Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

New oil-related train accident proves safety must be addressed

Many people in Tennessee might never put a lot of thought in to the state of North Dakota. The northern state, however, is part of the heartland of this country, and it is currently an economic gem among the states. Why? Because of oil, of course.

As we discussed in a prior post on our Tennessee personal injury law blog, an oil boom in North Dakota has provided job opportunities to citizens. Many of those jobs take place on the oil fields, but the blossomingBr industry has also resulted in greater demand of the railways.

In November, we shared how a train carrying oil from the north through Alabama derailed and exploded. Earlier this week, a similar situation took shape, further underlining the need for regulators to evaluate the oil transportation industry and railroad cars in particular.

On Monday, a 106-car train derailed and exploded, creating an extremely shocking and dangerous scene in North Dakota. Though no one was reportedly injured or killed in the railroad accident, safety critics are still calling for the U.S. Department of Transportation to take notice of the recent string of oil-related train accidents and do something to ensure railway car safety.

Train safety critics suggest that the vast majority of cars are outdated and, therefore, hazardous on the railways. They either need to be replaced or updated in order to meet federal safety codes.

With the significantly higher number of carloads on the railways for oil transportation compared to just a few years ago, as well as the economic interest behind the efficient transportation of more and more oil, the risk is that safety will be neglected. This matter impacts the safety of oil workers, railroad workers and more.

When there is a development regarding oil car safety and railroad safety overall, we will post an update.

Source: CBS News, "Fiery oil train accident raises new safety issues," Bruce Kennedy, Jan. 2, 2014

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