Truckers asked to remind lawmakers about ‘Jason’s Law’

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 9/7/2011

In May, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, reintroduced his Jason’s Law bill. U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-MN, is the co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill, HR1803, has garnered bipartisan support and currently has 24 co-sponsors. The bill would create a grant program to increase the number of safe truck parking spots across the country.

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 parked his rig in an unlit gas station. He had arrived too early to deliver his load of milk. Rivenburg’s killer was sentenced to life in prison in South Carolina in December 2009.

Jason’s widow, Hope Rivenburg of Fultonville, NY, has made several 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.

In June, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, reintroduced his companion 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 to the bill, which has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“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,” Ryan Bowley, director of legislative affairs for OOIDA, stated recently. “The one challenge that they shouldn’t have to face is not having a safe place to park their truck and sleep.”