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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Increased traffic accident rates associated with shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania

Jove Graham, Jennifer Irving, Xiaoqin Tang, Stephen Sellers, Joshua Crisp, Daniel Horwitz, Lucija Muehlenbachs, Alan Krupnick, David Carey
Accident; Analysis and Prevention 2015, 74: 203-9
25463961

OBJECTIVES: We examined the association between shale gas drilling and motor vehicle accident rates in Pennsylvania.

METHODS: Using publicly available data on all reported vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania, we compared accident rates in counties with and without shale gas drilling, in periods with and without intermittent drilling (using data from 2005 to 2012). Counties with drilling were matched to non-drilling counties with similar population and traffic in the pre-drilling period.

RESULTS: Heavily drilled counties in the north experienced 15-23% higher vehicle crash rates in 2010-2012 and 61-65% higher heavy truck crash rates in 2011-2012 than control counties. We estimated 5-23% increases in crash rates when comparing months with drilling and months without, but did not find significant effects on fatalities and major injury crashes. Heavily drilled counties in the southwest showed 45-47% higher rates of fatal and major injury crashes in 2012 than control counties, but monthly comparisons of drilling activity showed no significant differences associated with drilling.

CONCLUSIONS: Vehicle accidents have measurably increased in conjunction with shale gas drilling.

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