Bill Aims to Increase Truck Parking Spaces

Bill Aims to Increase Truck Parking Spaces

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., will re-introduce a bill Wednesday aimed at creating safer and more secure parking spaces for long-haul truck drivers.

Tonko sponsored the bill, known as “Jason’s Law” in the last Congress. The legislation would create a grant program to alleviate truck parking shortages.

The bill is named after Jason Rivenburg, a 35-year-old truck driver from Fultonham, N.Y., who was killed in March 2009 while parked at a gas station in South Carolina.

Rivenburg’s murder called attention to a nationwide shortage of safe, accessible rest stops for long-distance truckers, the American Trucking Associations said.

The lack of parking for trucks is a long-term problem truckers and shippers fear the situation will get worse as the economic recovery gets stronger and freight demand picks up.

Many drivers say they are forced to park illegally when they run out of hours because they cannot park at shipper facilities or in a legal space at a truck stop or rest area.

The 2005 highway bill created a grant program for truck parking projects.

The U.S. Department of Transportation last week awarded $6.5 million in grants to Michigan and Minnesota to help those states find parking spots for tractor-trailers.

Michigan will get about $4.5 million and Minnesota about $2 million to develop systems that can deliver real-time information on parking to truck drivers.

Both states are developing systems that make use of intelligent transportation systems, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in his Fast Lane blog.

“Finding a safe and secure place to park a big rig overnight, so a driver can get the proper rest, is not as easy as it should be,” LaHood said.

“While state-operated rest stops and welcome centers can ease truckers’ security concerns, there simply aren’t enough of those available,” he said.

-- Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter @wbcassidy_joc.