On January 15, five oil field workers were killed after their van collided
with an oil tanker. According to witnesses, the oil tanker swerved to
avoid a pickup truck turning left off of the highway, which caused the
tanker to roll over on its side. Two vehicles that were trailing the tanker,
including the van carrying the five deceased workers, struck the oil tanker,
which burst into flames in a matter of seconds. In addition to the five
fatalities, three other passengers were injured during the accident. One
remains in critical condition after suffering burns to 85% of his body.
The driver of the oil tanker suffered minor injuries.
The accident occurred on Highway 83 in Dimmit County, Texas. Dimmit County
is located southwest of San Antonio, near the Mexican border. Dimmitt
County and the surrounding areas have seen a large increase in oil production
over the past five years as fracking has gained steam on the Eagle Ford Shale.
Increased Shale Production Leads to Increased Traffic Fatalities
The increase in oil production has brought an influx of oil tankers and
other large commercial vehicles to the region. Because of the heavy traffic
and outdated highway system, the region has also experienced a dramatic
increase in the number of fatal truck accidents.
According to a 2012 report published by the Houston Chronicle, there were
12 fatal accidents in Karnes County, Texas over a 6 month timeframe.
Comparatively, Karnes County only experienced one fatal traffic accident
in all of 2008, the year preceding the Eagle Ford shale oil boom. The
Chronicle report stated that many of the accidents were caused by driver
fatigue after oil workers would work 20 hour shifts or longer and then
fall asleep on their way home.
The rise in fatal accidents is not limited to the Eagle Ford shale area.
North Dakota's Bakken shale has seen a 350% increase in the number
of fatal truck accidents since it began producing oil and gas roughly
ten years ago.
Injured in a work-related truck accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a
work-related truck accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced attorney as quickly
as possible. Arnold & Itkin's truck accident attorneys have a
wealth of experience and knowledge going toe-to-toe against some of the
Contact us today to learn how we can help you receive compensation for the injuries you suffered.