Transporting crude oil via railway is a convenient way to bring the much needed fuel to many Americans, including those in Oklahoma City. In fact, reports state that almost 415,000 carloads of crude were transported via U.S. freight railroads in 2003. However, these benefits come at a price: train accidents. In fact, a recent deadly freight train accident shocked the nation after two trains, one of which was shipping crude oil, collided and caused a huge explosion. Another accident, this time a train derailment, killed 47 people and damaged the center of a local town in July.

To keep Americans safe from deadly train accidents, government and safety officials planned to toughen up certain railroad regulations. However, senators have recently complained that government regulators seem slow in developing new safety regulations for transporting crude oil by rail. Some government officials are upset with the delays and perceived failures of the safety regulators.

In contrast, the head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration said that her agency is doing its best to create new standards for tank cars used in transporting crude oil through the railways as soon as possible. Unfortunately, she noted that it might take some time to address the comments they received from the public and other requirements.

According to a report, the National Transportation Safety Board considered the original DOT-111 tank cars unacceptable safety risks. DOT-111 tank cars were involved in freight train derailments in North Dakota last December.

While train accidents may impact the economy, they may also endanger public safety. A railroad accident can injure or kill workers, passengers and others. For this reason, quick action from government and safety officials is needed.

Source: News9, “Senators: Quicker action needed on safety rules,” Joan Lowy, Mar. 7, 2014