The New York City Council recently proposed a new food truck regulation that would permit a GPS monitoring system to be installed in food trucks, to gain better insight into their patterns of travel throughout the city. These GPS systems would be placed in both food trucks and carts, and aim to find out where food trucks go in reference to parking laws, and to curb pollution and noise.
On the Upper West Side complaints continue to be mounted against trucks, as resident say food trucks clog up the streets, create unwelcome noise and pollute the air. Spearheaded by City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, this GPS proposal aims to regulate exactly how many trucks and carts there are, where they’re located, and whether they are licensed or not. While the City Council supposedly has five different agencies regulating the trucks, complaints claim that only local police seem to be doing anything to enforce laws against these mobile vendors. Particularly on the Upper West Side, complaints have been increasingly rapidly.
This situation goes hand in hand with many of the other pressures food trucks have been dealing with this year, many having been forced out of their usual locations by increased complaints from local brick and mortar businesses. While food trucks may seem unfairly targeted, many New Yorkers are clamoring for the same regulations to be placed on these mobile vendors that have been placed on restaurants. Health codes and licenses should be applied to any food vendor, if not for the sake of equity than for safety concerns. Recently over 1500 health violations were passed on food trucks and carts, ranging from hygiene to meat preparation. Food trucks have been growing to be immensely popular, and ‘gourmet’ trucks are expanding nationwide. If restaurants are held up to rigorous examination, shouldn’t the same be expected of food trucks?
However on implanting GPS trackers in food trucks, a whole new range of issues arises. GPS trackers will help the city gain more information about food trucks, but at what cost? Don’t these trucks have a right to go where they please without being watched? It seems that monitoring their movements may be a direct violation of their constitutional rights. Clearly this is a controversial issue, and chances are a law like this won’t be passed for some time. But as long as it’s being discussed, what manner of regulations will come up next? I invite you to weigh in on this issue and say what you think about the freedom associated with food trucks.
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