Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Why Increased Fracking Means More Fatal Auto Crashes

Energy
Why Increased Fracking Means More Fatal Auto Crashes

States like North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania are among those that have experienced the biggest fracking booms in the U.S. They also have reported more auto crashes as a result.

To the supporters of oil and natural gas extraction, correlating traffic collisions with fracking will likely sound like another attempt to bash their favorite means of obtaining energy. However, The Associated Press has the numbers to back it up—there are more fatal car crashes in areas of heavy fracking. Many more.

"We are just so swamped," Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva of Karnes County, TX told the AP. "I don't see it slowing down anytime soon."

An Associated Press analysis revealed increases in traffic fatalities in areas of heavy fracking, compared to other regions.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The AP's analysis reveals alarming figures. For instance, the average rate of deaths per 100,000 people in North Dakota drilling areas grew by an average of 148 percent from 2009 to 2013, compared to the previous five years. For the rest of the state, that measure fell by 1 percent in the same time frame.

Even in drilling areas where an increase was nowhere near that dramatic, it still tells the same story. In Pennsylvania drilling areas, traffic fatalities rose by 4 percent during that time frame. They fell by 19 percent everywhere else in the state.

The root of the AP's findings are the growing presence of large trucks hauling fluid and/or equipment. Regardless who is at fault in the crashes, more trucks hit the roads quickly in those areas to cash in on the booming industry. That usually occurs before communities can build better roads or ones with more lanes. When it comes to the cash cow that that fracking can be, there's no time to wait on more traffic signals or even addition shifts for officers who might help direct traffic, according to the AP.

Fracking requires 2,300 to 4,000 truck trips per well to deliver oil and gas or the chemicals involved in the fracking process. According to the AP, older drilling techniques needed one-third to half as many trips.

In 21 Texas counties where drilling expanded in recent months, deaths per 100,000 residents are up an average of 18 percent, the analysis found. In the rest of the state, they are down by 20 percent.

Traffic fatalities in West Virginia counties known for drilling grew by 42 percent last year, compared to an 8-percent decline elsewhere in the state. including where the Mazzei-Saum boys were killed, rose 42 percent in 2013. Traffic deaths in the rest of the state declined 8 percent. In Clarksburg, WV, a truck carrying drilling water overturned onto a car carrying a two boys. Nicholas Mazzei-Saum, 7, and his brother, 8-year-old Alexander, were both killed.

"We buried them in the same casket," their father, William Saum, told the AP.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Film Exposes Harsh Reality of Living Amid North Dakota’s Oil Boom

Gripping Report and Film Reveal How Fracking Boom Destroys Texans’ Lives

Anti-Fracking Group Pressures Pennsylvania Governor Candidates For Moratorium Commitments

——–

A deadly tornado touched down near the city of Fultondale, Alabama on Jan. 25, 2021. Justin1569 / Wikipedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

A tornado tore through a city north of Birmingham, Alabama, Monday night, killing one person and injuring at least 30.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An empty school bus by a field of chemical plants in "Cancer Alley," one of the most polluted areas of the U.S. that stretches from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, where oil refineries and petrochemical plants reside alongside suburban homes. Giles Clarke / Getty Images

By David Konisky

On his first day in office President Joe Biden started signing executive orders to reverse Trump administration policies. One sweeping directive calls for stronger action to protect public health and the environment and hold polluters accountable, including those who "disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pixabay

By Katherine Kornei

Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.

Read More Show Less
Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland on Oct. 13, 2020. Climate change is having a profound effect with glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreating. Ulrik Pedersen / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.

Read More Show Less
Caribbean islands such as Trinidad have plenty of water for swimming, but locals face water shortages for basic needs. Marc Guitard / Getty Images

By Jewel Fraser

Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.

Read More Show Less