The Texas oil boom has had a drastic impact on traffic death statistics. Drilling a new well means hundreds of trips for the trucks that service the industry.
Now, more than ever, more heavy trucks are travelling highways that were not built to sustain heavy traffic, leaving the roads badly maintained and dangerous. Similarly, many smaller towns were not prepared for the sudden increase in traffic, people and large trucks in their communities. Once traffic increases, police should step in and enforce the rules, but many smaller communities lack the enforcement personnel to deal with the uptick in traffic and accidents.
Texas is not the only state to face this issue. In North Dakota’s drilling areas, traffic deaths have jumped 350 percent over the last ten years, and the state’s population has risen by 43 percent. In West Virginia’s oil fields, traffic deaths jumped 42 percent in 2013.
Be aware of your surroundings while driving, and not just in oil-rich areas. Take care out there.