AP: Study Projects More Derailments of Fuel-Hauling Trains

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The U.S. government says fuel-hauling trains could derail an average of 10 times per year, with the potential to kill hundreds and cause more than $4 billion in damage. The analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation comes in the shadow of last week's fiery derailment of a train in West Virginia, loaded with crude and sparking a week-long fire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of families.

The U.S.D.O.T. predicts approximately 15 derailments this year and more than 200 derailments over a 20-year period. The study indicates that if one of the more severe accidents were to occur in a high population area, more than 200 lives could be at risk.

But the rail industry is pointing to what it calls an improving safety record, dropping from more than 3,000 accidents annually to fewer than 2,000 in 2013.

The Associated Press reports that the projection of an average of 10 rail accidents per year came out of a transportation department analysis from July 2014.