The oil boom that is currently happening in West Texas along the Permian Basin may be a boon for large portions of the economy, but it hasn’t come without certain consequences. Due to the large prevalence of trucks on the road, motor vehicle accidents have risen steadily, with the Texas Department of Transportation reporting that the Permian Basin area saw a “13 percent increase in roadway fatalities between 2012 and 2013.” Additionally, according to the same reports, a “7 percent increase in fatal and serious injury crashes” occurred in a 26-county region that reaches from Madisonville to Laredo.
Causes of the Accidents in West Texas
Obviously, the increase in road traffic alone will have a direct impact on the total number of traffic accidents. Although this may be partly to blame in West Texas, other factors may also be at play. According to a recent article published in StateImpact Texas, some members of a victim rights’ coalition in Midland point to the presence of what they call the “3 D’s” – drinking, drugs and distracted driving. This alludes to the fact that the large amounts of trucks on the road are being poorly staffed; although, this has yet to be corroborated by any factual evidence in the article. Regardless of the cause of the increase in accidents and fatalities on West Texas roads, authorities are hoping to curb it as quickly as possible.
Tactics Employed to Lower Accident Rates
Naturally, this prevalence of accidents poses a problem for those looking to capitalize on the presence of oil that has turned many sleepy Texas towns into national symbols of profit. It also presents a massive obstacle for the government of Texas, which is currently in the process of testing out certain tactics in hopes of driving down the number of wrecks.
In order to deal with the problem, Texas has launched Be Safe Drive Smart, a public education campaign aimed at reminding drivers to use caution and safety when moving through areas associated with the energy industry.
Furthermore, an extra police presence may also be a tactic used in certain Texas counties, in hopes that this will quell the rising amount of accidents. The sheriff of Midland County, Gary Painter, has said that “high visibility is the only thing that [he] can think of that will slow people down,” alluding to the fact that more law enforcement may be the necessary approach to decrease the amount of wrecks and fatalities on West Texas roads.
Be Safe by Driving Smart
Unfortunately, due to the oil boom that parts of West Texas have experienced, coupled with the short window of time in which it occurred, the once tranquil roads have now become overrun with truck drivers and other energy sector workers, leading to a large boost in accident rates. As of yet, there has not been much success in finding a way to keep Texas drivers safe while on these increasingly congested roads.
If you’re a West Texas native or if you find yourself traveling on West Texas highways then it’s important that you understand the obstacles you may face, and that you stay safe over the course of your trip by driving smart at all times.
If you’ve been one of the unfortunate many to have been injured in a West Texas accident or if you know someone who has, contact Tate Law Offices today by calling 888-662-3892, filling out a contact form or chatting with an agent.