Why Oilfield Truck Accidents Happen So Often
An oilfield is a dangerous environment. Even if a truck driver takes precautions when traveling through an oilfield, there is always a risk of an accident. With a clear understanding of oilfield truck accidents and why they happen so often, you can do your part to prevent these incidents from happening.
What Causes Oilfield Truck Accidents?
Research indicates the fatality rate of workers in the oil and gas industry is at least seven times higher than that of employees in other sectors. For truck drivers who travel through oilfields, the risk of accidents can be significant. Common reasons why oilfield truck accidents take place include:
1. Distracted Driving
Thousands of people die annually in the United States in distracted-driving accidents. Meanwhile, a distracted truck driver is unlikely to keep their eyes on the road when navigating through an oilfield. This can lead to an accident in which people are hurt or killed, and property gets damaged.
2. Driver Fatigue
Many oilfield employees work 12 to 15 hours per day and more than 40 hours a week. An oilfield truck driver who spends long hours behind the wheel can feel exhausted. If this happens, the driver is more prone to slow reaction times, which can ultimately result in an accident.
3. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
It is a trucking company's responsibility to allocate the time, energy, and resources necessary to maintain its vehicle fleet. Otherwise, a defective truck can malfunction when a driver is traveling through an oilfield. In the worst-case scenario, a defective truck will not stop properly, which can lead to an accident.
4. Lack of Driver Training
There are various criteria that must be met for an individual to earn a Commercial Driver's License in Texas and other parts of the United States. If a driver lacks sufficient training, this individual is likely to make mistakes when traveling through an oilfield. It only takes a single mistake from a truck driver to cause an oilfield accident.
5. Failure to Follow the Rules of the Road
Myriad protocols are in place for driving trucks through oilfields. If a truck driver speeds or ignores other protocols, this individual can cause an accident. This driver can also be held responsible for any injuries, fatalities, or property damage that occurs during the accident.
Recent data indicates that Texas accounts for nearly 13% of all fatal truck accidents nationwide. Oilfield truck accidents may be one of the biggest reasons why this is the case. Together, truck drivers, their employers, and others can find the best ways to limit the risk of fatal truck accidents and other oilfield dangers.
How to Avoid Oilfield Truck Accidents
There are several things you can do to guard against truck accidents in oilfields, such as:
1. Err on the Side of Caution
A truck driver must get the right training and stay up to date on oilfield safety rules and regulations. If there are any concerns or questions about what to do when driving in an oilfield, the driver should notify their employer. In addition, a driver must keep their employer informed about any oilfield hazards they encounter and make sure these issues are addressed immediately.
2. Perform Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Take a look at your truck before and after you drive it. If you identify any performance issues, address them prior to driving your truck. Take a truck out of operation until any performance problems are fully resolved.
3. Take a Break
If you feel exhausted and too tired to drive a truck, notify your superior. Remember, there is no need to put yourself or others in danger. By taking a short break, you can relax and revitalize your body and mind — and may be able to avoid a truck accident that occurs due to exhaustion and fatigue.
4. Eliminate Distractions
Turn off your smartphone and remove any other potential distractions when you are driving a truck. The more distractions you remove, the more likely it becomes that you can stay focused behind the wheel. Most importantly, you can complete your work in an oilfield as planned and avoid accidents.
5. Strive for Constant Improvement
Continue to look for ways to get better when you drive a truck in oilfields. You can meet with your manager and explore ways to bolster your performance behind the wheel. Plus, you and your manager can work together to optimize your safety.
There is no telling when a truck accident in an oilfield will occur. If you or someone you know is involved in an oilfield truck accident, make sure all parties involved receive medical attention. From here, you can learn from the incident and do your part to prevent future truck accidents.
The Bottom Line on Why Truck Accidents in Oilfields Happen So Often
A truck driver can do their part to protect against truck accidents in oilfields. If you or someone you know is injured in an oilfield truck accident, you can also seek help from an experienced oilfield injury attorney. Then, you and your lawyer can seek justice against anyone responsible for your oilfield truck accident.