NTSB Head Urges Obama Administration To Make Safety Changes On Trains

The Associated Press reported
yesterday that the National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) is strongly
urging the Obama administration to order immediate changes to trains that haul
crude oil. Concern about the safe transport
of highly flammable oil and ethanol were heightened after a runaway oil train
derailed and then exploded last July in the small town of Lac-Megantic in
Canada, just across the border from Maine. More than 60 tank cars spilled more
than 1.3 million gallons of crude oil from the booming Bakken region of North
Dakota and Montana. Forty-seven people were killed and 30 buildings destroyed
in resulting inferno.

There have been eight oil train accidents in the U.S. and Canada in the past year, including several that
created spectacular fires. Most were in lightly populated areas, although one
crash and fire in December occurred less than two miles from the town of
Casselton, N.D. 

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman stated
Wednesday, “In addition to moving forward on updating tank car
regulations, we have taken immediate action to issue multiple safety
advisories, conduct investigations, and reach agreements with the rail industry
to reduce speeds, utilize new braking technology and improve first responder
training — an unprecedented, comprehensive approach.”

The issue it appears at this point
is who will fund the upgrades and how the tanker upgrades will implement. There
appears to be a lack of consensus between the oil companies, train companies
and train manufacturers. 

I agree with the NTSB here as the
writing is on the wall for changes. What happens when there is another accident
and more people are injured or die and the evidence shows that the faulty
tankers, if replaced, could have mitigated the damages? The answer is clear:
the oil, train and manufacturing companies will all be on the hook for any
personal injuries, wrongful death or property damages. There could also be a
strong argument for punitive damages since the companies all knew (for a long
period of time) that they needed to improve the quality of the oil tankers
being hauled across the country.

If you or someone you love has been
injured in an Illinois train crash or Chicago train accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, at 312-588-3384 for a free legalconsultation