In recent years, trains have become an increasingly popular way to transport oil across the country. This is in large part due to the fracking boom that has produced millions of barrels of oil per day from isolated regions such as North Dakota. Much of the oil that is produced in North Dakota must be transported to the coast or other refineries around the country.
Since the 2013 Lac Meganitc disaster that killed 47 people in Quebec, United States, and Canadian officials have been searching for ways to improve safety measures for transporting crude oil and other flammable liquids across the country.
NTSB Announces Safety Recommendations
On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced four vital recommendations from its investigation into several recent train derailment accidents. One of those recommendations was improving the quality and durability of the rail cars that transport the flammable materials.
The agency’s investigation showed that the current model in use – the CPC-1232 – does not effectively stand up to fires that occur as a result of the derailment. The investigations also uncovered that the CPC-1232 is not equipped with effective pressure relief devices, which are used to release pressure to help control fires in the rail cars.
Changes Must Be Made Quickly
The NTSB noted that these changes must be made as quickly as possible in order to help prevent future derailment disasters. Most of the recent derailments have occurred in rural areas that have helped to minimize the damage, but were a derailment to occur near a heavily populated region, the results could be catastrophic.
The NTSB seems to have to cooperation of the White House in pushing for expedient changes to the rail cars. The Obama Administration is expected to release new rules in May that address the problem. Among them are improving the integrity of the rail cars with added steel and requiring that trains that are transporting oil and other flammable liquids be equipped with advanced braking systems that are designed to prevent derailments in the first place.
Click here to read about other train derailments and accidents.