According to a recent article in the Miami Herald, train derailments happen all too frequently in the U.S. Citing federal government data, the Herald article informs that a staggering 1,044 derailments took place in 2022. Since February of this year, we have already seen sizable derailments in East Palestine, Ohio, Texas, South Carolina, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. Given recent news, we’re left to wonder if 2023 derailment figures will surpass those of the previous year.

Yearly Derailment Figures

Unfortunately, train derailments happen all too frequently in this country. Statistics gathered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) show that about 1,000 train derailments take place every year across the U.S. In 2022, there were 1,044 recorded derailments.

The most common cause of derailments is broken or defective railroads. According to the FRA, faulty or missing crossties are the single largest contributor to derailments. Crosstie issues triggered 5.6% of the derailments in 2022. Other causes of derailments include:

  • Excessive speed,
  • Track obstructions (for example, snow, ice, and mud), and
  • Faulty switch points

Low Fatality Rates

While the U.S. sees an abundance of derailments every year, they are fortunately associated with a low number of fatalities. Between 2017 and 2021, there have only been six fatalities directly caused by train derailments. Further, the reality is that trains are among the safer modes of transportation. This is according to research conducted by Ian Savage, an economist at Northwestern University.

Environmental Contamination

The good news is that deaths are not a common result of train derailments. The bad news is that derailments can cause serious environmental contamination. For example, a derailment took place in Graniteville, South Carolina in 2005. The accident resulted in 90 tons of liquid chlorine being released into the nearby town. Since the derailment, inhabitants of the town have complained of decreased lung function and increased blood pressure.

The February 3 derailment in East Palestine released the toxic chemical, vinyl chloride, into the air. Town residents raised alarms of serious health concerns. Breathing vinyl chloride has been linked to unconsciousness or death.

Contact Rossi Vucinovich for Help

 If you sustained a railroad injury, please contact our law firm for help. Rossi Vucinovich PC has been helping railroad employees and people injured in railroad accidents recover from railroad injuries for over 50 years. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the benefits you need to treat your injuries, pay your bills, and continue supporting your families. Do yourself a favor and contact us today to get the legal help you deserve.