An all new familiar trend is going on throughout the United States:
States are closing rest areas as a way to reduce their costs, save money and balance their budgets. Unfortunately, cutting budget spending may very well come with a price that is not being considered: the possible loss of life.
Simply put, closing state rest areas adds to an already existing dangerous problem of lack of truck parking for the 3.5 million CDL professional drivers sharing the highways with other motorists. Unknowingly to the general public sharing the roads with these truckers, many of these drivers are driving tired because they are in need of finding adequate parking to rest, placing greater safety risks for everyone.
Closing state rest areas which provide truckers with safe haven and their needed rest is a dangerous step for states to take, as well as an unfair one. Kendra Adams of the New York State Motor Truck Association said the closings are unfair because truckers pay 32 percent of motorist taxes and fees in the state but drive only 8 percent of the vehicle miles.
The six NY rest areas to be closed:
Monday November 1st, 2010
- Brewerton/Hastings: Located on I-81 between exits 31 and 32 (Oswego County)
- Schodack: Located on I-90 between exits 11 and 12 (Albany County)
Closing December 1st, 2010
- Lewis: Located on I-87 between exits 31 and 32 (Essex County)
- Schroon Lake: Located on I-87 between exits 27 and 28 (Essex County)
- Worcester: Located on I-88 between exits 18 and 19 (Ostego County)
- Wells Bridge: Located on I-88 between exits 11 and 12 (Delaware County)
New York state resident Hope Rivenburg (widow of trucker Jason Rivenburg who was murdered in March of 2009 because of lack of safe truck parking) and others, arranged for a protest on Monday, the day of the closing at the Schodackrest area on I-90 between exits 11 and 12. Although there were a few trucks which actually parked to stage the protest, many truckers showed their support by stopping for an hour or so until they had to leave to meet their pick up or delivery times.
Attending the protest was Paul Tonko, NY state Congressman who is responsible for introducing “Jason’s Law” HR 2156 to the House in April of 2009. Jason’s Law would provide more safe truck parking via the Highway Trust Fund. The bill is presently in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which was chaired by Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar prior to the recent election.
Congressman John Mica of Florida will now chair the committee as the majority chair person. Also showing support for the rest area protest was Congressman Scott Murphy and Assemblyman Pete Lopez, both from New York state.
Media throughout the state covering the story included CBS-6, WNYT-13, FOX23, WTEN-10 and YNN-9.
Truth About Trucking “LIVE” talk radio welcomed special guest Hope Rivenburg who discussed the details of the rest area protest and the new plan for continuing the fight for Jason’s Law, HR 2156 in the House and S971 in the Senate. We also discussed how the recent elections will affect the progress for Jason’s Law and what we will be doing to ensure that this bill is passed into Law. Hope Rivenburg opened the first part of the show.
The second segment of the show was devoted to the concerned supporters for the rescue of the famous truck stop tiger, “Tony.” Supporters of Tony are also joining in and fighting for the passing of Jason’s Law for safe truck parking. Recently, Tony’s fans discovered the seriousness that truckers were having regarding the lack of truck parking and are spreading the word among other animal activists to join in and support the cause.
Dee De Santis and Sky Williamson were our special guests, discussing the much needed rescue for Tony the truck stop Tiger. The show, Saving Tony “The Truck Stop Tiger” aired live, November 4th, 2010 :