On January 15, 2015, five employees of a nearby oil field died as a result of being involved in a multiple vehicle crash in South Texas. The five men ranged from 21 to 65 years old, and they are the latest victims of a shockingly large increase in traffic fatalities in the Eagle Ford Shale area. Experts have linked the escalating amount of accidents to the fracking and drilling operations that are becoming increasingly common throughout this portion of the state. Tragically, an increase in profits for some companies has left many families mourning their loved ones. A Texas truck accident lawyer can help them receive some financial restitution, but this could never make up for the loss of a life.
What Caused This Deadly Accident?
According to media reports, the catalyst for the four vehicle pileup was an oil tanker that lost control after hitting a pickup truck. The oil tanker fell onto its side at approximately 7 a.m. on U.S. 83, and two other vehicles slammed into it. The collision caused both of those vehicles to burst into flames, and five men who had been traveling together in a van were all pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the pickup truck that was initially hit by the oil tanker survived the incident, but he is currently at the San Antonio hospital receiving treatment for burns that cover 80 percent of his body.
In a situation like this one, it is common for everyone involved to contact a local lawyer. For example, if a similar accident took place in Houston, any injured individuals would want to secure the assistance of a Houston personal injury attorney. Taking this step is the best way to recover medical expenses and any applicable lost wages.
Why Are Accidents Increasing in South Texas?
As previously mentioned, experts believe that the increasingly popular drilling and fracking industries are instrumental in the rise in deadly accidents within the area that is known as Eagle Ford Shale. Statistics back up this viewpoint, and it is shocking to discover just how many fatalities have occurred in the area. To make matters even worse, most of these accidents have involved the deaths of three or more people. In 2010, there were 72 deaths in Eagle Ford Shale that happened during an accident that met this criterion. By 2013, this number had ballooned to 148.
In many cases, truck drivers are involved in these fatal crashes, and this makes sense when you consider how many oil tankers and other large vehicles are needed to transport materials. Truck drivers are more likely to survive a deadly accident, but this leaves them needing to take steps to protect themselves legally. Lawyers throughout the state have become busier due to these incidents, including those who work exclusively as a Houston truck accident attorney.
What is Being Done to Improve Traffic Safety in Eagle Ford Shale?
The Texas Department of Transportation and local law enforcement officials are taking steps to minimize the amount of accidents that occur in the Eagle Ford Shale area. They have determined that U.S. 83 in Dimmitt and northern Webb counties has experienced the biggest upswing in traffic due to nearby drilling and fracking operations. This knowledge makes it easier to have a stronger police presence in place, and it also enabled the state to approve the improvement of road additions that could reduce accidents.
U.S. 83 and parts of U.S. 277 now have short-term passing lanes in place, and officials believe that this will minimize issues that are caused by slow-moving vehicles. In the meantime, it is important for anyone who is driving through the Eagle Ford Shale area to be extra cautious.