Economic development efforts can have a positive effect on a community. New jobs and increased tax revenue are always welcome. But sometimes, there’s a downside. And for the south central Texas counties surrounding the Eagle Ford Shale oil development, a negative effect can be seen in the number of pick-ups, oil tankers and gravel trucks that are clogging the roads – and killing people.
Of all the shale formations in North America, the San Antonio Express-News calls Eagle Ford Shale “one of the hot ones.” Covering 400 miles from East Texas south of San Antonio to Mexico, it now has 251 working oil rigs.
This increased oil activity has resulted in more car and truck wrecks on Texas highways. The Houston Chronicle recently reported, “…in the past six months, Karnes County alone has seen 12 people die in traffic accidents.” In fact, because five people have died on Texas 239 since March 1, this road is now frequently referred to as the “death trap.”
Although one might assume these crashes are occurring simply because there are more people on the road, officials believe there are other predominant factors involved, such as negligent or fatigued truck drivers and worn or damaged roads (due to heavy loads).
I have witnessed the tragic results of truck driver fatigue and distractions behind the wheel. Development in Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale makes “defensive driving” in the area especially meaningful – and necessary. − MD