Reasonable people can disagree as to how involved the government should be in our day-to-day lives. There are levels of involvement with which each of us is comfortable. What is inarguable is that if the government is going to bother intervening, they should make sure to offer equal protection to all people. That is supposed to be guaranteed by the Constitution.
The New York government recently had the opportunity to address a longstanding hole in the hazmat regulations that govern what types of materials truckers can transport on what roads. According to the newly updated Hazardous Materials Route Registry, truckers are still free to transport hazardous materials on every New York roadway that isn’t in New York City, including in residential neighborhoods. The problems with this policy are obvious. There is nothing to prevent a trucker from carrying toxic substances throughout the state, and if he crashes the potential damage to the health and welfare of New Yorkers could be extreme.
New York is the only state that allows a local agency to make these decisions, defying the equal protection under the law we all deserve. Because of this, it is up to the people to force any changes that need to be made. If you live in New York, there are some ways to become involved to ensure your safety and welfare:
- Contact your state senator, the Governor’s office, and your state representatives about this policy.
- Form committees with other concerned individuals to start large-scale letter writing campaigns.
- Form committees and schedule meetings with local agencies with oversight of these matters to apply pressure for equal treatment for rural and urban New York.
- Contact the Department of Transportation directly using their website and demand proper oversight of these matters.
For some people it is already too late. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, please contact a lawyer to help you hold the trucking company and the authorities to account for any negligence that may have occurred. A lawyer can also help you ascertain whether the vehicle in question posed additional health risks due to its cargo. It is up to you to make sure the proper pressure is applied to get all the answers to which you are entitled.