Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Representative Paul Tonko announced that "Jason's Law," a measure to increase security and improve conditions at truck stops across the country, to pass both houses of Congress today as a part of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee's Transportation Reauthorization bill. The legislation is named in honor of Schoharie County trucker, Jason Rivenburg, who tragically lost his life during a robbery attempt on March 5, 2009 while resting at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina.
"Truck drivers work tirelessly every day to keep New York's businesses running. At the very least, they deserve to be safe while doing so," said Senator Schumer. "Jason's Law enables states to improve parking for truck drivers so that when these hard-working individuals stop to rest, they are safer and better protected. Jason Rivenburg was killed in a senseless act of violence. This legislation honors Jason's memory and will help prevent this type of horrific tragedy from happening again."
"After losing her husband to heartbreaking tragedy, Hope Rivenburg made the case to lawmakers in Washington that protecting truck drivers at road stops must be a priority," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that first included the measure in its version of the Transportation Reauthorization bill. "Jason's Law takes the right steps to ensure we're giving truck drivers the protections they need with safe and secure parking facilities so we can prevent tragedies, and save lives."
"Jason's Law was the first bill I ever introduced," said Congressman Paul Tonko, who wrote the original version of the bill in 2009. "In the memory of Jason Rivenburg, in honor of his widow Hope and her family, and on behalf of all the nation's truck drivers and motorists, I am extremely pleased to have authored and passed this legislation. There's precious little in our economy that isn't hauled by truck -- and Jason's Law will ensure it is done so safely while working to ensure a tragedy similar to Jason's never happens again."
As included in the Senate transportation reauthorization bill, "Jason's Law" authorizes funding to be spent on truck parking facilities and identifies that it is a national priority to address the shortage of long-term parking for commercial motor vehicles and the safety of drivers.
Projects eligible to be funded with highway safety funds include:
· Constructing safety rest areas that include parking for commercial motor vehicles.
· Constructing commercial motor vehicle parking facilities adjacent to commercial truck stops and travel plazas.
· Opening existing facilities to commercial motor vehicle parking, including inspection and weigh stations and park-and-ride facilities.
· Promoting the availability of publicly or privately provided commercial motor vehicle parking on the National Highway System using intelligent transportation systems and other means.
· Constructing turnouts along the National Highway System for commercial motor vehicles.
· Making capital improvements to public commercial motor vehicle parking facilities currently closed on a seasonal basis to allow the facilities to remain open year-round.
· Improving the geometric design of interchanges on the National Highway System to improve access to commercial motor vehicle parking facilities.
The bill also requires the Department of Transportation to conduct a survey of the availability of parking facilities within each State to evaluate the capability of the State to provide adequate parking and rest facilities for motor carriers engaged in interstate motor carrier service; to assess the volume of motor carrier traffic through the State; and to develop a system of metrics to measure the adequacy of parking facilities in the State. The results of the survey under shall be made available to the public and shall be periodically updated.