Increase in Rail Accidents, Fatalities and Spills Over Previous Year
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada released 2013 transportation safety statistics on March 26, which show a 53% increase in rail-related fatalities over the previous year and a 67% higher number of deaths than the 5-year average. There were 127 rail-related fatalities in 2013, 83 in 2012 and the 5-year average is 76.
Reported rail accidents (derailments and collisions) involving dangerous goods also increased from 119 in 2012 to 144 in 2013, an increase of 21%. Of those accidents, 7 resulted in the spilling or release of dangerous goods, up 250% from 2012 and 133% higher than the 5-year average.
Of the 218 railway incidents reported in 2013, dangerous goods spilled or leaked 94 times, 24% higher than the 5-year average of 76. (Rail “incidents” do not involve derailments or collisions.)
It is important to note that many railway accidents and incidents are intentionally not reported to the TSB. For example, a recent CBC investigation found that Canadian National Railway did not report 1,843 derailments and other accidents to the TSB over a 6-year period. A former TSB Director has questioned whether CN is properly reporting all accidents today. It has been suggested there are incentives at CN to under-report derailments and other accidents. See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional examples of railway accidents.