Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The committee works together to develop technicalstandards for how rail cars, including tank cars used to move hazmat, are designed andconstructed.
DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
and TC issuefederal tank car regulations. However, the AAR-North American Tank Car Committeealso issues standards, which today exceed the federal requirements.In 2008, the AAR-North American Tank Car Committee addressed the existing standardsfor tank cars transporting ethanol. This effort was expanded to include all DOT packinggroup I and II hazardous materials. Ethanol, as well as some crude oil, are packing groupI and II materials.AAR on behalf of the AAR-North American Tank Car Committee petitioned PHMSA inMarch 2011 to adopt
new standards for packing group I and IIhazardous materials. These standards are predicted to result in an almost 50 percentdecrease in the probability of a release from a derailed tank car.
Under AAR’s proposal,
the standards would be applicable to new tank cars.Recognizing that DOT action was not imminent, in July of 2011 AAR adopted the higherstandards proposed to DOT as requirements for new tank cars transporting crude oiland ethanol, ordered after October 1, 2011. The Tank Car Committee felt this wasneeded to ensure that the thousands of new tank cars being built would meet thehigher safety standard.All DOT-111 crude oil and ethanol tank cars ordered since October 2011 adhere to thetougher Tank Car Committee standards and include:
Thicker, puncture-resistant shell
Extra protective head shields at both ends of tank car
Additional protection for the top fittings
Higher flow capacity pressure release valves
NTSB and DOT-111 Recommendations
Following an accident in Illinois in 2009, the NTSB made a number of safety recommendationsto both the AAR and PHMSA regarding the DOT-111s.