Hazardous Materials Transportation
Railroads have a strong record for safely moving hazardous materials (hazmat), with 99.9977 percent of all shipments reaching their destination without a release caused by an accident. Thanks to their commitment to safety and innovation, railroads have lowered hazmat accident rates by 91 percent since 1980, and 38 percent since 2000.
The movement of hazardous materials is highly regulated, involves specialized employee and local first responder training, and is done with the utmost care to reduce safety and security risks.
The federal government has comprehensive regulations covering the safety and security of the movement of hazmat by rail – including the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The federal government also directs railroads to route hazardous materials on lines posing the least overall safety and security risk, and identifies the risk factors railroads should take into account in determining the best routes.
In addition to their strong record of safely moving hazardous materials, railroads also support customer efforts to replace Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) materials, a subset of hazmat, with less hazardous substitutes wherever possible. Safer substitutes are already feasible for many TIH materials today.
Railroad Tank Car Safety
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) North American Tank Car Committee is comprised of the AAR, rail car owners and manufacturers as well as shippers of hazmat, rail customers, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Transport Canada and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The committee works together to develop technical standards for how rail cars, including tank cars used to move hazmat, are designed and constructed.
Railroad Tank Cars
Tens of thousands of emergency responders from all across the country receive free hazmat training from railroads each year to help ensure that local emergency personnel will be prepared in the event of an accident. This training takes place at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. in Pueblo, Colo.