Bakken Oil Field Truckers not in North Dakota “for the Scenery”
The Star Tribune’s Maya Rao offers a great look into Bakken oil field truckers hauling heavy. An interesting excerpt:
“You have to go heavy just to keep up with the wells,” said Jesse Scheffler, who once got a $3,000 ticket for driving a truck that was 20,000 pounds overweight. “We didn’t come to North Dakota for the scenery. We’re here for money.”
Alan Dybing, a researcher at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, a think tank on transportation issues, has studied the issue. “If you look at the expected benefit vs. the expected cost of getting caught, in many cases right now the benefit exceeds the cost, so that’s why we’re seeing a lot of this,” he said.
Overweight trucks used in the oil industry not only hurt roads and cost North Dakota significant money in maintenance and repair, they also put truck drivers and other people on the road in greater danger due to increased stopping distance and the potential for greater damage in crashes.
“It’s the stopping power,” [one driver] said, adding that he tried to keep more distance from other vehicles. “Your brakes are set up to stop a certain amount of weight, and if you increase that, you have a lot more chance of something going wrong.”