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Oil Carrying Trains Pose Serious Risks

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2014 | Personal Injury

Late last month a train operated by the Canadian National Railway Company derailed and began leaking hazardous materials in southeastern Mississippi. The derailment forced the evacuation of residents and businesses located nearby.

Officials with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency say that no one was injured in the incident. However, 21 tanker cars derailed with eight of the cars suffering ruptures that led to their contents being spilled. Hazardous materials, including fertilizer and methanol, leaked out and emergency officials attempted to contain the damage.

According to news reports, the Mississippi derailment is merely the latest in a long string of damaging train crashes seen across the country this past year. Only a few weeks before the Mississippi crash, a 106-car BNSF train carrying crude oil crashed and derailed in North Dakota. That accident resulted in several massive explosions and caused thousands of gallons of crude oil to leak into the ground.

Even more alarming was the crash last July in Quebec that resulted in dozens of cars derailing. The oil-carrying train exploded, leading to fires and evacuations. When all was said and done, 47 people were killed as a result of the Canadian derailment.

Safety advocates have begun to warn that it is only a matter of time until a similar catastrophe takes place on American soil given then huge increases in crude oil that is now being shipped by rail. Due to a shortage of pipelines and a boom in American oil production, trains have begun carrying vast amounts of oil across the country to refineries and ports. In fact, data shows that last year more than 400,000 tanker cars full of oil were transported by rail, a record.

Though the boom in transportation is good for the railroad industry, it raises troubling concerns for those working on trains or living near the railroad tracks. One of the mot popular tanker cars, the DOT-111, has been known to rupture easily in the event of a derailment, something that poses exceptional dangers when carrying toxic and explosive substances like crude oil.

Critics say the railroad industry needs to address the problem of defectively designed railroad tanker cars and also make some serious changes to the way that it transports oil. Trains carrying flammable substances should move more slowly than other trains and should be rerouted away from populated areas when possible. The hope is that by making these changes now, potentially deadly crashes can be averted down the road.

If you have been injured in a Mississippi car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at 601-707-4669.

Source: “Train carrying fuel oil derails, spills in Mississippi,” by Therese Apel, published at Yahoo.com.

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