By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
It’s been more than two years since trucker Jason Rivenburg was fatally shot while parked in his truck cab.
And for most of that time, his widow, Hope Rivenburg of Fultonville, NY, has been pounding the phones and making trips to Washington, DC, to meet with lawmakers. Her mission is clear: to pass legislation that would provide more safe parking options for truckers so that other drivers and their families might be spared the pain and loss she and her family have experienced since Jason’s death.
On June 13, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, reintroduced his bill – S1187 – to address the shortages of long-term parking for commercial vehicles along the nation’s highways. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, is a co-sponsor of the bill, which has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
In May, Hope Rivenburg stood alongside U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, as he reintroduced his Jason’s Law bill in the House, calling for safe parking options for truck drivers across the U.S.
Tonko’s bill, HR1803, would create a grant program to increase the number of safe truck parking spots. The bill has already garnered bipartisan support and has 14 co-sponsors.
The bill calls for $20 million per year for five years and would use funding that currently exists instead of asking for additional funding for truck parking.
Jason Rivenburg, a trucker from Schoharie County, was fatally shot in March 2009 after he was forced to park his rig in an unlit gas station. He had arrived too early to deliver his load of milk at the Food Lion warehouse in Elloree, SC. Rivenburg’s killer was sentenced to life in prison in South Carolina in December 2009.
“The fact that more drivers have continued to die like Jason did, just parked in their trucks, gives me the strength to push forward,” Hope Rivenburg said at the press conference in May. “The drivers deserve safe parking.” LL