NEW YORK – Oil has become more than just a luxury resource. For millions of Americans, it’s a necessity and the demand for black gold sends millions of gallons of the highly flammable crude oil through cities, towns and backyards across the country.
The preferred mode of transportation from east coast to west is on railways but each year, accidents happen.
On February 16, a train derailed in West Virginia resulting in an explosion and at least seven rail cars caught fire. Due to the volatile crude oil the train was transporting, dozens of nearby homes were forced to evacuate.
“That incident was in Mount Carbon, West Virginia; a town with a population of around 400 people. Imagine if something like this happened on a railway near millions of people like the tracks around New York City,” train accident lawyer Steve Barnes said.
There are thousands of miles of track used by more than a half dozen railroad companies in the business of transporting crude oil. Many of these railways travel through New York metropolitan area.
At the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), federal authorities have mapped out half-mile-wide ‘evacuation zones’ and mile-wide areas that could be affected if another train accident were to occur.
“These crashes not only cost billions of dollars in damage, they can put lives at risk,” Barnes said.
The US DOT recently predicted there will be an average of 10 dangerous derailments every year for the next two decades.
To see an interactive map of crude oil railways, click here.