Hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a., fracking, requires intense truck trips to transport a large volume of water within a narrow time window, posing a safety threat to other road users. This paper examines how fracking-related trucking affects fatal crashes in North Dakota using the exogenous timing of fracking operations near a road segment. The results show that an additional post-fracking well within six miles of a road segment led to 8% more fatal crashes and 7.1% higher per-capita costs in accidents. Transport activities at wells’ other operational stages did not affect fatal crashes. These additional fatal crashes emerged mainly from collisions involving trucks, resulted from a higher traffic volume rather than a higher crash rate and occurred during daytime rush hours rather than during the rest of the day. Alcohol-involved drivers increased among these fatal crashes most likely due to their vulnerability to heavier fracking-induced traffic rather than more alcohol-involved truck drivers near the fracking sites.
- Fatal crashes
- Truck traffic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law