Widow of slain trucker urges drivers to call lawmakers on June 28

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 6/14/2010

Hope Rivenburg knows nothing can bring back her husband, Jason, who was fatally shot for $7 while parked in his rig a little more than a year ago.

However, her goal is that no other driver’s family should have to endure the same pain she and her family have experienced as a result of Jason’s death. That’s why she is urging all truckers and their families to “flood the phones” of their lawmakers in Washington, DC, on Monday, June 28, to support two “Jason’s Law” bills – HR2156 and S971.

She told Land Line on Friday, June 11, that the bills are critical for drivers who need a safe place to stop and rest. The bills have been referred to congressional committees and appear to be going nowhere. HR 2156 is in the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. S971 is in the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bills would allocate $120 million over six years for safety improvements to be made at rest areas and truck stops across the country.

On March 5, 2009, Jason arrived at his receiver’s lot too early to deliver and was turned away because they didn’t allow overnight truck parking. His appointment time was not until the next morning. Instead, he was forced to park at an unlit gas station near St. Matthews, SC, where he was killed not long after he arrived.

In the past few months, Hope and Jason’s family members have made several trips to visit lawmakers in DC, urging their support for these critical Jason’s Law bills. Currently, HR2156 has 42 co-sponsors. The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, in April 2009. On the Senate side, Charles Schumer, D-NY, introduced S971, which has one co-sponsor.

Shortly after Jason’s death, Hope gave birth to twins who are now 15 months old. She also has a son, Josh, who is now 3.

“Things are pretty fast-paced here, but we are doing OK,” she said.

“We need everyone to help us out and make these important phone calls,” Rivenburg said. “Things have kind of stalled right now and we can’t let this happen. We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen to any other driver or their family.”