What Are Your Rights? A Train Derailment in Hoosick Has Residents Concerned About Safety

Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: A recent train derailment in the town of Hoosick has local residents concerned for their safety after five train cars, including three that were carrying propane derailed within a half mile of nearby residents a week ago today. Residents were left wondering if more could be done to protect and notify them. Here to help examine some of the changing laws is managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, welcome.

Paul: Thank you.

Interviewer: Thank you for being here once again. So who’s responsible when a train derails in a situation like this?

Paul: Well, you know, you’re gonna meet one or two people groups, you’re gonna have the track owner or the owner of the train. So those are the two groups that are always there. It tends to be either the fault of a conductor, human error or there’s gonna be train maintenance issues.

Interviewer: So, obviously some concerns for people who live near the crash site. What are some of the agencies that help protect these residents and their rights?

Paul: Well, if there’s a spill, any kind of spill or any type of debris on the ground ,Department of Environmental Conservation comes over, they clean it up, of course, local law enforcement. And then you also have Department of Transportation. See, they’re the ones that allow the specific rail cars to go to specific areas. So they gonna hit every single scene where there is derailment.

Interviewer: Okay. Now, local residents, they’ve voiced their concerns, we’ve heard from some of them. And an incident like this where several of the derailed cars are, you know, may be loaded with propane, like this situation, what can our viewers do to protect themselves, their homes, their belongings, all of that?

Paul: So, if I lived, you know, a reasonable area near the train, I would want to know what trains, what’s in those trains that are going by. So Department of Transportation has all that information. Not so easy to get it from them, I tried to do some today, if I could really narrow it down, I guess it’s available, but not super easy. So I would say it’s a good time to reach out to your legislator, whether it’s county or state, and if you live near those train tracks, say what trains are authorized to go through there because worst case scenario, what would happen.

Interviewer: All right. Paul, thank you. Some solid advice. We really appreciate it. Of course, we’ll be staying on top of this derailment for you at home.