Skip to Main Content

Fatal Traffic Crashes Edge Higher in Permian Basin, Other Booming Texas Energy Regions

Texas Oilfield Truck Accident Lawyer | Texas 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer

Traffic fatalities are edging higher in energy-producing regions throughout the Lone Star State, as an unprecedented drilling boom changes driving conditions in many parts of Texas.

In fact, the state’s five biggest oil and gas producers — the Barnett Shale, Eagle Ford Shale, Granite Wash, Haynesville/Bossier Shale, and Permian Basin – saw more than 194,000 highway crashes in 2017.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), those accidents killed 1,614 people and injured 7,422 others, a slight increase over the prior year.

“A booming oil industry means roads are being stressed more,” Gene Powell, TxDOT public information officer for the Odessa District, recently told the Midland Telegraph-Register.

Permian Basin Accounts for 11% of All Texas Traffic Fatalities

Overall, 3,721 people died in motor vehicle crashes across Texas during 2017.

About 11% of the fatalities occurred in the Permian Basin, even though it holds just 2% of the state’s population.

Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol caused 1/3 of the wrecks, while distracted driving caused another third.

Fatigue and speeding also contributed to many accidents, as did the increasing number of heavy trucks hauling equipment and supplies to and from the booming oilfields.

“Death Highway” Runs Right Through the Permian Basin

In fact, nearly a quarter of the fatal Permian Basin crashes involved 18-wheelers and other big rigs.

Most of the deaths occurred along Route 285, the main thoroughfare for oilfield trucks servicing Permian Basin drilling sites.

Dubbed “Death Highway” by locals, the narrow, two-lane road was never intended to carry heavy traffic. With the oilfields booming, however, 10,000 commercial trucks and other vehicles now travel Route 285 every day.

Due to a severe driver shortage, many of the truck drivers navigating “Death Highway” are young, inexperienced, overworked, and fatigued.

$3.4 Billion for Permian Basin Road Improvements

To combat the problem, TxDOT is focusing its annual “Be Safe. Drive Smart” campaign on the energy-producing regions that cover over half of the state’s 254 counties.

“We’re reminding people that trucks take longer to take off and take wider turns,” Powell said. “We’re also reminding professional drivers — don’t speed and stop completely at red lights and stop signs.”

Additionally, the state recently earmarked $3.4 billion for Permian Basin road improvements over the next decade.

Undefeated Oilfield Truck Accident Lawyers with Over $1 Billion Won. Call 1-888-603-3636 or CLICK HERE for a Free Consultation.

Our Undefeated Oilfield Truck Accident Lawyers have won over $1 billion for our clients, including hundreds of people in Texas, Louisiana, and across the United States injured or tragically killed in connection with oilfield truck crashes and other motor vehicle accidents.

Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients for a contingency fee, you’ll pay nothing unless we win your case.