Every driver knows when they visit the local gas station that they have a variety of options to fill up their car. And just as you know that putting diesel fuel in your Honda Accord would leave you stranded on the side of the road, so too should major transportation companies know the importance of distinguishing between different types of fuel.
On July 6, 2013, 47 people were killed and many others were personally injured in a train derailment and explosion near the city of Quebec, Canada. Investigators believe the train's shipment of crude oil was mistakenly labeled as "Group 3" rather than the more explosive "Group 2". The "Group 2" oil carried by the train was the functional equivalent of gasoline and was much more likely to explode absent delicate care.
The driverless train, hauling 72 tanker cars, was parked uphill of the Quebec suburb of Lac-Megantic when it rolled away, accelerated downhill and derailed causing a massive explosion.
The gigantic blasts already had raised questions about the cargo, given that regular crude oil does not normally explode very readily. Train safety regulations differ based upon the classification of the cargo. When asked if the correct labeling could have avoided the explosion, Canadian transportation safety board's chief investigator, Donald Ross, said the investigation was still ongoing.
The accident has revealed systemic problems related to the transportation and classification of volatile fuels. The United States National Transportation Safety Board and the Canadian equivalent have vowed to continue to investigate the crash and determine what, if any, appropriate measures must be taken.
While tragic, the carelessness displayed by some workers in this case is not an isolated event. If you or your family member have been involved in an accident as a result of the negligence of another, contact the attorneys at JKFM Law to see what legal rights you are entitled to.