The booming fracking industry has contributed to a spike in a little-known effect on U.S. roads; it has increased the number of traffic accidents as streets are filled with giant trucks hauling large drilling equipment and fracking waste.
The Associated Press reported that its analysis of U.S. census data and traffic deaths in six drilling states indicates that in some locations, the fatalities have grown more than fourfold since 2004- a time when roads have become safer despite population expansion.
“We are just so swamped,” said Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva of Karnes County, Texas, where there has been an upsurge in the number of fatal accidents.
The energy industry accepts that there is a problem, and oil companies and traffic agencies said they are rolling out measures to improve road safety. However, no one is of opinion that the menace will be solved anytime soon.
“I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon,” Villanueva added.
The growing energy industry, spurred by new energy extraction methods, has provided the much-needed jobs and improved local economies. However, this has come with its price: A Pennsylvania man was crushed by a tanker in 2011; two boys were killed by another truck in West Virginia last year, while a 19-year old Texas man was killed after colliding with a truck in 2012.
While not all accidents involve energy industry trucks, the drilling boom has resulted in heavy road traffic that has partly contributed to the spike in the number of road accidents. The traffic volume is triggered by the expanding local economy, more migrants into the area or a new shopping centre.
The traffic accidents have increased faster than the corresponding population growth or the number of miles travelled. In drilling counties in North Dakota, population has grown 43 percent in the last decade whilst the number of fatalities resulting from road accidents has jumped 350 percent. In one drilling county in Texas, drivers were 2.5 times much more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident compared to the state average. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at firstname.lastname@example.org