Driving on busy roads in our state’s oil and gas production areas can be both challenging and dangerous. Energy exploration and production across Texas requires many large trucks and heavy tankers, and drivers should take extra care to safely share the road with these vehicles.
In 2022, more than 78,000 traffic crashes occurred in the state’s five main energy sectors—the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale, Barnett Shale, Anadarko Basin and the Haynesville/Bossier Shale—resulting in 1,072 fatalities last year. These traffic deaths accounted for nearly 25% of the state’s total traffic fatalities last year. In 2022, there were 17,594 traffic crashes in the 15-county Haynesville/Bossier Shale region (which includes Smith, Gregg & Angelina counties), resulting in 208 fatalities and 948 serious injuries.
Failure to control speed and driver inattention are ranked as the top two contributing factors in crashes in the five main energy regions.
With all of this in mind, TxDOT is launching its new statewide “Be Safe. Drive Smart” campaign this week and urging motorists to stay alert and drive at a safe speed in our state’s oil and gas producing areas.
● Oil and gas activity brings increased traffic and more large trucks sharing the road with passenger vehicles. Drivers should be aware that large trucks and tankers can limit visibility and provide less room to maneuver. Increased truck traffic also leads to more wear and tear on roads, posing challenges to drivers.
● Texas’ five main energy regions—the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale, Barnett Shale, Anadarko Basin and the Haynesville/Bossier Shale—saw more than 78,000 traffic crashes, resulting in 1,072 fatalities in 2022. Despite a 3.8% decrease from the previous year, traffic deaths in these regions accounted for nearly one-quarter of the state’s total traffic fatalities.
● Failure to control speed and driver inattention are ranked as the top two contributing factors in crashes in the five main energy regions.
TxDOT offers these important safety reminders for motorists:
● Follow posted speed limits and adjust your driving to match road conditions. In some situations, the only safe speed may be below the posted speed limit.
● Stay focused on driving and put your phone away: no talking or texting when behind the wheel.
● Give large trucks plenty of space. Be patient and pass only when it’s safe and legal to do so.
● Maintain a safe following distance.
● Never drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
● Obey stop signs and traffic signals.
● Always buckle up—drivers and passengers, day and night, every ride, every time.
TxDOT is also investing heavily to improve mobility and safety on roadways impacted by traffic in the state’s five energy producing regions. Over the next 10 years, TxDOT is planning to invest a historic level of $19.2 billion in rural areas through the 2024 Unified Transportation Program (UTP). This shows TxDOT’s commitment to building and maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system in all parts of the state.
Be Safe. Drive Smart. is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.