The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Articles Auto Accidents Involving Oil Field Workers - St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

Auto Accidents Involving Oil Field Workers - St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

By Christopher Hoffmann  May. 22, 2019 1:29p

While there are many potential risks oil field workers face, one of the leading causes of injury in this sector might come as a surprise to many: it’strucking accidents.

The CDC reports that most of the job-related injuries in the oil industry occur during transportation jobs. Construction workers need to move around a variety of materials, the most common being water, required for the oils wells.

How Can These Accidents Happen?

Driver fatigue is generally considered the main culprit in oil field trucking accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration imposes certain rules regarding driver conduct, specifically about for how long they can legally be allowed to drive before taking a break.

However, these regulations often do not apply to drivers in the oil industry. A typically truck driver will have to stop driving after a 14-hour shift. Moreover, if they logged 60 hours in a week, then they must take 34 hours off to rest. But for truck drivers in the oil industry, there are three exceptions created because of the pressures of the oil and gas industries:

  • A truck driver can resume activity even after only 24 hours of rest;

  • Truckers can log their “time waiting” as time off. The truck driver will often have long periods around the site waiting until they must drive to another location. However, it’s common for them to perform other activities during this waiting period;

  • Truck drivers are allowed to split their time breaks, allowing them to take shorter breaks more often, which often collides with on-location time.

The rules for commercial truck drivers were created to ensure safety on the roads. There is a great pressure in the trucking industry to transport materials during the shortest time possible, which may lead drivers to avoid taking the breaks they would need just to get to the location on time.

However, the government stepped in to ensure truck driver rest. Since the oil and gas industries lobbied to these exceptions for their drivers, it’s not uncommon for driver fatigue to negatively affect these workers. And because of it, there is a higher risk for car accidents, putting everyone on the road in danger.

How to Stay Safe

Unfortunately, the only way to avoid driver fatigue is to take sufficient breaks and rest. Your mind must be clear so that you can keep yourself and those around you safe. However, because of the pressures from your employer and the lack of regulations by the government, it is a rather hard fight to win.

If you were hurt, or a loved one was killed because of an oil trucking accident, you should reach out to a St. Louis car accident attorney right away. You may have grounds for an injury or even wrongful death case, and a lawyer can help you understand what your legal options are.

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