In recent months, a spotlight has been placed on oil tanker car safety following a crash in Quebec over the summer that claimed the lives of 42 individuals and two additional incidents that caused destruction in the United States. Now, the Association of American Railroads has called upon the government to make marked safety improvements to these train cars.
The worry is that the rail cars that are currently transporting crude oil along the tracks suffer from certain deficiencies that could compromise their ability to retain their contents and prevent a veritable disaster during a crash. As these types of shipments have become more commonplace over the years, the issue has grown in importance.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration had invited public comments on this issue, prompting the call to action from the aforementioned association. They are asking for a host of safety improvements, including back and front shielding on the cars, valves that can relieve pressure, thermal protection, and a steel jacket that can encompass the car as a whole.
In addition, they are in favor of something that many safety advocates have been calling for: the retrofitting of older vehicles. Doing so would mean that not just newer tanker cars would benefit from the new safety improvements. The association wants to see retrofitting happening alongside the phaseout of those tankers that don’t meet the new requirements.