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How Is Technology Avoiding Train Accidents?

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Train crashes and train derailments happen worldwide every year; many remember the devastating 2013 Lac-Megantic derailment and fire in Canada that killed 42 people. 

However, there is new technology being installed by train companies and railroads to reduce the chance of train accidents, which are highlighted below. Of course, accidents still happen, and it’s important to talk to an experienced train accident attorney if it’s happened to you. 

Enhanced Train Braking

The United States now requires better braking on trains that carry flammable materials, such as oil and petroleum. Any train with a block of 20 train cars or more that has a combustible liquid must be fitted with a two-way end-of-train (EOT) electronic device or a distributed power braking system. 

Both devices spread braking functionality across several points on the train for faster, more reliable stopping power. 

Additionally, any train with 70 or more tanker cars with flammable contents at speeds above 40 MPH must have an electronically controlled pneumatic braking apparatus by May 2023. 

These advanced technologies allow for better-controlled braking by allowing for more uniform and responsive braking pressure application. The bottom line is a shorter stopping distance, lower derailment risks, and lower chances of train car pileup if a derailment does happen. 

Safer Tanker Cars

The tank cars involved in the Lac-Megantic tragedy were an older Class III variety, which was known to be likely to rupture even in a low-speed accident. 

After that derailment, the US and Canada came up with a stricter tanker car standard called Class 117. The new car has better resistance to punctures, enhanced structural strength, and is resistant to fractures if a derailment happens. 

However, it’s notable that Class III tankers are still allowed to be used in the US and Canada for some dangerous chemicals until June 2025. 

Better Information Sharing

Technological advancements are allowing better information sharing between train operators and government agencies, which allows for more effective decision-making. For instance, Canada’s protective Direction No. 36 requires railroad companies to provide cities and counties with dangerous goods updates, including the number of trains, cars carrying hazardous materials, and more. 

This information is designed to provide local governments with what they need to know for effective emergency responses and planning. 

The US is mandating better classification of many petroleum-based products to ensure better record-keeping and packaging by requiring a documented testing and sampling procedure. This information is needed to be given to the US Department of Transportation when requested. 

Human Error

While technological improvements reduce the chances of train accidents, human error can still occur. 

For example, in the Lac-Megantic tragedy, the train carried millions of liters of crude oil through the small town in Quebec at a dangerous 65 MPH before veering off the tracks, killing 47 people. 

A few hours before the wreck, the train idled in Nantes, Quebec, and the engine caught fire and was disabled by the local fire department. 

There was no power from the engine, so air leaked from the braking system. Not enough handbrakes were applied, and the train rolled downhill out of control toward the small town of Lac-Megantic. 

Some of the reasons for that crash were less about technology and more about humans failing to use technology. Some human failures in that derailment were failure to maintain the train engine, not understanding the connection between the engine and air brakes, and not setting and testing handbrakes properly. 

Better training of train operators has been the norm in Canada and the US since that fateful day in 2013, but there is still more work to prevent future train accidents.

From television to the internet platform, Jonathan switched his journey in digital media with Bigtime Daily. He served as a journalist for popular news channels and currently contributes his experience for Bigtime Daily by writing about the tech domain.

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Global Crypto Market Cap Threatens to Break Below Current 2022 Lows

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The global cryptocurrency market capitalization topped during the first half of November 2021, and since then it has been on a one-way ride towards the downside. With the entire market currently trading at approximately 35% below all-time highs, many traders are now wondering whether the sellers are already exhausted, meaning that an upward shift is due in the near future, or whether the bear market still has room to go. 

In such a challenging environment, trading or investing in crypto is tricky, making it difficult for traders/investors to time the market correctly, and spot key support/resistance areas on the chart. All of the variables that drove valuations higher between 2020-2021 (fiscal/monetary stimulus, weaker fiat currencies, and appetite for riskier assets) have reversed, leaving bulls stumbling for the exit. 

Bitcoin weakens below $40k 

Speaking of Bitcoin, the $38,000 area is regarded as key support, which might be one of the reasons why the price is still trading around it. The late-March 2022 rally failed to gather pace and now BTC finds itself trading close to the yearly lows. 

Things are not looking encouraging, not just because Bitcoin lost 40% from its peak, but also based on the market share. During broad crypto selling, the BTC market dominance increased in past cycles. It doesn’t seem to be the case now, as the figure has stabilized around 42% since mid-2021. Investors want to keep a diversified exposure even during a downturn, and this is a clear signal that Bitcoin’s safe-haven status is weakening. 

Major altcoins not showing signs of strength

Anyone who is just beginning to learn how to trade cryptocurrencies should know that this is an environment where caution is advised. Bitcoin aside, things are not looking very good for the altcoins sector as well. Based on the opening price at the beginning of 2022, Ethereum is down 24%, Binance Coin -26% and other tokens such as Solana are posting losses above 50%. 

There this might not be the time for buy and hold, considering that valuations might be even more attractive in the future. It is possible, however, to take advantage of what retail brokerages are offering in terms of crypto trading benefits. With derivatives based on cryptocurrencies, short-selling is a viable option, making it possible to take advantage of bearish conditions. 

Inflation and broad risk appetite

Rising inflation around the world set a chain of events in motion, and these events are clearly not in favor of crypto bulls. Central banks are forced to step in and normalize monetary policies in developed countries, for price increases to diminish towards their target of around 2%. 

Additionally, fiscal spending is taking a few steps back, as governments need to pay higher interest on new debt or refinancing operations. During a time of rising prices, private and institutional investors need to make concessions and prioritize spending. 

In such an environment, the interest in volatile assets such as crypto is very low, which explains the lack of momentum. For the time being, global capitalization is trading around $1.72 trillion and threatens to break below the 2022 low of $1.64 trillion. Until the global economy receives a new round of stimulus, there appears to be little hope for a strong bounce back to a bull run. 

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