Hoeven: NTSB, Canadian TSB Issue Recommendations to Improve Rail Tank Car Safety

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today spoke with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Administrator Deborah Hersman and was notified of new recommendations the agency is making to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) to improve rail tanker car safety.

The NTSB recommendations were issued jointly with the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, (CNTSB) and include the following:

  • Shippers and railways must have the right classification for all commodities in terms of flammability and risk to make sure they are shipped in the proper tanker cars.
  • Railroads must do expanded route planning for liquids to reduce risk and enhance safety.
  • Shippers and railways must have response and mitigation plans in place for any rail accident scenario.

“These are commonsense recommendations that can reduce the risk and damage associated with rail accidents, and they should be followed,” Hoeven said. “Further, they align with the voluntary steps that the railroads and shippers have agreed to undertake when we met with them and federal regulators last week.”

In addition, the NTSB has already issued recommendations on derailments, including the need for positive train controls and additional inspections. Hoeven said he is working on the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide more inspectors to meet the need.

The NTSB also issue recommendations on improving the strength of rail tank cars in 2009. The Canadian TSB is now issuing similar recommendations regarding tank cars to improve safety.