Research Project

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Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Fracking-Related Crashes


To identify and analyze CMV crash trends in the energy-producing regions of the country (e.g., the Dakotas, Texas and Louisiana, New York south into Alabama, Michigan, and Indiana) that are using hydraulic fracking mining methods.


Significant safety issues involving large CMV crashes have been identified in regions where CMVs are used to haul fracking materials (mostly water and sand) across the country to regions where fracking is occurring. These regions are described as areas that are rural and even unpaved. These rural areas are not typical for CMV travel or commercial vehicle operator navigation.


Some of the challenges related to CMV travel to and from fracking regions and the transportation of fracking materials are: the increase in truck traffic surrounding areas that are not typically exposed to the conditions, and the availability of hours-of-service (HOS) exceptions for oilfield operations. There have also been concerns raised about the consistency of enforcement of HOS rules among the States. For example, there is a 24-hour restart exemption for operators (with “highly specialized training”) of equipment constructed for oilfield operations. These operators are not required to count detention time at well sites as on-duty time. This exemption is sometimes applied to drivers of CMVs who are transporting fracking materials; however, CMV drivers who are simply transporting fracking materials do not have the “highly specialized training” that oilfield equipment operators have, thus they fall outside of the applicable status for use of the exception. This project seeks to identify and analyze CMV crash trends in the energy-producing regions of the country that are using hydraulic fracking mining methods.


A report that that analyzes the impact of fracking-related CMV crashes by identifying crashes related to fracking based on the region and the materials being transported. The report will also 1) evaluate the CMV hauling hazards of this sector based on safety impact, 2) develop safety countermeasures, and 3) reconsider current exemptions based on risk.


Oct/Nov 2016: Kick-off meeting
Nov/Dec 2016: Report on background, literature review, and potential data sources on CMV transportation for fracking sector.
July 2018: Report on the analysis and evaluation of—and recommendations for—fracking-related CMV crashes.


FY 2016: $200,000

Current Status:

Active—Project awarded.

Project Manager:

For more information, contact Nicole Michel of the Research Division at (202) 366-4354 or


John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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