Hope Rivenburg launches truck parking survey

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | Friday, May 17, 2013

It’s been more than four years since her husband was fatally shot while parked at an abandoned gas station, but Hope Rivenburg is more determined than ever to save other drivers from the same fate.

She is urging the truck driving community to complete a 33-question online survey outlining their daily struggles to find safe truck parking while out on the road.

Rivenburg said the survey results will be shared with the Federal Highway Administration, which is also working on a federal truck parking survey as directed in the latest highway law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century – or MAP-21. The provision on truck parking in MAP-21 is known as “Jason’s Law” named for Jason Rivenburg, who arrived too early at his delivery point and was turned away. Instead he found a place to park in an unlit, abandoned lot in South Carolina where he was shot and killed for $7 in March 2009.

The results of Hope’s truck parking survey will also be presented at the Truck Driver Social Media Convention in October in Kansas City, MO.

“The lack of truck parking is a huge problem,’ Hope Rivenburg told Land Line on Thursday, May 16. “Even if the bill wasn’t in my husband’s name, I would still be fighting for it because what’s right is right in my opinion.”

In late April, Hope met with Tom Kearney, freight operations program manager for FHWA, as well as U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY, who sponsored the “Jason’s Law” bill, which was included in MAP-21. They met at Tonko’s Albany, NY, office to discuss how Hope’s survey and the FHWA survey, when completed, can be paired together to improve the nation’s growing truck parking problem.

“Hope has been a tireless and passionate advocate on this issue, and I believe the anecdotes and data she is collecting can inform and be a companion to the pending federal survey,” Tonko said in an email to Land Line. “The purpose of this survey is to receive input directly from drivers on the road, whose voices need to be heard.”

Since the survey was launched earlier this week, more than 300 drivers have already completed it.

The survey will be posted through mid-July. Besides the survey, Hope is also encouraging drivers to take part in a focus group she is moderating on truck parking. So far, more than 40 drivers have signed up via email to take part in the focus group.

“I firmly believe that the drivers should have a say in this issue because they are the ones who deal with it,” she said. “Drivers can email me every week where they have had troubles finding parking that week.”

The FHWA truck parking survey is expected to begin this fall.

“The process always feels longer and slower than we might like, but I will continue to encourage FHWA to move forward with their survey in a timely manner and partner with them to make this survey the baseline for future truck parking capacity studies,” Tonko said.

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