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Surging Fracking Industry in Texas Brings Boom in Car Accidents

  • The fracking industry is going strong in Texas, and no better example of the increase in fracking business exists than that of Loving County. Loving County, Texas, has seen a huge increase in the oil fracking business, bringing more jobs, economic opportunity and people to the area.


    But there is a darker side to the success of the fracking business in this county in the Permian Basin, an area rich in oil in West Texas and southeast New Mexico: a 400% increase in car and truck accidents in Loving County since 2015.


    Locals say that every day up to 10,000 cars, trucks and oil trucks barrel along US Route 285 through the town of Loving, which is home to a mere 135 people. This two-lane road has become a public hazard, one that is so dangerous that the local sheriff says he will not drive it unless he is in his police cruiser.


    According to Sheriff Chris Busse, how can the county with the least number of people in the lower 48 states still have over 10,000 vehicles going up and down the roadways here? He argues that the state needs to crack down to reduce the number of deadly auto accidents that are occurring due to the increase in fracking traffic. Car accident lawyers are finding more business than ever in these areas, as injured drivers demand compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.


    Prior to the oil fracking boom, Loving County was a quiet place of dry arroyos, mesquite bushes, small towns and ranches. Now, the landscape is dotted with pumpjacks, fracking jobsites, tank batteries and wastewater disposal sites.


    The vast increase in the number of oil workers, which has caused a doubling of the population of some towns, has caused housing prices to soar. The cost of living has gone up well beyond what is affordable for people who are not working in the oil business.


    Because Loving County is so sparsely populated, it does not have its own police, EMS or fire services. So, it is not properly equipped to handle the increase in traffic. While they get assistance from the town of Pecos and the Texas state public safety department, this assistance is often not available until hours after a serious accident.


    There have been seven traffic deaths in Loving County so far this year, which is alarming, considering so few people live here. Busse says the accidents were caused by speeding, fatigue, distraction and drugs.


    Various cities and towns across the Permian Basin are facing challenges with the rising traffic and car accidents. For example, in Jal, a town of 2,000 people in Lea County, oil workers have doubled the town’s population. This has overwhelmed the housing stock of Jal, and there have been more car accidents this year than ever on record.


    Oil Tanker Trucks Found to Be Unfit for the Road


    Another serious traffic-related problem with the oil fracking boom in West Texas: State troopers have found approximately 30% of the trucks operating in Texas should not even be on the road because of serious safety deficiencies. Some of these problems include bad brakes and intoxicated truck drivers. Also, the number of trucks in Texas that do not meet state and federal safety standards is increasing. The idea of big rig oil trucks roaring up and down these small, two-lane highways with poor brakes and other safety violations is alarming to residents and Texas safety officials.


    If you live in one of the oil fracking boom areas of West Texas and have been injured in a car accident, it is recommended that you hire a good car accident lawyer to represent your interests. If you were hurt by a commercial truck or vehicle in the oil business, there are large insurance policies covering those vehicles. People who have suffered serious injuries could sue the truck driver and/or the trucking company and obtain compensation for their injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.