Oil drilling, fracking boom makes Texas deadliest U.S. state in total traffic fatalities

by Charles Miller

Fatal accidents on Texas roads have spiked during the ongoing boom in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) according to a joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and Houston Public Media News 88.7. Highway deaths have dropped steadily all across the United States for the last six decades. However, in Texas, the numbers of all motor vehicle fatalities as well as accidents involving commercial trucks have been increasing since the state’s oil drilling and fracking boom began in 2008.

Since 2008, Texas has been leading all states in motor vehicle deaths, surpassing California as the previous national leader, according to U.S. Department of Transportation records. Traffic deaths linked to commercial vehicle crashes in Texas have risen dramatically by 51 percent, from 352 in 2009 to 532 in 2013, according to the Houston Chronicle’s review of the data.

It’s obviously difficult to determine just how crashes can be linked to the state’s oil and gas boom. However, Texas traffic accident data records do show that fatal accidents increased more in counties that make up the Permian Basin and in those affected by the Barnett and Eagle Ford shale plays, according to the Houston Chronicle. In these counties, the “roads regularly fill with tractor-trailers, tanker trucks and commercial vans hauling water, workers and supplies to oil and natural gas well sites, as well as in urban counties that serve as burgeoning hubs for the oil field industry.”

Trucking company lawsuits require an attorney with experience and resources

Pursuing a claim for damages against a trucking or shipping company can be difficult and expensive. Many trucking companies and their insurance companies have plenty of money and time to spend fighting your claim. You need experienced, aggressive attorneys who will work hard and spend what it takes to force the trucking companies and their insurers to take responsibility for their actions.

Lawsuits against trucking companies can be expensive and difficult. An attorney may need to hire expert witnesses in the fields of trucking, trucking regulations, accident reconstruction and life care planning. If the case involves the oil field, the attorney may also need to retain experts in fracturing, drilling or transportation issues specific to the oil and gas industries. Given the complexities of this area of the law, the high costs associated with bringing such cases and the enormous damages often at stake, the last thing a victim of a trucking accident should do is entrust their 18-wheeler or trucking lawsuit to a lawyer with little or no experience with trucking accident litigation.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, our attorneys have handled dozens of cases involving accidents with 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. Our attorneys have helped achieve a $36 million verdict for the family of a teenager injured in a bus crash. They have also negotiated a $15 million settlement of a case involving an 18-wheeler accident that killed several members of the same family. And they achieved verdicts or settlements of $7.25 million, $5.2 million, $5 million, and $1.8 million in other 18-wheeler cases, just to mention a few.

Our partners, Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. They have also been voted by their peers as Super Lawyers in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost someone in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering. Contact us today by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 or by following the link to our website contact form to receive a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.


Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2014.