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Traffic deaths went up where trucks hauled fracking wastewater

Industrial trucking traffic in rural areas in Georgia could increase traffic fatalities. A study of trucking accidents in the sparsely populated area of the Bakken Formation where trucks haul large amounts of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing wells to disposal sites showed an 8% rise in truck accident deaths on the roads near the wells.

A professor of agricultural and consumer economics studied accidents in the Bakken region from 2006 to 2014. She compared accidents to their proximity to hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" operations that involved high volumes of truck traffic. Fracking wells produce large amounts of wastewater contaminated with chemicals that oil and gas drillers send to disposal areas in trucks. The presence of wastewater trucks resulted in an additional 17 fatal wrecks every year.

Based on the results, the professor concluded that oil and gas companies might reduce traffic fatalities associated with their operations by rescheduling wastewater truck movements during the least busy times for the roads. Most of the deaths recorded in the study occurred during peak daytime hours. She suggested that local governments might consider setting up special truck lanes and warn the public about trucking hazards.

Large trucks can inflict serious injuries, and trucks carrying hazardous materials might expose accident victims to additional health threats. Someone hurt by a commercial truck might want the insights of an attorney knowledgeable about litigating truck wrecks before discussing the accident with an insurance adjuster. An attorney might work out who bears liability for the accident, especially if an industrial company is using independent contractors as drivers. A person may gain clear answers about insurance coverage after an attorney studies the applicable insurance policy. Other services that an attorney might provide include negotiating a settlement with an insurer or filing a lawsuit.

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