OOIDA, Hope Rivenburg, lawmakers urge support for Jason’s Law bill

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 3/16/2010

A little more than a year ago, Hope Rivenburg tragically lost her husband, Jason, a truck driver who was fatally shot while parked in his rig at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina.

And since her husband’s death, Hope has become an advocate for more safe truck parking so that what happened to Jason “doesn’t happen to someone else’s family member.”

After tragically losing her husband, Jason, a year ago, Hope Rivenburg urged support for Jason’s Law bill at a press conference on March 16 in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday, March 16, along with two U.S. lawmakers, Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, and Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-MN, she hosted a press conference to build lawmakers’ support for HR2156, known as Jason’s Law bill, aimed at “alleviating the nation’s shortage of rest area parking for long-haul truckers.”

At the press event, Hope Rivenburg had this to say about Tonko’s bill.

“This is a commonsense bill. Our truckers are the backbone of our economy, and they make sure the products we need get to market,” Hope said.

“There is not enough parking for them now, and many states have proposed closing more rest areas because of budget problems. I want to thank Congressman Tonko and Congressman Paulsen for their support and I ask all members of Congress to get behind this bill before another life is lost,” she said.

Melissa Therault Rohan, associate director of government affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, also spoke at the press conference about the need for more safe truck parking.

“Every day the nationwide shortage of safe and secure truck parking threatens the well-being of Americans who make their living behind the wheel of commercial motor vehicles,” Rohan said.

At the press conference, Tonko, who introduced his Jason’s Law bill in April 2009, commended Hope for her commitment to honoring Jason’s memory by advocating for support for HR2156. The bill currently has 36 co-sponsors. 

“Hope Rivenburg continues to remind us that individual citizens can and do make a difference – that just one voice calling for change, one voice saying ‘this is the right thing to do,’ one voice taking a tragic, tragic incident and turning it into a positive experience to help ensure the safety of millions, (that) one voice is the difference,” Tonko said at the press conference.

“Let us heed that one voice, let us raise our voices and say today, ‘Jason’s Law must be passed.’”

There has been bipartisan support for Tonko’s bill as well. Rep. Paulsen has signed on as the lead Republican sponsor of HR2156. He also spoke of the importance of supporting Jason’s Law bill at the press event.

“Our economy hinges greatly on the ability to move goods in a safe, efficient and timely manner,” Paulsen stated at the press event. “A critical piece of that is ensuring the safety of the men and women who move these goods every day.”

If enacted, Jason’s Law would create “a pilot program that would invest $120 million over six years to improve parking for commercial vehicles on the National Highway System.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, has introduced a companion bill, S971, in the U.S. Senate.