As a Kansas City truck accident lawyer, I’m very involved with issues of trucking safety and trucker fatigue. It has concerned me that across the country, thousands of truck drivers are finding their options for parking their vehicles and resting, disappearing fast.
Fiscal cutbacks in many states have led to the closing of truck stops and rest areas, and there were hardly that many to begin with. This means that many truckers, who arrive early at a delivery spot, find they have no place to park their vehicle. A fatigued trucker, who finds no place to pull over and rest for the night is left with two choices – driving in a tired state, or pulling over in an unsafe area.
These choices have serious implications, not just in terms of highway safety, but also in terms of the personal safety of the truckers. In 2007, trucker Jason Rivenburg was killed in an abandoned gas station in South Carolina, where he had parked his truck for the night. Jason had been early to make a delivery, and not finding a place to rest, pulled in at a gas station. He was attacked by a robber, who then proceeded to shoot him to death. Jason’s wife, Hope, is spearheading efforts to get a law passed that would expand trucker rest area facilities across the country. The law is appropriately called, Jason’s Law. Unfortunately, it seems to be stuck in congressional committees.
Rivenburg is calling on truckers and their families to mount strong efforts to get the legislation passed. Issues of truck stop areas affect truck drivers and their families the most. It is important that truckers call their local legislators to express their strong support for Jason’s Law. There’s little point harping about violating Hours of Service Rules if we’re not willing to provide safe areas for truck drivers to rest before they drive again. Jason’s law needs our complete support.