Could truck accidents increase after gravel road conversion?
Many truck accidents in Texas are due to relatively common factors: inattention on the part of truckers, drowsy drivers or vehicles that are unable to stop in time from running into another vehicle. There are many other things that could go wrong on the road, though; one that is seldom thought about but could have a big impact on truck accidents is road conditions.
It seems that many roads in rural Texas have become the victims of economic success. In particular, the oil boom that has touched so many people has overtaxed many roads -- some to the point that the state transportation department doesn't have the money to fix them all. As a result, in July, it was announced that about 80 miles of roads frequently traversed by farm vehicles and oil field equipment will be converted to gravel.
This will save the state money, but at what cost? Officials say the speed limits on those stretches of road will be lowered -- to as low as 30 mph in some stretches. However, people who live in the area say that while traffic would be safe if it did travel at that speed, it was unlikely that oil field workers would abide by the reduced limits.
Because of the agricultural traffic in the area, speeding oil field vehicles and slow-moving tractors might find themselves sharing the road. It remains to be seen if the accident rate will increase, but if it does, the decision to convert the roads to gravel surfaces might be revisited.
Source: KETK-TV, "Plan to convert roads to gravel begins despite pushback," Aug. 19, 2013