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Shapiro & Appleton

New Federal Oil Train Safety Plan Due in May

The US Department of Transportation will offer an all-new design for oil trains by May, as officials try to better ensure that oil is moved safely on the nation’s railways.

The new oil tanker will feature a thicker skin, better heat protection and other key safety features that are intended to minimize future derailments from becoming fiery catastrophes that injure and kill innocent people, as well as contaminate the environment.

The Department of Transportation stated this week that the new plan should reduce the consequences of oil train derailments, which also may carry ethanol, gasoline and other large amounts of flammable and toxic chemicals.

One potential problem to overcome is how to reconcile the new standards with those of Canada. That country is pursuing a more aggressive timetable to retire older tank cars than the US is.

Our work as train accident personal injury lawyers has exposed us to some railroad and train companies that put profit ahead of safety, as was the case in a $370,000 settlement we handled a few years ago involving an injured rail conductor. More aggressive government mandates should help to reduce the carnage when an oil train derailment occurs.

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