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Drivers at risk

Providing safe parking should be a federal mandate

It’s been over six years since Jason’s Law was introduced in Congress under H.R. 2156. Finally, it was passed by Congress and signed by the president as part of the MAP-21 transportation legislation in June 2012.

Jason’s Law came about following the robbery and murder of trucker Jason Riverburg in a remote abandoned gas station just 12 mi. from his next morning’s delivery point. The receiver of his load didn’t permit truckers to park at its facility overnight. The truck stops in the area were all full, so Jason parked in an abandoned gas station. He had heard through other truckers that this was a safe place to park overnight.

It turned out the information was wrong. Jason was murdered for $7 and for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He left behind a wife pregnant with twins and a two-year-old son.

What is Jason’s Law?

Jason’s Law directs the U.S. secretary of transportation to:

  • Implement a pilot program to allocate funds to states, metropolitan planning organizations, and local governments that submit an application approved by the secretary for eligible projects to establish long-term parking facilities for commercial motor vehicles (trucks) on the National Highway System.
  • Give priority to applicants that demonstrate a severe shortage of truck parking capacity and whose proposed projects are likely to have positive effects on highway safety, traffic congestion, or air quality.

Give priority to applicants that demonstrate a severe shortage of truck parking capacity and whose proposed projects are likely to have positive effects on highway safety, traffic congestion, or air quality.

Having spent the better part of a quarter of a century on the road as a trucker, safe parking has been and continues to be a major safety issue for truckers. Now that we’ve passed the third anniversary of Jason’s Law, what has been done? Not much. With the recent changes to the 34-hour restart rule and the addition of the half-hour break, the problem of finding safe parking has become far worse than before the law was enacted.

There’s a simple solution that would solve both the parking shortage and trucks being on the road during the heaviest congested periods of the early morning commute. I would like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to require industrial parks put in parking spaces for trucks with rest­rooms, WiFi, security, and a place for drivers to eat and shower, as well as at least one space for every 10 dock doors in the park.

Drivers need proper rest to operate safely, so I believe it falls under the mandate Congress gave FMCSA concerning highway safety and CMVs through Jason’s Law. This would do several things, including:

  • Resolve a lot of the safe parking issues faced by truckers.
  • Reduce rush hour congestion by having trucks already at their destination.
  • Provide truckers with a safe place to park when they run out of HOS hours while waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

The trucking industry, carriers in particular, must stop being so complacent and start advocating for safe truck parking for their drivers. Are you in?

Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at www.timothybrady.com

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