The Odessa District ranked first out of the state’s 25 Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) districts in the number of fatal commercial motor vehicle crashes, Houston Public Media reported. Even though the Odessa District only about accounts for 1.5 percent of the state population, it accounted for 15 percent of the total fatal commercial motor vehicle crashes.
The Odessa District ranked sixth out of all districts when it came to the total number of fatal crashes, behind the five most populous cities in Texas: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Austin.
The increase in fatalities may be related to an increase in oil prices, the Midland Reporter-Telegram (MRT) reported, citing a reduction in deaths in 2015 before a surge last year. The newspaper reported that the 93 people were killed in truck accidents in 2017 on the Texas-side of the Permian Basin alone – a 43 percent increase from 2012.
What Is the Permian Basin Near Odessa?
The Permian Basin encompasses an area approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long, composed of over 7,000 fields, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) states. The Permian Basin produces more than 1 million barrels of oil every day and accounts for 20 percent of production in the lower 48 states, 68 percent of Texas’ total production, and 80 percent of Texas’ reserves, according to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UT Permian Basin).
The Permian region accounted for 4,136,000 barrels a day in oil production and 14,117 million cubic feet of gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Both totals were the most of any of the seven tracked regions.
Why Are Truck Crashes Increasing in the Odessa Area?
One major reason that truck accidents are becoming more common is because of a nationwide truck driver shortage in conjunction with a surge in oil prices and production.
As companies become more desperate to recruit and train new drivers to meet the increasing demand for transporting oil, they have turned to less experienced drivers who are being asked to learn on the job when it comes to operating large commercial vehicles. In some cases, experienced drivers may be overworked due to the demands of their employer, which puts tired and possibly drowsy drivers behind the wheel.
The speeds trucks travel is also a factor in many crashes. The Texas Transportation Commission approved a request in December 2018 to lower five speed limits in the Odessa District. The five highways included multiple stretches of U.S. Route 285, locals refer to as “Death Highway” because of the number of fatalities there in recent years.
Common Causes of Accidents Involving Oil Trucks
Some truck drivers are working very hard during the oil surge, with the Midland Reporter-Telegram reporting drivers could “easily rake in $120,000 a year.” The longer hours some drivers are putting in certainly take their toll though.
Driver fatigue has long been a common cause of many commercial truck accidents, and it is certainly a factor in a number of truck crashes in the Odessa area.
Other common causes of truck accidents are distracted driving, intoxicated driving, aggressive driving, poor vehicle maintenance, among others.
How Can Tate Law Offices Help Me?
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a truck wreck in Odessa or a surrounding community in West Texas? Contact Tate Law Offices, PC as soon as possible to discuss your case with an Odessa truck accident lawyer today. Contact us now to set up a free consultation.