West Virginia Natural Gas Trucking Accident Attorneys
Natural gas drilling sites are highly dangerous working environments. Workers are constantly at risk for potential explosions, fires, toxic chemical and gas exposure, as well as potential injuries from operating gas well servicing rigs, loaders and any variety of heavy equipment and trucks.
Natural Gas Trucking Accidents
Across natural gas drilling industries, highway crashes are a leading cause of death among workers. As a result, federal regulators set strict safety rules for commercial truckers that dictate how long they can drive. Unfortunately oil and gas companies routinely put profits before safety especially in the trucking aspects of this industry. Over the past decade, more than 300 oil and gas workers were killed in highway crashes, the largest cause of fatalities in the industry.
There are many potential causes of natural gas trucking accidents, including:
- Fatigue due to companies “requiring or permitting” its oil field truckers to drive after working for 14 hours, the legal limit, resulting in workers falling asleep at the wheel.
- Applying the oil and gas industry vehicle exemptions to vehicles that are not covered by them.
- Crashes due to trucks that are in disrepair and in need of maintenance.
- The use of shell companies to obtain new federal registration numbers in order to get around safety rules.
- Companies that improperly load or overload their cargo, speed, and falsify their driver logs.
- Increased traffic due to natural gas drilling sites put other travelers in danger of being in an accident.
- Negligent hiring practices; the hiring of unskilled or poorly trained workers by companies.
Common Causes of Natural Gas Trucking Accidents
The drilling technique used at more than 90 percent of natural gas drilling wells, known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, leads to far more trucks on the road, roughly 500 to 1,500 truck trips per well, than traditional drilling. This is partly because fracking requires millions of gallons of water per well.
In the rural areas of West Virginia many roads were never designed to handle heavy industrial use. However, the increasing practice of natural gas drilling has brought increased truck traffic causing congestion, road damage, and an increased number of serious accidents.
Working while fatigued is roughly equivalent to working while under the influence of alcohol because judgment is impaired, corners are cut, and the crisp focus and attention to detail that is necessary in this field can be compromised. The actions of fatigued natural gas workers not only endangers workers but can potentially put entire communities in harm’s way, especially if they get behind the wheel. People experiencing fatigue are typically more rigid in thinking and have greater difficulty responding to changing or abnormal circumstances and take longer to reason correctly all of which can be determining factors during a potential trucking accident.
Strict safety rules for commercial truckers that dictate how long they can drive. Legally commercial truck drivers cannot drive after working more than 14 hours. However, companies tend to allow workers to drive past this limit or even encourage workers to falsify their truck logbooks, leading to accidents that result in serious injury and even death. Families affected by trucking accidents caused by worker fatigue deserve compensation and should contact a lawyer immediately.
Natural Gas Trucking Accident Compensation
The gas industry is growing in West Virginia, especially considering the Marcellus Gas Deposit. Natural gas drilling operations have cause an increased amount of truck traffic causing congestion, road damage, and a rise in the number of serious accidents. If you, or a loved one, has been involved in a natural gas trucking accident it is very important to speak to a West Virginia gas drilling lawyer. Insurance companies and gas mining operations will routinely attempt to save money by offering settlements worth far less than may be deserved.
At Colombo Law, our West Virginia oil field accident and trucking accident attorneys have extensive experience handling workplace accident cases and we have a steady grasp on the different hazardous factors involved with the oil and gas industries. If you were injured in a gas drilling or trucking accident, it is essential to preserve your rights for compensation. Colombo Law, has a proven history of successfully representing victims of natural gas trucking accidents. Contact us at 304-599-4229 to find out how we can help you.