Drivers on North Carolina roads could be put in danger because of the actions of companies that engage in hydraulic fracturing. Primarily, an increase in fracking activity results in increased traffic in areas that don’t necessarily have large populations. Therefore, they may not have the infrastructure needed to allow trucks carrying wastewater to get to and from their destinations safely. A researcher from the University of Illinois analyzed accident data from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota from 2006 to 2014 to come to this conclusion.
According to the professor’s research, the fatal accident rate increased by 8% when there was a post-fracking well six miles from a road. That translates to 17 additional fatal crashes in the area caused by the presence of fracking companies. The researcher gave many different suggestions as to how fracking companies could minimize the risks that they pose to others in the community.
For instance, it might be possible to impose a toll or other type of tax based on how many miles a truck has traveled. Local governments could create specific lanes designed for larger trucks in an effort to better manage traffic levels. Oil and gas companies themselves are encouraged to reconsider when they have their drivers take wastewater away from active sites. Doing so might result in fewer trucks on the road during peak traffic hours.
In commercial truck accidents multiple parties might be liable for damages. Depending on the facts of the case, the driver of the truck, as well as its owner, could be responsible for paying a victim’s medical bills. They may also be responsible for helping an injured victim recoup lost wages or lost future earnings caused by their negligent or reckless actions.