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Areas Producing Oil and Gas in Texas See More Fatal Crashes

Posted on December 18, 2019

Oil and gas production (along with other energy jobs) make up a huge part of our state’s employment infrastructure. Texas has a high concentration of energy employment, with 598,908 energy workers statewide. These workers constitute 17.8% of all U.S. energy jobs. And as more natural resources are discovered and harvested, the need for vehicles to transport workers, materials, supplies, and equipment only continues to increase.

Dramatic increases in roadway traffic in some of Texas’ more rural areas have resulted in a corresponding increase in fatal crashes, particularly in these energy-producing areas. In 2018, 1,673 people lost their lives while driving through one of Texas’ five largest oil and gas regions, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). These crashes represent about half of all traffic fatalities in the state. These deaths highlight one of the downsides of the profitable Texas energy sector that boosts our state’s economy.

The Five Biggest Shale Plays in Texas

Texas is home to five of the top shale plays – or groups of oil fields in the same geographic region – in the entire United States. These include the following, along with their 2018 traffic accident statistics:

  • Barnett Shale: 109,597 traffic crashes resulted in 710 fatalities and 3,400 serious injuries.
  • Eagle Ford Shale: 710 fatalities and 3,400 serious injuries reported.
  • Granite Wash: 8,674 traffic crashes resulted in 86 fatalities and 324 serious injuries.
  • Haynesville Shale / Boosier Shale: 9,512 traffic crashes resulted in 134 fatalities and 352 serious injuries.
  • Permian Basin: 485 highway deaths and 1,321 serious injuries, representing an increase in fatal crashes of 20% over 2017.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) data shows speeding as the top cause of roadway crashes in Texas, with distracted driving a close second. While driver negligence remains the most likely cause of an accident, the roads of rural Texas are simply not set up to handle the amount of increased traffic the energy industry creates. Because much of the oil and gas production takes place in rural Texas, the roads were not built to accommodate this level of commercial traffic, particularly the much larger and heavier vehicles.

In response, TxDOT launched a public education initiative called “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” aimed at road safety in the state’s energy-producing regions. Sample tips include:

  • Drivers and passengers should always buckle their seatbelts.
  • Drivers should take into account the amount of traffic, road conditions, and weather when selecting their driving speed.
  • Drivers should put their phones away, neither talking nor texting when behind the wheel.
  • Give large trucks plenty of space, and pass only when it’s safe and legal to do so.
  • Obey stop signs and traffic signals.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Oil and Gas Accident Lawyers

If you were injured in an accident in or near the Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin, or another Texas shale play, Craft Law Firm can help. Our trial lawyers have years of experience successfully resolving personal injury and wrongful death cases against large corporations responsible for injuring individuals and families.

Contact us today for a free and confidential initial consultation so we can review the facts of your case and begin our time-sensitive critical investigation as soon as possible. Personal injury cases must be brought within a specific time period, so it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.