents involving oilfield vehicles happened in commercial pick-up trucks, so it is not just the big rigs we need to watch out for.
- Tanker trucks. Tanker trucks are often filled and dispatched late in the day. The driver may have been waiting many hours without access to a proper resting area before driving off late at night. This is a recipe for disaster.
- Winch trucks. These large, awkward vehicles are designed to haul heavy loads, including oil extraction equipment. Not only do they pose a driving risk, but there is also the risk of improperly loaded cargo falling off the rig.
- Vacuum trucks. These vehicles are also large and heavy. They are used to haul water, pump out brine, and in the fracturing process. Like tankers, there is a high risk of these drivers working a long shift and driving off when overly fatigued.
- Swab rigs. A swab rig is a full-sized tractor-trailer with a large crane attached to the bed of the truck. It is used in oil well operations and is often moved from one site to another. The driver also operates the rig when on-site, leaving the potential once again for an exhausted driver at the end of a shift.
Call the Button Law Firm to Handle Your Truck Wreck Claim
If you are injured in a crash with any large truck in the Midland/Odessa area, Russell Button would love to hear from you. Call our office today to schedule a free review of your case.