Since the Eagle Ford Shale exploration started in 2008, the region has experienced huge economic growth. With that growth there has been an influx of workers moving into the area for the oil and gas exploration boom. Along with that came an increase in 18-wheeler rigs hauling heavy equipment and supplies, which the narrow, two lane county roads and state highways simply cannot handle. Under the heavy traffic, the roadways are deteriorating and the numbers of fatal accidents are continuing to rise.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS), the region has experienced a dramatic increase in fatal accidents. Karnes County, which is in the middle of the exploration area, has seen a whopping 1,440% increase in accidents involving commercial vehicles from 2008 to 2012. McMullen County saw its commercial vehicle accidents shoot up 1,050% and La Salle County had a 418% increase. Frio County had six fatal accidents in 2011, compared to only one in 2010. Most counties have seen fatal accidents rise ten times.
The heavy traffic to which the two lane county and state highways are being exposed is taking its toll. The roadways have been torn up by the massive 80,000 plus pound 18-wheelers, leaving potholes, uneven pavement and deplorable road conditions. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Trooper Richard Standifer, said that the increased numbers in highway deaths was definitely attributable to the situations existing in the Eagle Ford Shale Region.
Combined with the deteriorating roadways, there is concern that other contributing factors are involved in both the number of accidents and fatalities. For example, the drivers of the 18-wheelers are working 16 hour shifts for weeks at a time causing sleep deprivation, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, exhaustion, inability to concentrate, driving too fast and bouts of road rage. The combination of a fatigued driver and a big rig traveling down an uneven road filled with potholes at 65 or 75 miles per hour next to an unprepared driver of a 3,000 pound passenger vehicle is lethal. Any swerve due to inattention, texting, talking on the phone or trying to avoid a pothole can prove to be fatal. Make no mistake about it, when there is an accident between any type of passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler, the resulting damages and injuries are usually catastrophic and often fatal.
For now, the combination of increased traffic, damaged roadways, fatigued drivers and the constant pressure of deadlines has made travel in the Eagle Ford Shale Region one of the deadliest in the country. While locals are enjoying seeing their local economy boom, they must face the downside as well.
If you or someone you know was seriously injured or lost a loved one in a collision with an 18-wheeler, you need to seek the advice of an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer with a proven track record.
Carabin Shaw is a San Antonio based law firm that has represented clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries or lost loved ones in tractor-trailer accidents throughout the State of Texas.
Contact us through our website or call us direct on our toll free line (800) 862-1260 for a confidential, no obligation consultation. All cases are handled on a contingency basis so that you owe us no fee unless we make a recovery for you.
Eagle Ford Shale: The Good, Bad, and Ugly – Traffic Accidents Increase Significantly, Eagle Pass Business Journal, Article by Jose G. Landa, October 6, 2012
Related Blog Posts:
FMCSA Makes Improvements to Compliance Safety Accountability Enforcement Program in Texas, Throughout Nation, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, August 28, 2012
NHTSA Proposal Would Require 18 Wheelers to Install Stability Control Systems, Texas injury lawyers blog, May 8, 2012