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Fatal Accidents Pose a Growing Threat to Motorists Traveling in the Region as Well as Eagle Ford Workers

Reports indicate that workers in the Eagle Ford Shale area are suffering more deadly accidents both on-site and in motor vehicle accidents.

Rise in commercial vehicle accidents

Serious commercial vehicle accidents are also on the rise near oil producing regions, according to The San Antonio Express-News. From 2013 to 2014, fatal motor vehicle accidents in the Eagle Ford Shale region increased 13 percent. In 2014, people sustained serious or fatal injuries in 3,658 accidents, and a total of 272 lives were lost. Various factors could contribute to this heightened risk of accidents, including:

  • Increased traffic from commercial vehicles
  • Road hazards that arise due to accelerated road wear
  • Ongoing construction work

Unsafe behaviors on the part of these drivers, such as speeding, distracted driving, fatigue, hours of service violations and inadequate training, may also raise the risk of accidents between workers and other motorists on the public roadways.

Work in the oil and gas industry introduces various unique dangers, as many people in San Antonio and South Texas know firsthand. Accidents involving heavy machinery, commercial vehicles, fires and explosions are all risks that workers regularly face. Tragically, recent reports indicate that these oil field accidents are claiming an increasing number of lives in the Eagle Ford Shale region and in other parts of Texas.

Dangerous working conditions

The Houston Chronicle reports that, from 2010 to 2014, 44 percent of all oil field worker deaths in the U.S. occurred in Texas. In 2014, half of all of the country's oil field deaths occurred in the state, and many of these were in the Eagle Ford Shale area. The state's 71 reported fatalities represented a troubling 42 percent increase over the number of deaths that were reported in 2013.

This year, the overall number of fatal accidents in the Eagle Ford Shale region and other oil production areas may be lower, as drops in oil pricing have reduced drilling activity. Still, early data shows that over 12 Texas workers have already died. Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn't make open investigations public, so these figures might not represent the total number of deaths that have occurred so far.

Sadly, according to The Houston Chronicle, it's not uncommon for officials to discover safety violations when investigating these fatal accidents. For example, earlier this year, one deadly fire claimed the lives of three workers who were completing an installation near a well. OSHA later cited the company for various dangerous safety violations, including permitting smoking near the well.

Seeking Redress

There is hope that the number of fatal accidents in the Eagle Ford Shale region will drop as activity decreases in this area. However, it is likely that too many workers will continue to suffer serious or even fatal injuries, and too many individuals and families driving on South Texas roadways face dangers that can be caused by 18-wheelers and other commercial company vehicles. In these situations, whether a wreck occurs due to defective equipment, property owner negligence or a motor vehicle crash, victims or their family members may have recourse. A personal injury attorney may be able to advise these individuals further of their rights and options.