According to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s 2013 projections, the Eagle Ford Shale is likely to see a continued problem with serious motor vehicle accidents involving commercial vehicles. In the three south Texas counties that contain over half of the active Eagle Ford Shale wells – Karnes, Dimmit and LaSalle – the number of commercial vehicle accidents increased by 470 percent in a three year period. The number of crashes overall was up by 98 percent.
TxDPS predicts that the number of commercial vehicle accidents in nearby Dewitt, McMullen, Webb and Zavala Counties will steadily increase also as wells that are under construction move into actual production. The Eagle Ford Shale Play stretches across the South Texas Energy Triangle, covering 23 counties in total.
The number of inspections performed on commercial trucks in this area is also on the rise. The Texas Highway Patrol completed more than 2,300 commercial vehicle inspections in Karnes County, Dimmit County and LaSalle County in 2011, substantially more than the 649 conducted in 2009.
A rise in oil- and gas-related motor vehicle accidents seems to follow every major boom in Texas. TxDPS also noted that the oil- and gas-producing West Texas region of the Permian Basin has seen an uptick in commercial vehicle accidents, including fatal crashes. In 2012, there were 41 fatal commercial crashes in the area, up from just 14 in 2010.
Overall, commercial trucking traffic has steadily and substantially increased across Texas over the last 15 years, due at least in part to the growth of the oil and gas industry. With approximately 212,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines criss-crossing the state, Texas leads the United States in both oil and natural gas production.
Source: TxDPS, “Texas Public Safety Threat Overview 2013”