From the chlorine used to purify drinking water to the chemicals used in fertilizers, railroads provide a safe solution for moving the hazardous materials (hazmat) essential to daily life.
Today, more than 99.999% of all hazmat moved by rail reaches its destination without a release caused by an incident, making rail a responsible choice when compared with other modes, like trucks.
Railroads recognize the responsibility that comes with moving hazmat and strive each day to safely and securely deliver the freight entrusted to them. Working with customers, suppliers, communities and federal regulators — like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security — railroads’ approach to hazmat safety is both exacting and all-encompassing. These efforts range from rigorous design standards for rail cars carrying hazmat and specialized mobile applications to provide greater transparency for first responders to a software system jointly developed by the industry and the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration to evaluate and determine the safest, most secure rail routes on which to move the materials.
These efforts — coupled with the rail industry’s ongoing commitment to infrastructure investment, technology deployment, rigorous employee training, improved operating practices and community safety efforts — have lowered hazmat accident rates by 41% since 2008.