Fracking Related Truck and Transportation Accidents
Car and truck accidents are the leading cause of injury and death for healthy, young Americans, and a leading cause of injury even in the high-risk field of construction. So it’s no surprise that transportation accidents are another serious risk posed by fracking—to the job site’s neighbors as well as to the workers themselves. A fracking site requires people and equipment to come and go often. In fact, because fracking requires thousands of gallons of water and other liquids, job sites typically see far more truck traffic than other drilling operations. Time constraints sometimes mean the work happens in bad weather or on very long days, leading to fatigue and bad judgment. And fracking truck accidents also pose a risk of toxic spills.
Like any auto accident, a fracking truck crash can be deadly on its own. Fracking requires heavy machinery, and those heavy machines can cause grave injuries when they crash into another vehicle or a person. This is a risk not only to members of the community who share the roads with the fracking workers, but also to the workers themselves. All workplaces are required to meet state and federal safety standards, but some employers ignore those standards because it’s easier—or less expensive—than following the law. As a result, workers on foot may be placed in harm’s way, and drivers may be unsafe because they’re overly fatigued, overloaded or given unsafe equipment.
The situation is made worse by the fact that construction workers are not bound by the same safety rules affecting interstate truckers. You may have heard that commercial truckers have to follow certain rules about how long they may drive. Incredibly, those rules do not apply to drivers working for the energy industry. Thus, even though they may be hauling highly flammable gas or toxic chemicals, these drivers can be asked to operate very heavy vehicles even after they’ve already been at work past a normal eight-hour day. This is especially true when the employer has trouble hiring enough people during an energy “boom”; some may simply ask their workers to stay at work longer. Drivers may feel pressured to say yes against their better judgment because they need the jobs.
But even a semi truck crash—which involves much heavier vehicles than an ordinary car wreck—can be made worse when it’s on a fracking job site. That’s because fracking job sites all involve dangerous brews of fracking chemicals and wastewater, as well as gas pipelines that could rupture. In a crash, that means the workers and neighbors involved run the risk of a highly toxic spill or a catastrophic explosion. Fracking chemical spills can enter the groundwater or nearby streams, creating a risk to people, pets, livestock and wildlife, as well as the environment as a whole. That’s a threat not only to the health of everyone nearby, but also the livelihoods of those who depend on the land. And of course, a gas explosion can kill or permanently injure everyone in the vicinity.
Trucking accidents cause death and catastrophic, permanent disabilities. Fracking truck crashes add the risk of toxic spills and explosions to that list. If you or someone you love was hurt in a trucking accident involving the fracking industry, don’t wait to call Rosenbaum & Associates to discuss your legal options. You can reach us at 1-800-7-LEGAL-7 or send us an email.