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Federal agency says improvements to unsafe tank cars can take years

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reported that accident-prone tank cars that are used to transport crude oil and ethanol by rail could still go about their daily routes for another 15 years under federal rules that make it possible for companies to phase in upgrades to their decades-old fleets. Accidents involving older cars have happened in Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Canada, Oregon, and Illinois, with the biggest in Lac-Megantic, Quebec wherein 47 people lost their lives after a runaway oil train derailed in 2013.

Transportation Department Press Secretary Clark Pettig said that the new rules couldn’t move forward because the schedule to retrofit older cars was instituted by Congress in a transportation bill passed in 2015. A meeting had been planned in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 13 that would entail how government and industry officials plan to make the NTSB informed regarding progress on the issue.

In an interview with The Associated Press, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt there had already been 28 railroad accidents during the past 10 years, which equates to three accidents annually. To avoid further accidents, United States Senator Ronald Lee “Ron” Wyden (Democrat of Oregon) introduced a bill that seeks to provide tax credits to companies that would upgrade their cars during the next several years, noting, “Communities near train tracks, like Mosier, Oregon, must be confident that companies are using the safest tank cars possible.”

If your health or personal safety has been compromised due to the use or patronage of defective pharmaceutical products, defective children’s products, defective construction equipment, or other products that should have been deemed safe before they were put in the market for public consumption, our attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can legally help you when you call our New York offices today at (212) 779-0057.

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