Railroad Accident Expert Witnesses

Railroad accident expert witnesses may explain railway safety and maintenance standards as well as what may have led to a rail accident. On July 2, a CSX freight train carrying flammable and toxic gas derailed in Tennessee. Five thousand people were evacuated from homes and businesses when a tank car containing the hazardous material acrylonitrile began burning.

In May, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. Developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in coordination with Canada, the rule focuses on safety improvements that are designed to prevent accidents, mitigate consequences in the event of an accident, and support emergency response.

The rule:

  1. Unveils a new, enhanced tank car standard and an aggressive, risk-based retrofitting schedule for older tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol;
  2. Requires a new braking standard for certain trains that will offer a superior level of safety by potentially reducing the severity of an accident, and  the “pile-up effect”;
  3. Designates new operational protocols for trains transporting large volumes of flammable liquids, such as routing requirements, speed restrictions, and information for local government agencies; and
  4. Provides new sampling and testing requirements to improve classification of energy products placed into transport.


About Karen Olson

Information Professional with twenty years experience in legal, public record, and business research. Fifteen years law firm experience.

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