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Does Fracking Cause More Car and Truck Accidents in Texas?

Is franking causing car and truck accidents? According to an Associated Press report showing an analysis of traffic deaths and U.S. census data in six drilling states shows that in some places, fatalities have more than quadrupled since 2004. News reports are spreading the alleged connection. However, is this just another attempt to add to the negativity surrounding fracking? According to police authorities Karnes County, Texas, they have been overwhelmed by the surge in serious accidents.

 Could that be because of population growth in the area and perhaps fatigued drivers or additional drunk drivers on the road?

When there is industry growth, there is also often population growth. The energy industry acknowledges the increase of accidents, which is why traffic agencies and oil companies should take steps to educate employees and improve safety. There is an energy boom in Texas as the result new drilling technology. This in turn has created jobs and lifted local economies. Crashes often increase when the volume of traffic goes up, whether because of an improving economy, new construction or more people traveling into the area. Not all of the crashes in south and west Texas involved trucks from drilling projects. When the accidents involve company vehicles, these vehicles often involve larger truck accidents and may result in larger injuries. 

 This boom is different from those of the past because of the hydraulic-fracturing process, which extracts oil and gas by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals. It requires 2,300 to 4,000 truck trips per well to deliver those fluids. Older drilling techniques needed one-third to one-half as many trips.

 Vehicle crashes are the single biggest cause of fatalities to oil and gas workers, according to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Truck drivers aren't the only ones getting blamed. In many cases, accident investigators found that motorists got impatient while following big trucks and took risks that led to accidents, such as passing on hills or curves. In these situations, the family of the deceased victim may have a wrongful death case.

But are we to blame fracking? What about the development of Silicon Valley? Computer technology and its development and rapid growth definitely grew Silicon Valley into what it is today. When this neighborhood of technology grew, didn't the amount of accidents grow as well? Perhaps franking is not to blame, but instead any kind of growth that increases the population and traffic in a certain area.

- Article by Richard D. Weaver, a personal injury lawyer based out of Houston, Texas.

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