DOT takes action on crude-by-rail safety

Department of Transportation

Washington – In an effort to improve safety for trains that carry crude oil and ethanol, the Department of Transportation has issued several targeted actions to the railroad industry regarding the transportation of Class 3 flammable liquids.

The actions include:

  • An emergency order that requires trains carrying crude oil to adhere to a 40 mph speed limit through densely populated communities
  • A notice recommending that railroads use only designated inspectors – not other train crew members – to conduct pre-departure mechanical inspections
  • A safety advisory requesting that railroads provide detailed information to local emergency responders about hazardous materials being hauled, the risks of fire or explosion, immediate methods for handling fires, and other factors
  • A safety advisory that requests railroads to provide specific information to investigators in the event of a crude-by-rail incident

“Taking the opportunity to review safety steps and to refresh information before moving forward is a standard safety practice in many industries, and we expect the shipping and carrier industries to do the same,” FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg said in a press release.