Over the past decade, more than 300 oil and gas workers were killed in highway crashes, the largest cause of fatalities in the industry. Many of these deaths were due in part to oil field exemptions from highway safety rules that allow truckers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries, according to safety and health experts. Many oil field truckers say that while these exemptions help them earn more money, they are routinely used to pressure workers into driving after shifts that are 20 hours or longer.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told officials last year that it is “strongly opposed” to the oil field exemptions since they increase the risk of accidents. Safety advocates are concerned and warn that this threat will continue to grow in coming years. Close to 200,000 new oil and gas wells will be drilled throughout the nation over the next ten years, and as a result, more trucks will be on the road.