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Truck Accident Wrap-Up for the Permian Basin

As the price of oil rises, we should expect to see more accidents in the Permian Basin. In 2017, 93 people died in trucking accidents on the Texas side of Route 285, which runs through Pecos, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico. In 2015, the price of oil dropped… and the number of accidents dropped as well.

With demand for oil comes demand for drivers, and many of them make very good money – easily $120,000 a year. With such money comes the incentive to speed, and to keep driving even when  fatigued. These drivers are “young, fearless, and generally inexperienced,” according to an article in The Dallas Morning News. Sinkholes are common, due to the effects of “fracking,” and they can cause crashes as well. Though Texas is working to create better infrastructure to support the oil and gas industries, it takes time.

The Texas Department of Transportation reported that 11% of all accidents in the state for 2017 took place in the Permian Basin, which only houses 2% of the population. There were 1,457 serious injuries, as well as 43,661 vehicle crashes total. The commercial vehicle traffic is being blamed, and no one who works in the area would deny it. TxDOT encourages truckers to follow speed limits and stop for red lights, and reminds other drivers that trucks make wider turns and take longer to stop.

Besides creating congestion, commercial trucks are also wearing out the roads in the Permian Basin. TxDOT is working on a $750-to-$800-million project to expand and repair Interstate 20 in Midland and Ector counties, and in 2018, says it spent $22 million in routine maintenance costs in the Odessa District.

But the problem is largely driver behavior.

According to Gene Powell, TxDOT public information officer for the Odessa District, 33% of wrecks in Texas are caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He also said distractions, speeding, and lack of seatbelts are a problem.

This was illustrated in a fatal head-on crash that occurred July 11, 2019, on New Mexico State Route 128, east of Jal. A pickup truck carrying one driver and three passengers – all Texas oilfield workers – crossed the center line into eastbound traffic and collided with a tractor-trailer. Both vehicles caught fire, and all four men and one woman (the driver of the rig) were pronounced dead at the scene. The responding officer said that it was unclear what caused the crash, but that alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

If you experience a trucking crash in the Permian Basin, you should talk to a no-nonsense attorney who has handled these claims before. Dan Sorey was in law enforcement before turning his attention to personal injury law exclusively. For a free consultation, call (903) 207-5526. The Sorey Law Firm P.L.L.C. accepts cases on a contingency-fee basis and charges no upfront fees. There is a time limit to file a claim, so please call as soon as possible after you’ve suffered a serious injury.