Special fracking sand is just one of the items transported by truck into and out of the shale fields.

Special fracking sand is just one of the items transported by truck into and out of the shale fields.

Fracking may be a boom opportunity for trucking fleets carrying water, sand, chemicals and other supplies to the oil and natural gas fields, but all those trucks cause problems on area roads.

Residents suffer more wear and tear on roads and highways and more congestion.

Now the Associated Press reports that the production boom in oil and natural gas has contributed to more traffic fatalities in states where the new drilling technology is being used.

"An analysis of traffic deaths and U.S. census data in six drilling states shows that in some places, fatalities have more than quadrupled since 2004 — a period when most American roads have become much safer," write Jonathan Fahey and Kevin Begos in the May 5 story, "Deadly Side Effect of Fracking Boom."

The industry acknowledges it's a problem, they report:

Deadly crashes are “recognized as one of the key risk areas of the business,” said Marvin Odum, who runs Royal Dutch Shell’s exploration operations in the Americas.

Every truck accident "is a tragedy and deserves serious attention," said Steve Everley of the industry group Energy in Depth. He said oil and gas drillers and their suppliers have been working to reduce traffic and accidents by adopting safety programs, recycling more drilling water and building more pipelines to transport water.

At least one drilling boom state has been taking action to address the situtation. North Dakota is adding turning and climbing lanes to highways to give drivers room to pass, and officials are planning to widen a stretch of U.S. Route 85.

Other states and counties are ramping up safe-driving campaigns.

If you're a fleet involved in fracking or operating in an area where the energy boom is causing more truck traffic, it's a good idea to redouble your efforts to promote safe driving and present a positive image to the community.

Read the full AP story here.

About the author
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Editor in Chief

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology. 28 Jesse H. Neal honors.

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