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Fracking brings a worrisome increase in truck traffic and crashes

Trucks are a common sight on West Virginia roads, especially semi tractor-trailers. However, with the advent of fracking activities, there has been an increase in oil tankers and other large trucks related to the industry.

More truck traffic translates to more accidents that can result in severe injury or death.

Counting trucks

In 2014, a group called FracTracker monitored the effects of fracking activities on communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and West Virginia. In one project, volunteers counted trucks passing through 13 different sites. Types of vehicles included tankers, large trucks that haul heavy equipment and gas company pick-up trucks. Volunteers counted 676 trucks, a number that broke down to an average of 44 trucks per hour.

Accident concerns

According to statistics compiled by the Associated Press, roadway fatalities in some counties more than quadrupled in six drilling states since 2004, while roads that had no connection to drilling sites were much safer. Oil company representatives confirm that fatal crashes are among the key risks in their industry.

The Marcellus Shale deposit

The state of West Virginia is positioned above the gas deposits known as the Marcellus and Utica Shale Formations, and in recent years, more than 3,200 new fracking wells have been created in the area. As such, it is not unusual to see significant gas truck traffic: The hydraulic fracturing process involves 2,300 to 4,000 truck trips per well. While residents who live close to the fracking sites must deal with the dust and noise of passing trucks, motorists throughout the state must remain alert when large equipment trucks and tankers are on the road.

Many of our local roads in West Virginia are narrow and these trucks often take more than their share of the road, leading to head on crashes or other crashes with local residents who are just trying to get to work or get back home.

Unintended consequences

Truck-car accidents can happen in a flash and, given the size and weight of a tractor-trailer or oil tanker, the occupants of the car will likely sustain the most severe injuries. An experienced attorney will tell you that victims are entitled to full and fair compensation for any injuries they suffer, plus lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Increased truck traffic appears to be a fact of life in West Virginia along with an increase in crashes, and no motorist wants to become a statistic. 

If you have been injured in an accident with a truck related to the fracking industry, call Gellner Law Offices. We'd like to help.

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