By Mark H. Reddig
Host, Land Line Now
“Enough is enough.”
U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko of New York said that. And in saying what he did, he joined millions of truckers nationwide who are tired of the lack of available, safe and secure truck parking.
Those words were spoken at a press conference last week, held on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The topic, of course, was Jason’s Law – a bill inspired by one family’s loss, and dedicated to ensuring that other families don’t suffer the same way.
Back in 2009, Jason Rivenburg, a trucker from Schoharie County, New York, arrived early to deliver a load. The receiver would not allow him to park at their facility, so he sought out parking where he could to take his required rest period.
The site was an abandoned gas station. As Jason sat in his truck on the phone, robbers entered the truck. Police reports at the time said he was apparently shot before he could react.
Congressman Tonko related the story:
“This one comes about under tragic incidence. On March 5, 2009, Hope lost her beloved husband. And her children, including a son, and at the time, soon-to-be-born twins, lost their dad,” Tonko told the press conference. “And everyone lost a friend and dedicated truck driver in the region.
“Jason Rivenburg lost his life over a mere $7, while delivering milk in South Carolina,” he added. “This cannot happen again, and yet we have heard of dozens of cases of theft, of robbery, and even of other murders since then.”
Jason Rivenburg’s killer was sentenced to life in prison by a South Carolina court in December 2009.
Congressman Tonko was speaking at a press conference in which he announced he would re-introduce Jason’s Law. The measure – now officially known as HR 1803 – had to be re-introduced into this Congress. As each 2-year-long congressional session ends, all the bills that have not yet passed also die.
Tonko was joined by an unusually broad group – OOIDA; Natso, which represents truck stops; the American Moving and Storage Association; CVSA, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance; and the ATA.
But one guest – perhaps the only person standing at the podium with Rep. Tonko who did not speak – nonetheless outshone everyone else there: Jason Rivenburg’s widow, Hope Rivenburg.
Hope has made it her life’s mission to get the bill passed. And the speakers at the press conference – led by the congressman – acknowledged just how dedicated she has been, and how important her work is.
“A bill could not have a greater friend than Hope Rivenburg,” Tonko said. “And Hope, I want to thank you for the inspiration that you have provided.
“Your loving heart has driven this agenda that will speak to safety for everyone. Certainly our truckers and the trucking industry, but certainly for the general public,” he added. “I’m just amazed at your energy level, and your drive to get something done, and it’s proof positive that when we put our hearts and minds to something valuable, we can get it done.
“I know that Hope will inspire a bipartisan response here, a bicameral response that will have us doing the best thing.”
Other speakers added their praises as well, including one who has personally experienced the lack of parking across the country: OOIDA Executive Vice President – and former trucker – Todd Spencer.