Technical Reports

Tank Car Accident Data Analysis

  • 01
  • Jun
  • 1991
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration; Morrin E. Hazel, Jr.
SUBJECT: Hazardous Materials
KEYWORDS: Tank cars, Accidents, Hazardous materials, Accident rates, Accident statistics, Accident cargo
ABSTRACT: This report presents the results of a study of accidents involving railroad tank cars. The study is part of an overall effort to provide improved safety of rail transportation at reduced life-cycle costs. A major goal of the study is to provide a technical basis for development of improved safety standards based upon performance of vehicles, components, track construction and maintenance, and vehicle/track interaction. The characteristics of individual tank cars involved and the recorded causes of accidents were examined for the years 1981 through 1985. The severity and frequency of accident involvement were determined and the data were reduced to sets of vehicle, track, and operational factors. Because the annual accident counts were generally too small in any one grouping to draw statistically significant conclusions, the 5-year data were aggregated into one 5-year sample for most of the analyses. Statistically significant correlations in the vehicle/track characteristics affecting large numbers of accidents can be used to establish priorities for future tank car safety research and testing.