DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Increased natural gas fracking has led to a spike in fatal commercial motor vehicles accidents in Texas, reports the national law firm of Baron and Budd. According to statistics recently released by the Texas Department of Transportation, the number of fatalities has increased 50 percent since 2009. Statistics also show accidents resulting in multiple fatalities have more than doubled since 2009.
“We are incredibly concerned with this dramatic increase in fatal crashes, which is part of the reason why we decided to step up and help people who have been seriously harmed by large truck accidents,” said Kirsten Soto, truck accident lawyer at Baron and Budd. “Our firm will fight for those who have suffered tragic losses due to the negligence of others who placed priority on profits instead of public safety.”
Fracking, the process of extracting natural gas and petroleum from rock formations, has grown exponentially throughout the state in recent years. Many observers believe the increase in natural gas operations has led to several tragic incidents that have cost lives and led to serious injuries. Areas that have seen the most substantial increases in fatal accidents are those where fracking has been the most prevalent.
Federal regulations require trucking companies to monitor how many hours their drivers are behind the wheel. These regulations, however, have been modified for drivers who exclusively work for oil and gas companies. Drivers are allowed to take fewer breaks, work longer hours, and become extremely fatigued as a result.
For example, truck drivers are typically required to rest for 34 hours. This includes two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., at the end of their workweek. But oil and gas truck drivers only have to take 24 hours. In addition, drivers are only allowed to work 14 consecutive hours before they must take a 10-hour rest break. However, while most other drivers have to log the time they spend waiting to pick up loads as “on-duty” time, oil and gas drivers can log that time as “off-duty” time. This is not counted toward their 14-hour limit.
Many oil and gas companies do not have a fleet of trucks, so they often call on trucking companies to supply the vehicles and drivers needed to supply water, take away debris and mud, and carry heavy equipment. Oil and gas companies often don’t have time to check a trucking provider’s safety record because they are under restrictive deadlines. Trucking companies that don’t take proper safety precautions are, therefore, able to continue to operate because demand is so high.
Another contributing cause to an increase in fatal accidents is increased traffic on rural roads not designed to handle these types of loads. Narrow, rural roads are filled with trucks throughout the day and night and many truckers are unfamiliar with them. This often leads to an increase in danger for local residents, their passengers and pedestrians.
If you or someone you known has been seriously hurt or killed due to a commercial vehicle accident caused by negligence, the national law firm of Baron and Budd may be able to help. Please call 866-844-4556 or visit our website to see if you qualify for a lawsuit: http://baronandbudd.com/areas-of-practice/auto-and-road-safety/trucking-accident-lawyer/.
About Baron & Budd, P.C.
The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with almost four decades of experience "Protecting What’s Right" for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals, governmental and business entities in areas as diverse as PCB contamination in schools, FLSA (overtime) violations, pharmaceutical and medical implant injuries, water contamination, GM ignition problems, California Proposition 65 violations, mortgage and credit card fraud and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.