Trucker’s widow urges support for ‘Jason’s Law’

| 7/15/2009

Hope Rivenburg didn’t set out to become an advocate for truckers. But after her husband, Jason, was fatally shot while parked in his rig, she has made it her mission to ensure this doesn’t happen to another trucker’s family.

And she and other family members, as well as the trucking community, have been busy.

Already, two “Jason’s Law” bills, which the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports, have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. Each bill would provide $120 million in grant money spread out in $20 million increments over six years to help those applying make improvements to their truck parking facilities.

This comes after Jason was robbed and killed for approximately $7 after he was forced to park at an abandoned, unlit gas station 12 miles from where he was set to unload the next morning.

However, Hope admits it hasn’t been easy. She is now a single mom raising three young children, including a son, Josh, who is 2, and 4-month-old twins, Hezekiah and Logan, who were born 13 days after their dad was killed.

“I am just taking things day-by-day,” she told Land Line recently. “I have a lot of support from my family. I couldn’t do this without them.”

The grassroots online petition started circulating just days after Jason was killed, which more than 7,400 truckers and their families have now signed regarding the urgent need for more safe and secure areas for truckers to park and rest.

“I know it’s too late to help Jason, but this could help someone else, which is why we aren’t giving up,” Hope said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, introduced S971, in the Senate in May, while Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, introduced his “Jason’s Law” bill, HR2156, in late April, which now has 21 co-sponsors.

“We are excited that ‘Jason’s Law’ has now become a bipartisan bill,” said Beau Duffy, Tonko’s communications director.

But Duffy said there’s still more work to be done and truckers can play an instrumental role in continuing to build support for this bill.

“If you don’t see your representative among the co-sponsors, call them up and encourage them to support this bill,” he said. Click here to find your representative.

Hope has attended many events to spread the word about the importance of passing “Jason’s Law.” She recently presented. Tonko with a plaque for his legislative efforts.

“Jason would support this, he would,” she said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer