The population of communities surrounding the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota has reportedly doubled since oil production has increased over the past several years. There are growing concerns, however, about the safety of residents as they travel the roadways within these communities. Over the past few years, the numbers of reported truck accidents have climbed considerably.
The emergency manager for McKenzie County has called for an extensive study of a new section of Highway 85. The North Dakota highway expansion has helped ease the congestion that resulted from the exponential growth the area has undergone since the development of the Bakken oil fields. However, there have been multiple serious collisions, including truck accidents, since the upgrades have opened to traffic.
In North Dakota, it is possible that the recent influx of car and truck accidents could be related to the fracking industry. While not all truck accidents can be connected to the boom in oil and gas production in the state, the number of fatal accidents in fracking states across the country has increased four times over. The rate of these tragic accidents continues to rise, despite the fact that new advances and better designs have made roads safer than ever.
When an economic boom occurs in one area, the population can sometimes increase in a quick manner. The occurrence may leave little or no time for areas to prepare and ensure that there is sufficient planning for everything to run as smoothly as possible. This could be the case in some local North Dakota areas where oil drilling is causing major increases in car versus truck accidents.
The old saying is that two wrongs don't make a right. That saying might well apply to a truck accident south of Billings late last week.
Two years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that a new standard concerning individuals who examine truck drivers for fitness of duty would soon be fully enacted. The standard requires medical examiners who conduct work-related physicals for truck drivers to be certified in accordance with the newly enacted National Registry standards. This new standard has not been fully implemented yet, but the FMCSA insists that it will by May 21 of this year.