The Houston Chronicle recently reported that there has been a significant increase in traffic deaths and injuries in the Eagle Ford Shale areas. In an article published Monday, July 9, 2012, it was noted that in the last six months alone in Karnes County there have been 12 people killed in traffic accidents. This is 12 times the number of fatalities reported by the Texas Department of Transportation in 2008.
Karnes is one of many counties who have experienced a significant uptick in traffic from the Eagle Ford Shale energy boom. Many of the fatalities involve commercial vehicles – commonly called 18 wheelers or big rigs. One specific segment of the freeway was examined, and there have been five traffic deaths since March 1, 2012 on Texas Highway 239 southeast of Kenedy. Locals consider that area a death trap.
In LaSalle County, there has been a 418% increase in truck crash cases as compared to 2008. In McMullen County, there has been a 1,050% increase in the same time period. Roads in the area that used to see one or two trucks a day are now seeing over 500. Passenger vehicle traffic has increased as well. These vehicles are often driven by fatigued drilling workers who are driving home after a long, hard day at work on roads they are unfamiliar with. This also takes a toll on the roadways. As the roads start to deteriorate, it creates more opportunity for more car crashes.