Calling All Truck Driversby Jana Ritter - Published: 4/23/2014
The Federal Highway Administration announced Tuesday it has extended the deadline for its on-line survey aimed at identifying critical truck parking shortages drivers face while out on the road. The new deadline is May 2nd and both the FHWA and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are urging professional truck drivers to complete the survey to help federal officials identify crucial areas where safe and adequate truck parking is needed.
The Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey is named in honor of Jason Rivenburg, a 35-year-old truck driver from Fultonham, N.Y., who was robbed, shot and killed while sleeping in his truck - when he was forced to park at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina. His untimely death occurred only because he had arrived too early with his load at a Food Lion distribution center in Elloree, S.C., and was turned away. He had no choice but to find a place to park and wait, then never returned with his load of milk.
Shortly after his 2009 death, his widowed wife, Hope Rivenburg started a grass roots movement urging lawmakers to pass legislation for safe truck parking. In 2012 her efforts were rewarded with Jason’s Law, a mandated study of truck parking by the FHWA - included in MAP-21. She released the results of her own truck parking survey in December 2013, with over 4,000 truck drivers participating. She indicated truck drivers have been confused about whether her survey is the same one as the FHWA’s and says that OOIDA officials recommend completing the Federal Highway’s current survey even if they’ve already completed hers. “I want to urge all truckers to please take a few minutes out of their day to take this survey,” Hope said.
Although her husband’s killer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in December of 2009, she made it clear her pain hasn’t gone away on the five year March 5th anniversary of Jason’s death.
“I miss Jason every day. He will never be forgotten, and he will always be missed. This is why this survey is so important, so that something like this doesn’t happen to another family. This happens many times to truckers and some of those families never find the killer. At least we have closure; many families don’t,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation will use the data collected in order to comply with the Survey and Comparative Assessment required under section 1401(c) of MAP-21. The results will also be used to assess the capability of the States to provide adequate truck parking and rest opportunities for commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate transportation, and to develop metrics that measure the adequacy of truck parking facilities in each State.
The survey should only take about five to seven minutes to complete and should be based on your experiences with truck parking. Please complete the survey by Friday May 2, 2014. Your responses are anonymous and confidential.