The derailment of a 212-car Norfolk Southern train in Clark County on March 4 follows a recent Dayton Daily News investigation that found Ohio is among the worst in the country for train accidents.
Officials say the incident in Clark County did not involve any hazardous chemical spills or threat to the public. But our investigation found trains carrying hazardous materials routinely travel through the region. And Ohio also ranks among the worst in the country for hazardous material spills during transport, such as the Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine that caused the release of toxic materials.
Here are five things to know about the Dayton Daily News investigation of train safety.
1. There were 6,886 railroad accidents, such as derailment, collisions, fire or violent rupture, and explosions or detonation over the last four years in the U.S., according to data from USDOT’s Federal Railroad Administration.
2. Ohio ranks 4th in the U.S., with 281 train accidents between 2019 and November 2022. Texas had the most accidents, with 794, followed by Illinois and California, the data show.
3. In Montgomery County an average of 1.4 high-hazard flammable trains per week traveled through the county in 2022 and the highest number in one week was seven, according to Deb Decker, the county director of communications.
4. About 85% percent of serious incidents involving the release of hazardous material during transport occurred during highway transport, 12% on rail and 3% in air transport, between 2018 and January 31, according to data from the USDOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
5. Safety is the top priority for railroad companies and 99.9% of hazardous material shipments arrive at their destinations without incident, according to the Association of American Railroads.
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