A tragic train accident earlier this summer in Canada has placed the spotlight on train safety. In that accident, a train full of crude oil started moving on the tracks, entering a small community before derailing and bursting into flames. The resulting fire claimed multiple lives and devastated the entire community. The train company has publicly placed blame on the engineer of the train as well as the local firefighters. Many local residents blame the train company. Safety authorities note that trains are increasingly being used to ship crude oil as well as other hazardous materials and this can increase the risk of train accidents in Hollywood and other communities across North America.
Florida has seen its fair share of train accidents. In 2004, a freight train accident in Florida injured three and caused one fatality. In 2002, over 140 people were injured in a passenger train accident and in 2009 another industrial accident occurred in the state. According to safety experts, there are several things that could help prevent future tragedies:
1) Stricter safety regulations. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Chemical Safety Board, and other agencies all play a part in preventing industrial accidents. Agencies investigate accidents and set rules. Some safety experts believe that more rules can be established to prevent accidents.
2) Replacing older tank cars with newer models. Currently, there are about 240 000 older DOT-111 tank cars transporting crude oil and other materials across North America, even though safety experts believe that newer models of tank cars are safer. The newer models have protective shields and thicker walls, which can help prevent tragedy. However, replacing the tank cars is expensive. In addition, newer tank cars are heavier and require a sturdy track. Safety experts in the train industry also note that the newer tank cars would not prevent all tragedies.
3) More safety policies for the aftermath of train accidents. A serious train-related traffic accident in Hollywood or another community is only the start of the environmental disaster that can follow. Serious train accidents can result in fires and subsequent burn injuries in Hollywood and other communities. They can also cause secondary car accidents, spills, property damage, and other issues. In addition, many hazardous materials, when spilled, can release dangerous fumes. Crude oil, for example, can release a toxic gas that includes benzene. The injuries sustained from these secondary accidents are harder to quantify and in some cases victims have trouble getting fair compensation for their lost income, medical costs, and other expenses. Personal injury attorneys in Hollywood and other communities often work to secure compensation for these victims.
If you have been injured by a train accident, you can always contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange for a free, no obligation case review. During your free consultation, you can review the specifics of your case with a personal injury attorney who has handled similar cases.