January 23, 2014 1:00 PM, EST
Safety Boards Fault Rail Hazmat Standards in US, Canada
Eddie Seal/Bloomberg News

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada issued recommendations Jan. 23 to improve the transportation of crude oil by rail on both sides of the border.

The safety boards made three recommendations: to require hazardous-materials route planning to avoid populated and other sensitive areas; audit railroads to ensure that they can properly respond to hazmat disasters; and audit shippers and railroads to ensure correct labeling of hazmat loads.

The safety boards also called for tougher standards for tank cars.

"The large-scale shipment of crude oil by rail simply didn't exist 10 years ago, and our safety regulations need to catch up with this new reality,"  NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in a statement.

The report comes on the heels of a December derailment in Casselton, N.D. involving flammable liquids being transported in tank cars and a Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, derailment in July that killed 47 people.