Lawmaker plans to reintroduce ‘Jason’s Law’ bill on May 11

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 5/10/2011

On Wednesday, May 11, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, will reintroduce his Jason’s Law bill. The bill, HR1803, would create a grant program to increase the number of safe truck parking spots across the country. The event will be at 11 a.m. at the House Triangle outside of the Capitol building in DC.

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.

A little more than two years ago, Jason Rivenburg, a trucker from Schoharie County, was fatally shot after he was forced to park his rig in an unlit gas station after he arrived too early to deliver his load of milk. Rivenburg’s killer was sentenced to life in prison in South Carolina in December 2009.

The bill, which hasn’t been assigned a number yet, already has bipartisan support. U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-MN, will be an original co-sponsor on the new Jason’s Law bill.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents the views of more than 150,000 truckers, will be at event announcing Tonko’s current Jason’s Law bill. Todd Spencer, executive vice president for OOIDA, will speak at the event about the struggles drivers face daily to find safe truck parking.

Hope Rivenburg has traveled to DC a few times now to meet with lawmakers and remind them of what happened to her husband and to stress the importance of drivers having a safe and secure place to stop. 

On that fatal night, Jason Rivenburg arrived too early at his delivery site and was turned away because the distribution center where he was scheduled to make his delivery the following morning wasn’t required to provide truck parking. Instead, he found the unlit lot, where he was killed for the $7 in his pocket. 

“Drivers face many challenges, from ever-changing federal regulatory requirements to having to sit through highway congestion or wait for hours outside a warehouse simply to unload their goods,” said Ryan Bowley, director of legislative affairs for OOIDA. “The one challenge that they shouldn’t have to face is not having a safe place to park their truck and sleep.”