Truck traffic is a major concern to people living in areas with shale gas development. The website Marcellus-Shale.US commented, “Other than water issues, one of the greatest impacts Marcellus Gas Drilling has on the general public is truck traffic.”
There is good reason for concern. The industry has a poor safety record–the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction industries had 15.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers compared to the all-worker fatality rate of 3.2 per 100,000. And, vehicle crashes are the largest cause of oil and gas extraction industry fatalities: 41 percent.
For example, the New York Times reported on May 14, 2012, “Over the past decade, more than 300 oil and gas workers [like Mr. Roth] were killed in highway crashes, the largest cause of fatalities in the industry. Many of these deaths were due in part to oil field exemptions from highway safety rules that allow truckers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries, according to safety and health experts.”
The growing number of truck trips is another major cause for concern. The CantonRep (Ohio) reported that an average shale well requires 3 million pounds of sand, 50,000 barrels of water and 2,000 truck trips, according to Doug Allen, executive vice president of Jackson Township-based Kenan Advantage Group, which operates 5,000 trucks.
Consumer Energy Alliance in partnership with the American Trucking Association (ATA), the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC), and the American Petroleum Institute (API) has released the recommendations of the group’s Trucking Safety Task Force.
The report’s recommendations for transporters include: communicating regularly with local emergency responders in areas of increased truck traffic, and developing schedules to enable truckers to maintain their alertness.
The report’s recommendations for producers include monitoring and enforcing regulatory compliance of trucking contractors. This includes assuring that all drivers have the proper licenses and credentials.
The reports recommendations for the general public include: being aware of truck drivers limited visibility when following or passing trucks, and being aware of the fact that trucks need more room to maneuver and more distance to stop than passenger vehicles.