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Fracking Operation Decreases Safety of Roadways in Pennsylvania

Companies promising jobs to local workers are generally a good thing in this tough economy. Unfortunately, along with additional jobs, companies associated with the Marcellus Shale gas industry have also increased the presence of large trucks, negatively impacting the safety of Pennsylvania roadways.

Residents living near fracking sites have voiced concerns about the noise and potential for increased car accidents. Some are even concerned that the increased traffic will drive them out of the neighborhoods they hoped to grow in.

Background of Marcellus Shale Gas Industry

The Marcellus Shale gas industry harnesses natural gas from a large gas deposit located under New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. To do so, a process called fracking is used to remove natural gas by pumping large amounts of water into geologic formations. Large cracks extend along the formation and natural gas flows from the fractured shale to the surface where it is harvested.

This process requires a large amount of sand and water, the majority of which reaches the site by trucks using local roadways. The increased traffic has caused concern throughout local communities.

Troy, Pennsylvania, for example, recently experienced a tragedy directly connected to the increased truck traffic. A woman was killed while crossing the road when a truck transporting water struck her. The accident occurred in the middle of the day, but the driver stated he did not see the pedestrian. Other residents are concerned these drivers are pushed too hard, often working 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week with minimal training.

Hazards Associated With Marcellus Shale Traffic

Unfortunately, the presence of large trucks used in the Marcellus Shale industry is projected by the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission to dominate local roadways for the next "10 to 30 years."

In addition to the increased traffic, the Commission notes concern over the abuse roads will take from the high volume of extremely heavy truck traffic. Each individual truck carries massive loads; in 2009, trucks carried over 40,000 tons of gravel across Pennsylvania.

The lack of experience, long hours put in by drivers and excessive mass of these vehicles can increase the risk of traffic accidents. These accidents are particularly devastating since cars weigh an average of 3,000 pounds. Because of this size disparity, these accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries and even death.

If you or a loved one is injured as the result of a car accident with a truck, you are likely entitled to compensation for medical and rehabilitative expenses and pain and suffering. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure all your legal rights and remedies are protected.