Whether you call it US-285, Route 285, or “Death Highway,” this stretch of road in Texas is one of the most dangerous. The roadway is used for transportation to and from West Texas oilfields and in New Mexico oilfields. In 2017, 93 people lost their lives on Route 285 on the Texas portion of the road. Why are there so many accidents in one area what can you do if you have been in one?
Why do so many accidents happen on Route 285?
Along its path, which runs through Pecos, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico, US-285 carries thousands of drivers. But, it was initially built for rural traffic in 1926, not commercial use. Because the road needs to be improved to carry this much traffic, TxDOT has allocated funds to make the road safer. The road itself is not the only contributing factor to the large amount of car wrecks and commercial truck accidents happening in West Texas.
The number of accidents and deaths in the Permian Basin tend to rise and fall with the price of oil. Because a higher price of oil means a more secure industry, many companies hire more workers. This creates more drivers and more chances for human error. Also, many companies do not hire experienced drivers or work their employees to the point of exhaustion. The following are some of the most common factors that lead to car wrecks, especially in the oil industry.
- Drivers and employees working long hours with little sleep
- Truck drivers not having enough experience or training
- Distracted driving or driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol
- Commercial vehicles not being well-maintained
What is being done about increasing safety on US-285?
Correcting this issue is not something that can be done quickly, but many are trying to improve safety conditions as fast as possible in the Permian Basin. This includes oil companies, some of which are planning on building new pipelines for oil transportation between 2019 and 2020. The government has labeled one part of US-285 a safety corridor, increasing traffic fines in hopes of discouraging bad driving habits. TxDOT is also allocating millions of dollars to help repair the highway.
Oil companies in the Permian Basin and around the country should also be focusing more on safety as the oil industry increases. Oilfield workers are not the only people in danger on Death Highway. Anyone who travels down the roadway could be at risk of serious injury or death.
What to do if you or a loved one have been in an accident on US-285
If you have been in a car or truck accident, it is important to focus on your health first. Be sure to attend all doctor’s visits and rehabilitation appointments. When you are able, you can begin thinking about seeking compensation. This will mean gathering records from all of your appointments, bills, and other information.
It is best to hire an experienced attorney who understands your situation and all related laws before filing a claim or lawsuit. You will not have handle the process alone. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Research attorneys in your area or those in the area of your accident. Focus on their experience, past results, and their ability to speak with you often.
- Be sure to ask your attorney about their fees. Many will offer free consultations to help ease the stress of your situation.
- Gather all relevant information to your accident. This will include reports from the police, pictures from the scene, witness statements, medical bills, and doctors’ reports.
- Be prepared for the negligent party’s insurance company to contact you. Their goal is to protect their client, so they will ask you questions to get you to admit at least some fault.
Remember, you do not have to speak with the insurance company or give a recorded statement without an attorney.
If you lost a loved one in an accident, seeking compensation for your suffering may be a bit more difficult, You should find an attorney with experience handling wrongful death lawsuits, as well as oilfield accidents and car accidents. Only certain parties can file this type of lawsuit and they can seek compensation for things like loss of financial and emotional support. It is best to speak with an attorney about this before trying to file a claim.
Have you been in an accident on US-285?
If you have been involved in a Car Accident or Truck Accident on this stretch of dangerous highway, contact Attorney Dean Boyd and his caring Team today. We are prepared to help you if you have been hurt or lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. Call us 24/7 at (806) 242-3333 or Send Us an email for more information about our Services. We have offices at 4423 SW 45th Ave in Amarillo, Texas or 5012 50th St #103 in Lubbock, Texas.