Eagle Ford Traffic Deaths Increase 13%

TxDOT Continues Road Improvements
Gravel Road In The Eagle Ford

Gravel Road In The Eagle Ford

Texas oil regions saw a surge in traffic deaths in 2014 including 272 people who died  in traffic accidents in the Eagle Ford. According to TxDOT, this is an increase of 13 percent over 2013, where 240 people were killed in the 26-county region.

Overall in the Eagle Ford last year, there were 3,658 traffic accidents in which people were killed or seriously injured, up from 3,446 the year before. This is a high percentage of the 8,600 accidents reported statewide.

Related: Another Fatal Crash in the Eagle Ford

Roadways have continued to deteriorate over the past few years as more traffic and heavy trucks damage roads and make for unsafe conditions. Over the years, several several efforts have been put into place to address the road conditions including assembling a task force in 2012 and TxDOT’s Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign that was launched over the summer.

TxDOT spokeswoman Laura Lopez said that “The number of deaths have increased. We want to remind folks, especially in the energy sector areas, to watch out for those 18-wheelers. And the same message to those in the 18-wheelers, ‘Watch out for vehicles.’ ”

The San Antonio New Express reports that there is a recent surge in road construction across the oil regions to improve conditions and make things safer. Several projects underway in the Eagle Ford include repairs of $5.8 million to Texas 97, FM 1099 and FM 1344 in Wilson and Atascosa counties as well as widening and repair of FM 1916 in Dimmit County at a cost of $999,000.

New Campaign to Curb Eagle Ford Traffic Accidents

TxDOT: 3,450 Serious Traffic Accidents Recorded in 2013
Tanker Truck on the Highway

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The Eagle Ford Shale has brought many good things to South Texas, but an increase in serious and sometimes fatal traffic accidents hasn’t been one of them.

Last year, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recorded 3,450 serious traffic crashes in the Eagle Ford Shale region, which was a 7% increase over 2012. 238 deaths resulted from these accidents. According to law enforcement, the leading causes of crashes in the region were failure to control speed and driver inattention.

TxDOT’s Answer to the Problem

In an effort to save lives and minimize the number of crashes, TxDOT will place over-sized traffic safety signs in the Eagle Ford and other energy producing areas throughout the state over the course of the year.

“oil and gas activity has created unprecedented volumes of traffic in many parts of our state,” said TxDOT Executive Director Joe Weber. “It’s more important than ever for drivers to give their full attention to the road. They should also obey traffic laws and slow down when traveling through energy-producing communities.”

TxDOT’s $1.2-million campaign is called “Be Safe. Drive Smart.”  According to TxDOT, 30 large outdoor signs will be placed around the Eagle Ford Shale region for a at least one month in the summer and one month in the winter.  Here’s a look at what some of the signs will say:

  • Give Trucks Space
  • Drive Now
  • Text Later
  • Buckle Up Every Ride
  • Really, Stop Means Stop
  • Drive Friendly
  • Pass with Care
  • Not So Fast
  • Drink, Drive, Go to Jail
  • Give Us a Brake

In late July, TxDOT will install 9 giant oversized road signs in Karnes County, with similar messages. Signs will also be present at gas stations in the Eagle Ford region.

What Else is Being Done?

In addition to signs, TxDOT says it conducts training and safety activities throughout the industry. TxDOT and the Department of Transportation and Public Safety are also working with oil & gas companies to provide motorists and employees with driving tips and other important safety information, a TxDOT spokesman notes.

Read more at txdot.gov

Give Me Some Space! Trucks Need More Room

Sharing the Road With Large Vehicles

In July of 2013, the Houston Chronicle reported that 12 people had died in Eagle Ford Shale area traffic accidents, an increase of 12 times the number of fatalities reported to the Texas Department of Transportation. This past spring, the San Antonio Express reported that Texas Department of Transportation data showed a 40 percent increase in fatal traffic accidents in the Eagle Ford Shale region last year. [Read more…]