Motor Vehicle Accidents Leading Cause of Death for Oil Field Workers

A 2013 report published in Accident Analysis and Prevention called “Motor Vehicle Fatalities Among Oil & Gas Extraction Workers” finds that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among oil and gas workers.  31.2% of industry deaths are a result of such accidents.  This rate of death by motor vehicle accident is the second highest of all employment groups, the first of which is the transportation and warehousing sector.

Coming in a close second, 29.5% of deaths were a result of being hit by or caught in equipment.  These statistics are based on data collected between the years 2003 and 2008 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Within the oil and gas industry, the most motor vehicle fatalities occurred with well-servicing companies.  The second most common type of deadly accident occurred with large trucks, followed by drilling contractors, and oil and gas operators.

While the majority of the accidents were the result of single car overturns or jackknifes, head-on collisions and collisions with stationary objects were also common causes.  The following is a breakdown of the types of accidents:

  • 38.6% were single car accidents (overturns or jackknifing accidents)
  • 20.8% were head-on collisions
  • 17.3% were cars striking a stationary object
  • 8.9% were collisions in an intersection
  • 7.9% were with a car that was moving in the same direction

One commonality between almost all of these accidents was the fact that the driver was not wearing his seat belt.  Other than this, there were a variety of factors that contributed to these accidents: from weather to driver error to excessive speed.

A big problem that the industry needs to address is the fact that drivers are not being protected by Hours of Service Regulations.  These regulations exist to protect drivers from being behind the wheel for too long, thereby endangering themselves and others on the road.  The problem arises from the fact that the hours that these workers wait for their trucks to be loaded at well sites and other work sites do not count towards their hours of service.  Therefore a worker could be on duty waiting at a site for hours, and then have to get on the road to make a delivery.  After such long waits, workers are exhausted and unable to drive with optimum safety.

Oil and gas workers that are unable to be safe behind the wheel put themselves and others at risk.  Have you been injured on the job, or were you injured by another driver?  Contact an accident attorney at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP to discuss your case.  You may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.  Only a Texas oil field injury attorney can assess your legal rights.  Contact us today for your free case review.

Source: Bloomberg Law, “Road Accidents Leading Cause of Deaths Among Oil/Gas Extraction Industry Workers”


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