The House bill, H.R. 2156, was introduced last week by New York Rep. Paul Tonko. The bill is S.971 in the Senate. Both bills, titled "Jason's Law," are named after New York truck driver Jason Rivenburg, who was shot to death during a robbery attempt on March 5 while resting at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina.
This legislation allows the Secretary of Transportation, in cooperation with appropriate State, regional, and local governments, to allocate funds to improve rest areas that serve the National Highway System.
Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, "Jason's Law" would provide grants for the following initiatives:
* Constructing safety rest areas that include parking for commercial motor vehicles.
* Constructing commercial motor vehicle parking facilities adjacent to commercial truck stops and travel plazas.
* Opening existing facilities to commercial motor vehicle parking, including inspection and weigh stations and park-and-ride facilities.
* Promoting the availability of publicly or privately provided commercial motor vehicle parking on the National Highway System using intelligent transportation systems and other means.
* Constructing turnouts along the National Highway System for commercial motor vehicles.
Making capital improvements to public commercial motor vehicle parking facilities currently closed on a seasonal basis.
* Improving the geometric design of interchanges on the National Highway System to improve access to commercial motor vehicle parking facilities.
The American Trucking Associations issued a statement in support of the bill.
"ATA supports this critical legislation and urges quick action in Congress," said Bill Graves, ATA President and CEO. "The parking shortage for commercial motor vehicles comprises the safety of drivers out on the road and requires a comprehensive solution involving all interested parties."
The creation of more long-term truck parking has been a longstanding issue within the trucking industry and was an ATA Safety Task Force Report recommendation released in 2008.