Oil is a huge industry in the United States. The industry contributes hundreds of billions of dollars to the economy and employs over 100,000 people.
However, oil production can also be a dangerous business. While oil workers certainly work in a high-risk environment, oil fields can cause unintended safety concerns for their neighbors as well.
Oil fields bring significant truck traffic
Although oil fields are located outside of major metropolitan areas, they can often bring a lot of traffic to a metropolitan’s roadways. This is because oil fields require a lot of support from semi-trucks to haul things like drilling equipment and sand to and from the work site.
Because of this, oil industries can have a significant impact on an area’s traffic. In Odessa-Midland, Texas, for example, the development of oil fields caused a significant increase in the number of deadly motor vehicle accidents. In 2018, the area led the state in the number of fatal accidents involving commercial vehicles despite having a relatively low population.
Commercial vehicles and safety
The fatality numbers of Odessa demonstrate how an influx of commercial vehicles can be dangerous for local commuters.
While a greater number of vehicles alone can increase accidents, commercial vehicles present additional safety concerns. These concerns are due to truckers:
- Driving larger vehicles that can cause more damage
- Experiencing fatigue from long hours of operating a vehicle
- Engaging in riskier driving practices because of time limitations
Because Texas produces the most oil of any state in the U.S., Texas commuters should be especially careful about sharing the road with commercial vehicles.