Car accidents kill about 35,000 Americans every year. About 4,000 of those deaths annually are caused by semi-trucks. Although 18-wheelers make up a small percentage of fatal car accidents, the massive size disparity between big rigs and passenger cars means that occupants of cars are at a far higher risk of dying while semi-truck drivers often walk away unharmed.
These issues can be exacerbated in areas with heavy oilfield traffic. Drivers for oil companies are not subject to the same regulations that commercial truckers are. Oil companies often push their employees to work long, demanding shifts before they drive an oilfield truck, thereby creating dangerous road conditions for their employees and other motorists.
At Shaw Cowart, LLP, our attorneys have extensive experience helping the victims of semi-truck accidents, and their families, find justice and recover the compensation they deserve. We recognize that often, drivers involved in these accidents are victims of their company’s profit-above-all culture, too, and we have experience representing oilfield workers against their employers.
Read on to learn more about the unique nature of oilfield truck accidents and how our lawyers can help you in the aftermath of one.
Regulations for Commercial Truckers
Commercial truckers are subject to strict regulations for how many hours they’re allowed to drive consecutively and how much time they must take off after consecutive days of driving. Those regulations are:
- Truckers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off-duty.
- Truckers can’t drive past the 14th hour following 10 hours off duty, even if they amassed fewer than 11 hours of driving in that 14-hour period.
- Truckers must stop driving after 60 hours on-duty in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours on-duty in 8 consecutive days.
- Truckers must take at least 34 hours off-duty to restart that 7-or-8-day clock.
The regulations that govern how long and how much commercial truckers can drive do not apply to truckers in the energy industry. This can create numerous problems and unsafe road scenarios.
Oilfields often require a high volume of truck traffic because of the pace of the work. The high demand for oil also means that employees work long, exhausting days. The lack of regulations for truckers in the energy industry means that after those long, exhausting days, oilfield workers may be asked to drive trucks without any concern for their fatigue levels.
If an area is in an energy boom, then companies may have trouble hiring enough people. They may ask their employees to work even longer shifts. And workers may feel pressured to say “yes” against their better judgment because they don’t want to jeopardize their jobs.
All of these factors combine to create a scenario where an overworked, fatigued trucker is driving a big rig on roads with other passenger cars. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Who is Liable for an Oilfield Trucking Accident?
When a company values profit above all else, even the lives and safety of its employees and the general public, it demonstrates a callous lack of priorities. Many oilfield truck accidents can be traced back to this.
At Shaw Cowart, LLP, we realize that truckers in these crashes can be victims of their employer’s negligence, too. That’s why we’ll do everything in our power to hold oil companies accountable for putting drivers in trucks who shouldn’t be driving and creating an environment where catastrophic accidents can happen.
Contact Our Austin Truck Accident Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Shaw Cowart are committed to helping our clients recover the compensation they deserve following a terrible accident. We have extensive experience representing motorists who have been injured by bigs and oilfield workers who have been injured on the job. We will take on oil companies and insurers for you so you and your family can focus on healing.
We serve Austin and nearby areas of Texas. Call (512) 499-8900 today to schedule a consultation.