Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) July 24, 2014 — A spike in traffic accidents has been attributed to the growing number of large trucks hauling drilling equipment and fracking waste on U.S. streets.
According to a report by the Associated Press, U.S. census data shows that traffic deaths have grown more than four-fold from 2004 rates in areas experiencing a boom from the fracking industry.
These death rates have risen steadily even as road conditions and vehicle safety continue to improve. In growing fracking communities like Karnes County, Texas, for example, the sheriff has said the department has been “swamped” by the numbers of serious accidents being reported.
For its part, the fracking industry has acknowledged the rise in accidents and is working with traffic agencies to find a way to curb these numbers.
“Safety on the road should be everyone’s first priority,” said David Lietz, a personal injury and wrongful death attorney with the Lietz Law Firm in Washington, D.C. “Especially for these large trucks hauling drilling equipment, every safety precaution imaginable is important. The industry needs to guarantee that its presence on the roads doesn’t lead to tragedies for others in the community.”
A quick and easy solution isn’t expected. The booming fracking industry is bringing badly needed jobs to many local economies. But the high level of drilling activity creates a steady flood of traffic. The resulting jams include large trucks carrying heavy loads and impatient motorists dealing with increasingly congested roads. Experts say that this combination is leading to the alarming rise in traffic accidents.
In North Dakota drilling counties, the population has increased by 43 percent over the last 10 years, but traffic fatalities have increased by an alarming 350 percent. In one drilling area in Texas, drivers were 2.5 times more likely to die in a car crash than they were in non-fracking-related areas of the state. Traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania drilling communities rose by 4 percent from 2009 to 2013, while in the rest of the state, fatal car accidents fell 19 percent during the same period.
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