Oilfield Tank Truck Accident Case
A middle aged Tyler couple was slowing to turn into their rural home when a oilfield saltwater disposal truck working for an East Texas trucking company came around the curve behind them and struck them violently from the rear. The impact crushed the back of the sedan forward to almost the middle of the car causing the couple serious and disabling injuries.
The oilfield truck driver claimed that he had done everything possible to avoid the accident and pointed to the almost 200 feet of skids that he had left prior to impact. Tank truck drivers prefer to haul full tanks of saltwater because it is more profitable and because even with modern day baffling in the tanks a partially full tank will slosh as it goes down the road and cause the truck to sway with the load.
The tank involved in the accident was full. An analysis of the saltwater in the oilfield from which the truck was hauling revealed a heavier than average density that had not been taken into consideration when the tank was designed. The result was that the truck/tank combination weighed considerably more than the 80,000 pound maximum allowable weight and was unable to safely come to a stop under normal conditions. A substantial settlement was reached.
The oil industry ebbs and flows with prices. When oil and gas prices are high oil exploration and production takes off and the operators and contractors feel the need to “make hay while the sun shines” before prices cool off and the industry slows down. During these periods of rapid activity safety tends to become secondary. This relaxed attitude toward safety reaches all segments of the oil industry including the companies that truck oilfield equipment and fluids. The result is an increased number of unnecessary oil-industry related trucking accidents.
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