A school bus packed with children collided with a van carrying oil and gas workers in the Eagle Ford Shale region early Thursday morning, killing three of the people in the van. Reports of the fatal Eagle Ford crash indicate that children in the school bus suffered only bumps and bruises in the collision.
As the shale oil boom draws more traffic to the Eagle Ford area, regulators are looking for a way to improve safety on the rural roads that criss-cross south Texas. A meeting is planned for February to address the growing problem of serious and fatal accidents in the Eagle Ford shale play. In 2012, there were 3,000 serious or fatal crashes in the area; in 2013, that number rose to 3,500. Regulators – and those who call the Eagle Ford area home – would like to see improvements that would turn that number around from 2013 and stop the boom of fatal accidents in the Eagle Ford shale play.
Initial reports of the van-bus crash place blame for the fatal accident on the van driver. The driver of the van rear-ended the stopped school bus as the bus waited behind a turning vehicle. The van driver was tired and may have fallen asleep at the wheel, causing the fatal crash. There was no indication that the driver hit the brakes before slamming into the rear of the stopped bus, near Three Rivers.
The consensus in the area is that fatigued drivers are a constant threat on roadways in the booming Eagle Ford zone. At any hour of the day, but particularly after shift changes on at any of the oil and gas sites that pepper the South Texas landscape, there is a threat that others on the road may be drowsy, falling asleep or actually asleep at the wheel.
Source: KENS5, “Eagle Ford Shale planning road safety strategy after fatal crash,” January 31, 2014