Factors Contributing to Oil Field Truck Accidents
A major factor contributing to oil field truck accidents is the fact that employees in the industry, including truck drivers, work extremely long hours. Oil well drivers are allowed by law to work for 20 hours or more during a single shift.
How is this possible considering the strict rules other truck drivers are required to abide by? The fact is that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows an exception to the strict trucking regulations for oil well drivers.
FMCSA considers the time drivers are waiting for their loads as “off duty” time. If that driver does not rest during this time, they will most likely be fatigued by the time the driving begins. Many oil field truck accidents occur because the drivers are simply too tired to be operating their vehicles safely.
Decreasing the number of injuries and deaths from these accidents will require the oil and gas industry to take the problem seriously and address these issues head-on.
Related Article: Oil Field Accident & Injury Litigations Update
The Risks of Driving While Tired in Oil Fields
A recent study looked at the effects that fatigue and drinking alcohol have on driver performance, and researchers found that operating a motor vehicle after staying awake for 18 hours was approximately the same as driving with a .05% blood alcohol content (BAC).
Staying awake for 24 hours led to a driving performance equal to about .10% BAC -- significantly higher than the legal limit in all 50 U.S. states. Considering how often oil and gas workers are driving home after 20+ hour shifts, it's clear why truck accidents occur more often in the oilfield industry compared to any other line of work.
Why Oil Field Truck Accidents are a Risk to All Drivers
Until meaningful laws are enacted to lessen the number of oil field truck accidents in the United States, these incidents will continue to harm our citizens. Whether you work in the oil and gas industry or not, you are at risk when you share the road with oil field truck drivers, especially if they have been working without rest for extended periods of time. If you or a loved one are severely injured, your life may never be the same.
One way to help create change entails taking the oil and gas industry to court in an attempt to hold the responsible parties liable for their negligent work practices. Not only could you be awarded significant financial compensation for your injuries, but you could also help bring the glaring problem of oil field truck accidents to the public's attention.
This could potentially save someone else from experiencing the same harm, loss, and grief. Additionally, legal claims may eventually help force the FMCSA to change its rules regarding oil well drivers.
Who is Responsible When an Oil Field Worker Dies on the Road?
As we've seen, oil field workers face serious hazards from the moment they clock in until they arrive home after their shift. The most serious of those hazards -- drowsy driving -- is entirely preventable. The question is, what can be done to make life safer for these workers, and what parties can be held responsible for making these changes?
The oil and gas companies scheduling such long and demanding shifts are ultimately responsible for ensuring their workers have enough energy to commute and work safely. However, oil companies will rarely do the right thing on their own.
That's where the lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, come in: we investigate oil field truck accidents to determine who was at fault, and we ensure that those who were injured get the just compensation they deserve. Along the way, we ensure that the responsible parties change their business practices so that what happened never happens again.
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Get a Free Case Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The law firm of Schmidt & Clark, LLP is dedicated to protecting the rights of the American oil and gas worker and is one of the only firms willing to handle this type of complex litigation throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an oil field accident, you should contact our lawyers immediately by using the form below or calling our law firm toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600 for a free case review and legal advice.
You may be able to recover compensation from an oil company in a lawsuit and our oil field injury lawyers can help.