Train Safety In Spotlight Again Following North Dakota Crash

Posted on January 3, 2014

Another train wreck has safety advocates and federal officials worried about the current state of the industry.  This time, the National Transportation Safety Board has vowed to look into the matter, and their efforts as well as the current state of things are examined in a new report from the Los Angeles Times.

In question is the practice of using trains to haul oil, something that has grown increasingly common in modern times as oil producers seek out ways to get their products to the market.  This has led to a proliferation of rail cars designed to transport crude oil to the refineries where they can be readied for usage.

The safety of these trains has come into question, though, and the latest incident in North Dakota, in which a train crashed and triggered the evacuation of a nearby area, further casts a light on the dangers of oil transportation in its current form.

Crews of such trains are reportedly not required to be educated as to proper precautions to take specifically with crude oil and other hazardous substances, and with many trains traveling directly through cities, worries about what could happen in an explosive crash continue to mount.

The NTSB is now seeking ways to ensure future safety, and some believe that their focus will be on improving the rail cars themselves, something the agency has already recommended.  The hope is that such a move could help avert spillage or explosions when a crash does occur.

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