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AFPM Asks NTSB to Put More Focus on Derailments

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In response to the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recent recommendations for the retrofitting and replacement of tank cars, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) today sent a letter reminding the Agency of its commitment to a holistic approach to crude-by-rail safety and asking that it use its position to hold the Department of Transportation (DOT) accountable for the prevention of derailments. DOT's final rule on enhanced tank car standards, which as proposed focuses on mitigation in the event of an incident, is expected to be announced in early May 2015.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data shows that there were over 1,100 Class 1 derailments in 2014, averaging more than three each day with poor track integrity sited as the number one cause. Efforts to enhance rail safety must begin with addressing track integrity and human factors, which combined account for the majority of derailments.

DOT's expected rail car standards will target primarily only one element of rail safety – mitigation, but a balanced approach must address the lead cause of rail accidents – track integrity. Additionally, while NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart emphasized the need to address prevention, mitigation and response, testifying at an April 15, 2015 House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing that we "need to keep the cars on the tracks," the Agency's recent recommendations focused on mitigation and failed to provide any measures that should be taken to prevent accidents in the first place.

"NTSB has traditionally pursued a holistic approach to rail safety, but the emphasis on tank car modifications through an overly aggressive and infeasible retrofit schedule creates the incorrect perception that tank car improvements are the magic remedy that will singularly improve crude-by-rail safety," AFPM President Charles T. Drevna wrote. "Preventing derailments in the first place and focusing on the root causes of accidents still provides the greatest tool in enhancing crude-by-rail safety. When making safety recommendations for air transport, the NTSB doesn't recommend that the FAA require indestructible planes. Instead, the focus is on preventing errors like mid-air collisions, runway incursions and pilot error."

Read the letter in its entirety here.

About AFPM

AFPM, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers is a trade association representing high-tech American manufacturers of virtually the entire U.S. supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, other fuels and home heating oil, as well as the petrochemicals used as building blocks for thousands of vital products in daily life. AFPM members make modern life possible and keep America moving and growing as they meet the needs of our nation and local communities, strengthen economic and national security, and support 2 million American jobs.

CONTACT: media@afpm.org

Source: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers