Herald editorial on oil trains ignored railroad safety record

The Herald’s Dec. 13 editorial (“Don’t reverse rule on oil train brakes”) on a decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation to rescind a mandate for railroads to install electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes ignores railroads’ impressive safety record.

The sector set records for accident and derailment rates in 2016, making it the safest year ever for rail. Federal data shows that 99.998 percent of all crude shipments by rail reach their destination safely. A mere 0.26 percent of all derailments involve crude oil.

Railroads have led the pack in requiring safer tank cars and continue to provide preparedness training to emergency responders and employees. The industry also shares critical information with stakeholders, including through an app called AskRail, which allows first responders to instantly access information on the contents of trains moving through their communities.

Underlying this are massive private investments — $26 billion annually in recent years — including in a host of innovative technologies. To rigidly concentrate on ECP brakes as a magic bullet, when testing proves them unreliable, is misleading. None other than the National Academies of Sciences opined that the safety case for ECP brakes has not been made. This key fact should guide future editorials for accuracy.

Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO

Association of American Railroads

Washington, D.C.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

June 22, 2024: The Warning Label
Editorial cartoons for Monday, June 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

FILE - Lion Air's Boeing 737 Max 8 sits on the tarmac at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, April 13, 2019. Indonesia said Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, it is lifting its ban on Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, three years after one crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board. (AP Photo Nicole Evatt, File)
Editorial: Boeing quality proving difficult to recapture

The company seeks to assure its rededication to quality, but recent news is getting in the way.

Comment: Schools banning cellphones; wha’ts not to like?

Parents can still make the call on whether kids have cellphones. Schools can decide their use in school.

Saunders: Biden should stop with Trump bleach-injection fable

The story requires some context, but Trump did not call for people to inject bleach to cure covid.

Comment: Court’s bump stock ruling reflects its MAGA direction

Continuing its conservative activism, the majority turned to the dictionary to legalize machine guns.

Loss of Herald staff a loss for journalism, democracy

Friday, the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County issued the following… Continue reading

Readers will notice the loss of Herald staff in newspaper

My deepest sympathies for The Herald’s newsroom staff regarding the pending layoffs.… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, June 23

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

President Joe Biden hugs Javier Quiroz Castro, who benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, during an anniversary event for DACA in the East Room at the White House on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. President Biden on Tuesday announced sweeping new protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have been living in the United States illegally for years but are married to American citizens. (Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times)
Comment: Biden looks to protect immigrant spouses of citizens

An executive order providing legal status would help families and the communities in which they live.

Herald layoffs mark sad day for local journalism

I did not subscribe to The Herald to support a company from… Continue reading

Thanks for doing the math to determine Herald Athletic Cup

I read with pleasure the article about high school sports and the… Continue reading

How can Herald continue with much smaller staff?

I am stunned by the news in Thursday’s Herald regarding the significant… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.