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West Virginia Train Explosion Shows Need for Tougher Transportation Regulations

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Last week, on Tuesday February 17, a train carrying 100 tankers of crude oil derailed and exploded in West Virginia. The explosion, which occurred in Fayette County, resulted in a massive fireball, displaced more than 1,000 local residents, and contaminated the local water supply. One home was destroyed and one victim was reportedly injured. Video of the massive explosion went viral.

The West Virginia incident is an unfortunate reminder about the dangers of transporting oil and other hazardous materials. It is also a reminder that local, state, and federal governments need to pass tougher safety regulations if they wish to better protect public safety. Explosions and accidents involving hazardous materials, oil transportation, and refineries occur far too often.

With the U.S. increasing domestic oil production, there is a serious need for tougher regulations. In Texas, where the oil and energy industries are thriving, better laws to protect workers and the general public are a necessity.

DOT Proposes Stronger Laws

According to the US Department of Transportation, accidents / incidents involving the transportation of oil and other flammable materials are expect to increase in regularity if no improvements are made. As such, DOT officials have proposed tougher laws, including:

  • Phasing out thousands of older tank cars, which are at higher risk of being involved in accidents
  • Enhanced tank car standards
  • Implementing a classification and testing program for mined gases and liquids
  • Better operational requirements for high-hazard flammable trains (HHFT)

At The Daspit Law Firm, our legal team knows that the oil industry is capable of properly ensuring the safety of their transportation operations, but that as a result of their negligence or attempts to save money, they can place employees and public at risk. We believe that companies in the oil industry need to make every effort possible to improve safety standards.

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