Soda can–shaped rail cars like those that exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, earlier this month shouldn't be on America's train tracks. They are prone to rupture in accidents.
Yet these so-called DOT-111 railway cars will continue to haul most of the oil that's moved through the U.S. by rail at least into next year and likely beyond.
After an investigation into a deadly 2009 explosion of an ethanol-laden train in Illinois, the National Transportation Safety Board called for a redesign or replacement of DOT-111 cars, noting that their thin steel shells can easily puncture and that valves can break during rollovers.
The Obama administration has been working on rules to reduce the hazards of the dangerous railway cars, but those rules have been delayed by nearly a year, the AP reports. And it's unclear whether new regulations would apply to an estimated 40,000 older DOT-111's now in use or only to newer ones.