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Are train derailments common in the US. How many per year?

WTF! Who's driving these things, Mickey Mouse?


Emergency services are monitoring the fallout from a train derailment earlier this week in Florida after a 30,000-gallon tanker carrying propane gas was found on its side.

While officials said that there appeared to be “no leakage at this time”, the situation is drawing comparisons with the East Palestine derailment in early February, with the extent of the health concerns caused by that incident still unknown. The Florida derailment also came on the same day as a tragic incident in Greece, where a collision between a freight and passenger train claimed the lives of 57 people.

Tracking the data

With recent instances in Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and now Florida, it may feel like the number of derailments in the US has suddenly increased — but they have actually been a common phenomenon for years.

Indeed, the Federal Railroad Administration, which has been monitoring annual train accidents across America since 1975, has recorded more than 12,500 derailments in the last decade alone. That’s equivalent to some 24 trains veering off track every single week.

Fortunately, most of those incidents don’t cause a loss of life, or spill toxic material over an entire town. In fact, derailment numbers in general have fallen, roughly halving since 2000.

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