There is much reason to celebrate in Fultonham, New York as widow and crusader Hope Rivenburg’s 3 year relentless effort to ensure the passing of Jason’s Law for more safe truck parking ends in victory.
Congressman Paul Tonko, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand shared with the trucking community this past Friday that Jason’s Law, legislation that would help build more truck stops and increase truck driver safety, had made it through the House, as the long awaited Transportation Bill passed both the House and the Senate.
Jason’s Law legislation had previously been passed through the Senate in March as part of the $109 billion transportation bill.
It’s been 3 years since said U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko first introduced the original bill “Jason’s law” to the House in April of 2009 . The bill was introduced shortly after the March 5, 2009 fatal shooting of a Schoharie County OTR driver, Jason Rivenburg. Jason had parked to rest at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina before his early morning delivery. New York Senator Charles Schumer later introduced Jason’s Law to the Senate in May of 2009.
Parking in such places as abandoned parking lots is not out of the ordinary for long haul truckers, as truck parking has been a serious safety issue for professional drivers for many years. (confirmed by numerous FMCSA research studies)
For 3 years, Jason Rivenburg’s widow, Hope, refused to give up on her efforts to secure professional drivers with more safe and adequate truck parking, not wanting to see any more needless trucker deaths occurring. Hope Rivenburg was no stranger to Washington DC as she made many trips (at her own expense) lobbying for the nations truckers. She knocked on individual Washington doors, sharing her message of the importance of the much needed bill, Jason’s Law.
Hope also inspired the nations truckers to take part in “National call in Days” to Washington. Thousands of drivers, friends of drivers, and family members called in on scheduled days to tell their Senators and Congressman to support Jason’s Law and the need for more safe parking. Many of these government officials had never heard of Jason’s Lawn or the crucial need for more truck parking. The” call ins” resulted in a national awareness for the seriousness of the truck parking safety issue.
It is at this time we would ALL like to once again say thank you Hope Rivenburg, crusader for Jason’s Law.
- Thank you for your faith and commitment, continuing to believe so strongly in a need to keep others safe, even when your own heart was breaking.
- Thank you for actively taking the initiative to act on your beliefs, even though you had 3 small children under the age of 3.
- Thank you for not giving up, even when so many nay Sayers said that Jason’s Law would never pass.
- Thank you for not being content to blame others, but instead recognized the awful tragedy for what it was, the need for more safe and adequate truck parking….and then DID SOMETHING.
- Thank you for caring enough about drivers, even when others did not.
We must all learn from this heroic lady and follow her example. Just as Hope encouraged thousands to actively stand up for something that meant so much to so many, “The basic need to safely rest”, we too must not give up on the many other issues we believe in.
The trucking community is going through some pretty rough times right now, including the negative effects of more regulations. Many continue to complain, but do nothing. Worse yet, there are those who encourage others to do nothing by saying things such as, “ it’s no use, we can’t change things”
The truth is, if you truly believe in something , and actively participate in making an effort for positive change, others will listen.
And if 3 million people actively participate, they will surely listen!
Here is a link and phone number to reach your Senators and Representatives
Call the U.S. Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 or the House of Representatives switchboard at 202-225-3121
A final note to all: Hope Rivenburg was the winner of last years’ “Making a Difference Award” at the 2011 Truck Driver Social Media Convention. This year the award has been renamed the “Jason Rivenburg- Making a Difference Award” in honor of Hope, Jason, and their family.
Hope Rivenburg will be our guest again this year at the convention in Kansas City,MO as she passes on the torch to this years’ winner.
If you have not voted yet for one of the 5 worthy candidates of the “Jason Rivenburg- Making a Difference Award”, please take a moment and do so.
Voting- Candidates for the 2012 Truck Driver Social Media Convention “Jason Rivenburg Making a Difference Award”
Hopefully, we will see you there also.
Allen & Donna Smith