BACLIFF – An 18-wheeler ran off the road and killed a lawn contractor alongside Highway 146 on Tuesday, June 30.
According to police, Edson Alaniz Manzano, 20, was weed-eating on Highway 146 at FM 646 when the big rig veered off the road and struck him.
The driver, a 55-year-old man from Kentucky, was driving the empty tanker from La Porte to Texas City, a prominent city for the oil industry. Investigators report that there’s a possibility that a medical issue was involved; there were no signs of intoxication.
One witness reported that the driver looked like he was going to make a right-hand turn and another initially believed that the driver had fallen asleep.
Manzano was working for the landscaping company, BIO. The company did not wish to comment about the accident.
When driving for the oil industry, the Fracking Jobs website explains immediately that while the allure of money can easily outweigh the safety concerns, the should not be overlooked. FJ explains that the work is far more physically demanding and that lack of adequate rest may become an issue. FJ is also explicit in detailing that the hours are long and can be grueling, exhausting the body.
The oil industry is notoriously dangerous – it’s six times more dangerous than the average American job. Houston Chronicle went on to report that federal authorities have failed for the last 22 years to implement safety standards for onshore and offshore drilling. OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration – only has 95 inspectors to oversee safety rules for all Texas work sites and just a few have oil and gas-related experience or training.
If the at-fault driver did have a prevailing medical issue, why was he allowed to make the trip? There are rules and regulations established to prevent unfit people from driving and endangering the lives of those on the road. If the medical issue required medication, did the driver neglect taking it? Or was his issue severe enough that he shouldn’t have been driving to begin with? If the driver had fallen asleep, as one of the witnesses suggested, was he being urged to get to Texas City without taking his mandatory rest?
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