A recent investigation by The Frontier and News On 6 revealed that 36 people in Oklahoma have died in oilfield wastewater and equipment trucks since 2007. Of the 350 oilfield trucking companies licensed in the state, seven percent have had their drivers involved in deadly accidents. An addition, 54 people were injured in accidents with oilfield trucks in a two-year period.
Although many people assume that oil rig jobs are the most dangerous in the energy industry, statistics show that moving product and equipment away from the job site causes the most injuries. Between 2003 and 2008, there were 650 fatalities of oil field workers nationwide, with 33% of those deaths attributed to oil field trucking accidents.
Causes of Oilfield Trucking Accidents
What makes oilfield trucking so dangerous? The biggest factor is fatigue. Over 55% of oilfield trucking accidents involve one vehicle swerving off the road, often killing the driver or the passenger. One-vehicle accidents are usually the result of the driver falling asleep.
Oil workers are under pressure to work 20-hour shifts. Although truckers in other industries are required to take 34-hour restart breaks after every 70 consecutive hours of work, that regulation does not apply to oilfield truckers. An oilfield exemption allows oilfield truckers to work even longer hours, and that means truckers often only get 24-hour breaks after 70 working hours. This is a recipe for a dangerously tired driver.
Other causes of Oklahoma oilfield truck accidents include trucks that are thousands of pounds overweight, equipment failure, and failure to test drivers for alcohol and drugs. But according to the Oklahoma Trucking Association, driver behavior represents 87% of accidents, rather than vehicle defects.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rates trucking companies on safety. The report revealed that of the 24 companies involved in deadly crashes in Oklahoma, seven companies have been given “conditional” ratings - the lowest rating a company can have and still be licensed to operate in the state.
Truck Accidents Can Be Avoided
The News On 6 investigation revealed that most of these deadly accidents can be avoided by enforcement of safety testing by trucking companies. When trucking companies skip safety testing or don’t give truckers enough rest time, the results can be catastrophic. For example, one Oklahoma motorist sued an oilfield trucking company after a tractor-trailer that was 6,000 pounds overweight demolished the man’s vehicle. The truck driver also ran a stop sign. This left the man with a traumatic brain injury, which has lifelong consequences.
Call An Oklahoma Trucking Accident Lawyer
Oklahoma drivers and their passengers have a right to expect safety when sharing the road with oilfield trucks. When there is an accident, the results can completely change, or end, a person’s life. If you have been injured in an accident with an oilfield truck and that accident was not your fault, you should contact an Oklahoma trucking lawyer. By calling our office, you will speak with an experienced tractor trailer lawyer who can investigate your case and fight for your rights. Call office at 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) to speak with one of our Oklahoma trucking accident lawyers. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.