New York bill would provide truck parking options

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 2/20/2013

An effort is once again underway at the New York State Legislature that is intended to promote and protect the safety of truck drivers in the state by giving them more safe places to park their trucks.

Referred to as “Jason’s Law,” the bill would create tax incentives for programs intended to strengthen truck driver safety. Sponsored by Sen. James Seward, R-Oneonta, S3773 would create a loan program fund to help pay for parking lot upgrades.

The legislation is named for Jason Rivenburg. The Schoharie County, NY, truck driver was murdered three years ago at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina.

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. Shortly after he parked at an unlit gas station near St. Matthews, SC, he was robbed and was fatally shot.

Seward wrote in a memo attached to the bill that the “tragic situation highlights the seriousness of the problem surrounding the lack of available, safe and secure parking facilities for truckers.

“If we are going to require truckers to take regular breaks, it is imperative that we provide them with a safe place to rest.”

Truckers say that facilities to park throughout the state are inadequate in size and number to satisfy the need of the traveling public.

To improve the situation for truckers in New York, the bill would offer interest free loans to owners or operators of private rest areas, truck stops, travel plazas and any other facility that provides truck drivers with a safe place to park.

A 20 percent tax credit would be made available for shipping and receiving facilities that agree to provide truck drivers with a secure area to rest while waiting for pending appointments or to comply with federal hours-of-service regulations.

It would also create a 50-percent tax credit for owners or operators of private rest areas, truck stops, travel plazas and any other facility providing truck drivers with safe refuge.

In addition, a “bull pen” demonstration program would be created along the New York State Thruway. The program would test the affordability and effectiveness of developing dedicated parking facilities to provide a safe place for truckers to rest. Facilities would be required to include fencing, security cameras, gated entrances and limited lavatory accommodations.

Seward notes that the state could potentially implement its plans at no cost. New York would apply for federal funding once it is available.

S3773 is awaiting consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association encourages New York truckers to contact their state lawmakers in support of Jason’s Law.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New York, click here.

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