Increased petrochemical transportation by U.S. railroads is raising questions about safety. In July, 2013, 73 pressurized oil tankers on an unattended Montreal, Maine and Atlantic railroad train detached from their locomotives and plunged four miles downhill into a small town called Lac-Megantic, Quebec. They exploded, devastating the town and killing 47 people. This train wreck was of such a magnitude that emergency medical personnel were unable to treat any of the victims. The city of Lac-Megantic has already spent $8 million on cleanup efforts and is seeking financial assistance to help restore the city. Unfortunately, city officials now see little possibility for reimbursement from the railroad. The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railroad filed for bankruptcy on August 7, 2013 due to potential liability for gross negligence. According to experts, the catastrophe may have resulted from railroad under-staffing and a problem with the train's brakes. The Transportation Safety Board concluded that "the brakes were not applied with enough force to stop the cars from rolling during the incident." Oil Boom: Are Profits Undermining Safety? With the American oil boom in Bakken, SD, U.S. oil transport in the U.S. has gone from 11,000 train carloads of crude oil shipped in 2009 to 234,000 carloads shipped in 2012. This summer alone, shipped oil carloads averaged 243,725 per week. To keep pace with the demand for transport, railroads have employed older tanker cars that are at risk for leaks and corrosion. Booming business is a poor excuse for taking risks that can result in massive death and destruction. This train wreck has produced an outcry for new rules and regulations to ensure safe rail transport of oil in the future. The oil boom can benefit everyone, but the transportation industry must ensure that new oil reserves are distributed safely. In 2012 alone, there were 88 incidents involving rail transport of crude oil whereas ten years ago, there were only one or two. Transportation Companies Are Responsible For Implementing Safety Measures As a result of the Lac-Megantic accident, The Department of Transportation's Federal Railway Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are implementing stricter safety measures for oil transport. The new measures include railroad checkpoints where safety inspections can determine whether a railroad is in compliance with federal safety regulations. Railroad giant BNSF invested $4.3 billion in train track upgrades and has pledged to raise safety standards to improve its crude oil delivery system. Unfortunately, some railroad companies are trying to blame oil producers for safety issues. Blaming oil companies for railroad accidents is like "blaming a car accident on the groceries in the trunk." A better strategy is to learn from mistakes by implementing safety measures to prevent tragedies like Lac-Megantic from ever occurring again. The energy boom in Bakken, South Dakota must be seen for what it is; an opportunity for many people to profit in accordance with stricter safety measures that protect railroad employees and the public alike. FELA Representation For Railroad Workers The Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) was created in 1908 to protect railroad workers and their families from on-the-job injuries. If you have suffered a railroad work injury that was caused by employer negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, costs and lost income. Unlike workers' compensation claims, FELA claims for railroad work injuries can include compensation for pain and suffering. However, because railroad companies have vast resources to protect their interests, you will need aggressive and experienced legal representation. If you have been harmed as a result of your railroad job, a FELA attorney can help, but you must obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. FELA attorneys work on a no-win, no-fee basis.