Issues on the Road
Should there be a limit on the number of hours a truck driver in the Oil and Gas Industry should work?
Should it be no more than on the road 15 hours, 18 hours, 20 hours?
What is the right answer?
Bottom-line – we want all of the workers, roughnecks, roustabouts, drivers and laborers to make it thru their day and not get taken out by a driver that is overly fatigued.
Over the past ten years, more than 300 oil and gas workers have been killed in highway crashes. Tired drivers are the single greatest risk of causing of fatal accidents in the industry.
Many of these accidents were due in part to oil field exemptions from highway safety rules that allow oil field trucker drivers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries, according to safety and health experts.
When you chat with many oil field truck drivers they say that while these exemptions help them earn more money, they are routinely used to pressure individual workers into driving after shifts that are 20 hours or longer.
Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board said it “strongly opposed” the oil field driver exemptions because they raise the risk of crashes.
This threat will grow substantially in coming years, safety advocates warn. According to federal officials, more than 200,000 new oil and gas wells will be drilled nationwide over the next decade, with thousands of the new drilling – right here in Texas.
And as many of us realize, fracking, leads to far more trucks on the road than the average oil drilling site — roughly 500 to 1,500 truck trips per well — than traditional drilling, partly because fracking requires millions of gallons of water per well.
There is no question that the new drilling has been an economic boom to the country and the State of Texas, adding millions of dollars in local tax revenues and royalty payments and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Did you know that a third of the major injuries in the of oil field jobs from 2003 through 2008 occurred during highway crashes, according to the most recent data analyzed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unless changes are made to increase worker safety, these findings are likely to continue.
Oil Company safety experts argue with this information and the safety experts point to other factors contributing to the industry’s fatality rate. “Drug use.”
We question the findings of the Safety Experts.
Oil and gas workers also crash because their trucks are frequently in disrepair, some police say. Some state troopers argue that the problem is that some of the 18 wheelers are in such bad condition that they should not be on the roads.
Some oil service companies also often circumvent highway safety rules.