Much of the debate about proposed changes to the truck driver hours of service (HOS) regulations and their effect on safety has focused on time spent behind the wheel. Little has been said about the fact that in many parts of the country, safe places for drivers to take their federally mandated rest breaks are few and far between.
A bill introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) seeks to address that problem. "Jason's Law" would create a grant program designed to alleviate the shortage of safe parking areas for trucks and help pay for expansion and safety improvements at existing rest areas. The bill is named after long-haul driver Jason Rivenburg, who was murdered in 2009 during a robbery attempt at an abandoned South Carolina gas station. Rivenburg had pulled over to rest after 11 hours of driving as required by federal regulations.
Rivenburg's widow, Hope, will personally lobby lawmakers to pass the bill into law. She'll have the backing of several trucking industry groups, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, National Association of Truck Stop Operators, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, American Moving & Storage Association, and the American Trucking Associations, all of which support the proposal and participated in the May 11 announcement of the bill's introduction.