Today we spoke again with the office of ranking minority member James Inhofe of the Environment and Public Works Committee. This has been where S971
has been for over a year, since first presented by NY Senator Charles Schumer, waiting to be brought to the Senate floor.
The focus of our conversation was the serious effects that the lack of truck parking has created. We again reviewed such facts as:
- Lack of truck parking is a major cause of truck driver fatigue and
- A major cause of truck accident fatalities
Lack of truck parking causes the following:
1) Forces drivers to continue to drive while in a fatigued state searching for parking
2) Forces drivers to drive in excess of HOS ( Hours of Service) breaking Federal Law
3) Forces drivers to park in isolated and dangerous areas (as was the case of Jason Rivenburg who was shot and killed and whom this bill is named)
4) Forces drivers to park on exit and entrance ramps and on shoulders of highway, also dangerous for other motorists.
5) Due to new CSA 2010 laws, drivers found to be driving in a fatigued state will be given a violation and the maximum number of points against them 10 points!
We then discussed and agreed that the need for more truck parking should be a crucial part of the Highway Program. Right now as it stands, SAFETEA-LU, which was a Pilot Program under Title 23 of the Transportation Law, was designed to “somewhat” relieve the truck parking problem, and has 7 million dollars remaining in funds. States, MPO’s and local government have until October 26th 2010 to apply for these grants.
Jason’s Law, as it stands, is written in much the same language as the Pilot Program SAFETEA LU. One of the major problems with SAFETEA LU, was the fact that there were few applicants requesting grants.
The present highway bill will end on Dec. 31st, 2010 requiring an extension and re-authorization of the Highway Program, including truck parking facilities.
It is the desire of the committee office for Senator Inhofe to present a bill to the Senate floor and include a section called Jasons Law which would replace SAFETEA LU, adding amendments which would not only increase the effectiveness of the provision, but would significantly increase the funding to at least the original amount of 20 million dollars per year for 6 years ( rather than 6.25 mil). The Senate bill will also recommend that The Truck Parking Facilities Program (Jasons Law) be named as an established program and not a Pilot Program, within Title 23.
Today we asked the Environment and Public Works Committee office, what recommendations they would suggest to everyone in order to ensure that Jasons Law would indeed become an established part of the Highway bill.
We were told to continue what we are all doing, by spreading the word for the need of more truck parking–Jason’s Law– and to contact our representatives , Congressman James Oberstar, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Senator Barbara Boxer, the majority chair for the Environment and Public Works Committee.
We must continually fight for the funds within the Highway Trust Fund ( collected from our fuel tax), making sure that the politicians understand that there are 4 million CDL drivers and their families who want a significant amount of those funds allocated for highway safety, specifically addressing the sever shortage of truck parking.
© 2010 – 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.