Fracking Vehicles and Pennsylvania Traffic Accident Risks

Economists sometimes talk about “the law of unintended consequences.” It’s not a law in the scientific or legal sense, but the observation that life is complex, and whenever people do something there are often side effects that nobody expected.

For example, let’s consider the boom in shale gas exploration in Pennsylvania, due to Marcellus shale fracking operations. The drive for profits has been phenomenal: new reports suggest that the big energy companies earned some $3.5 billion in 2011 from Pennsylvania gas drilling.

What was unexpected was that so many companies would rush to the market so quickly. The result: gas supply has rapidly surged ahead of demand, so the price of natural gas has fallen steeply. Some economists see this as the start of a boom-and-bust period for the state’s economy. But the lesson we want to focus on today is that this was completely unexpected by state government officials, opinion leaders, and average citizens alike. This is the law of unintended consequences at work.

“What’s that in the road, dear?”

Here’s something else you may have overlooked. A news item out of West Virginia says that the Marion County sheriff has come under fire from county commissioners for using county vehicles and for assigning off-duty deputies without permission.

Sheriff Joe Carpenter has defended his actions, saying that they serve the public interest. What are the vehicles and deputies doing? They have been escorting fracking vehicles and equipment to a work site — “giant trucks and other machinery that easily override the mainly rural, two-lane roads,” according to the report.

And that, in turn, highlights another set of unintended consequences for Pennsylvania. There has been a tremendous increase in traffic related to fracking over the last several months. Large and ungainly equipment has to be moved to job sites. Tanker trucks must deliver fracking fluids and remove wastewater; one authority says, “In Pennsylvania, the DEP estimates that one horizontal Marcellus well requires 1,000 truck trips during drilling and fracking.”

This surge in traffic will cause extra wear on roads and bridges, which will need extra repair work fair ahead of schedule. Rural roads are especially vulnerable. There already have been numerous complaints about traffic noise and congestion. But probably the greatest risk comes just from the volume of traffic itself. Big trucks cause serious or fatal Pennsylvania traffic collisions. Traffic congestion triggers road rage incidents and aggressive driving, and again the rate of car crashes in Pennsylvania soars.

This is not just a potential risk—something that might happen far in the future. It’s happening now. Just a few days ago, a truck delivering supplies to a fracking operation in Ohio had a rollover accident that closed a highway and caused an electric power blackout. Similar events are happening all across the United States, wherever gas extraction operations have blossomed.

Finding an ally who’s not scared by the energy companies

If you have been injured by a traffic accident caused by an energy company vehicle, you need to find out whether you can get compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. You need to reach out to Jon Ostroff right away.

Jon is Pennsylvania’s experienced fracking injury lawyer. He’s not afraid to stand up to the energy companies and their contractors. Jon and his staff at Ostroff Injury Law will work to get you all the compensation you are due from your fracking injury lawsuit. Call today at (855) 880-6667 or fill in the online form to get a FREE, no-obligation evaluation of your case.