TXDOT Warns Motorists About Oilfield Driving Dangers

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BRYAN The Texas Department of Transportation has a warning for us with the recent oil boom in the Brazos Valley, and it drills home ways to keep us from becoming an accident statistic.

We're seeing an increase in the number of fatality and serious injury crashes in the Eagle Ford Shale oil discovery that stretches from Laredo in South Texas up to the Brazos Valley.

So TXDOT has launched a public service campaign to alert drivers to use extra caution when driving through these drilling work zones.

It's called: "Be Safe. Drive Smart.", and strongly encourages drivers to use additional caution in oil exploration zones where derricks are popping up like Texas wildflowers.

That's where work crews and heavy, commercial trucks are common for the drilling operations.

Just last week an oilfield related accident in Brazos County: a tanker truck overturned spilling saltwater on the road near Wilcox Lane and FM 2776. No serious injuries, but all the more reason for reminders, like a TXDOT public service announcement being distributed.

"Anytime you have growth you have hurdles and obstacles. 18-wheelers, sometimes they can't see you. Stay back, keep your distance. There's a stop sign for a reason. Put your cell phone down. Slow down a little bit. Always fasten your seatbelt. Be Safe, Drive Smart. This message was brought to you by the Texas Department of Transportation."

Last year 3,430 crashes were reported in the Eagle Ford Shale region from South Texas to the Brazos Valley, that resulted in serious injuries or fatalities.

Bob Colwell with the TXDOT district office says, "We saw 236 fatal crashes last year and we think that is in part due to the increase in the oil boom."

Not all those fatalities were related to crashes related to the oil boom, but a significant number were, enough to prompt TXDOT to partner with the oil and gas industry, and the Texas Department of Public Safety for this safety campaign.