Deadliest Danger Isn’t at the Rig but on the Road
Meg Roussos for The New York Times
By IAN URBINA
Published: May 14, 2012 After working 17 hours straight at a natural gas well in Ohio, Timothy Roth and three other crew members climbed into their company truck around 10 o’clock one night last July and began their four-hour drive back to their drilling service company’s shop in West Virginia.
When they were just 10 minutes from home, the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The truck veered off the highway and slammed into a sign that sheared off part of the vehicle’s side, killing Mr. Roth.
About two months before the fatal crash, Mr. Roth nearly died in a similar accident when another co-worker with the same company fell asleep at the wheel after a long shift and ran the company’s truck into a pole. In 2009, Mr. Roth’s employer was penalized in New York, Pennsylvania and Utah for violations like “requiring or permitting” its oil field truckers to drive after working for 14 hours, the legal limit.
Over the past decade, more than 300 oil and gas workers like Mr. Roth were killed in highway crashes, the largest cause of fatalities in the industry. Many of these deaths were due in part to oil field exemptions from highway safety rules that allow truckers to work longer hours than drivers in most other industries, according to safety and health experts. Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/us/for-oil-workers-deadliest-danger-is-driving.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&hp