U.S. Route 285 starts in Colorado, runs through New Mexico, and ends in Texas. Covering over 800 miles of distance, this highway has earned a reputation for danger. Along this dangerous road, heavy traffic has mixed with oilfield supply lines to create a dangerous environment conducive to truck accidents. In fact, this highway has earned such a terrible reputation for safety that it is known as “Death Highway” by local residents and law enforcement.
A Deadly Correlation
In 2017, 93 people lost their lives from being in a truck accident while traveling the dangerous stretch of road that passes through Texas. This number has been steadily increasing since 2012. However, something else has been steadily increasing at the same pace as the fatality rate: the price of oil.
In 2015, truck accident fatalities dropped by 28% along Texas’ stretch of Route 285. Interestingly, this decrease correlates with nearly-identical ups and downs in the oil industry. As oil prices dropped throughout 2015 and 2016, so did fatal accidents involving trucks. Then, in 2017, oil prices once again trended upward, bringing the fatal accident rate back up as well. The implications are obvious: as oil trucks take over Route 285, people pay with their lives.
Crumbling Roads, High Demands, & Unsafe Practices
The maintenance of America’s roads is an ongoing project. Adding to this struggle is the fact that U.S. Route 285 was built in 1934, well before the demands of modern traffic would riddle the road with potholes, cracks, and even sinkholes. These factors have contributed to the fact that this highway was simply not built to handle the volume of heavy-weight traffic it sees today. Though they may not realize it, hard-working truck drivers are placing their lives, as well as the lives of others, at risk as they fulfill transportation needs for oil companies.
As oil prices increase, the industry booms and puts more of a demand on the drivers who transport crude across the country. Many drivers attribute poor judgment and dangerous mistakes on having to drive after a long day of driving. The resulting loss of judgment is deadly; bad road conditions combine with driver mistakes to produce the currently deadly conditions of Route 285.
Responsibility & Profits
With no signs of Route 285’s traffic decreasing, the companies that produce these busy conditions must take responsibility, for the sake of their employees and for the sake of others on the road. Employers that fail to properly train drivers and let their drivers rest must be held accountable when lives are lost. Until oil companies prioritize safety over profits, U.S. Route 285’s unnecessarily dangerous and deadly patterns will continue.
Our team of experienced truck accident lawyers are ready to help if you or a loved one have experienced the unexpected while driving on the highway. We have seen the results of the truck accidents too many times and are prepared to hold those responsible accountable. We know that it takes special attorneys to properly handle the complicated intricacies of truck accidents. Our record speaks for itself and we have a history of victories that prove our ability to get results for those who need them the most.
Call Arnold & Itkin at (888) 490-0442 today to speak with an attorney about your legal options at no charge.