TruckerDesiree

Jason’s Law

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“Jason’s Law” what is it?

Well, a funny thing happened to me on the way through Virginia mid March 2009.

I was “tweeting” one afternoon, minding my own business when I looked at my PDA Twitter Screen and it asked me, “What are you doing?” I replied:  “I’m at a fuel stop in Max Meadows, Virginia”

Well, low and behold I got a barrage of @Replies from Tweeples commenting about Virginia and the very hot topic of VDOT closing rest areas.

I didn’t have the time or the knowledge BUT, I did need to find a spot to park for the night so I agreed to comment the following day and document what I saw & what I heard that night.

The following day I sent a series of emails and pictures to whoever could use the information better than I could to help raise awareness that what VDOT was proposing was a serious public safety issue.

I had recently joined OOIDA and had corresponded through Twitter with @Land_Line_Mag to find relevant articles on the Virginia matter.

I had also called and spoke to a gentleman on several occasions at OOIDA at great length on several topics because I knew that @TruckerDesiree would very soon be asked to comment on trucking issues and I wanted to be prepared.

Based on my phone calls with OOIDA, links to articles I was sent that originated from Landline Magazine , and what I saw with my own eyes I posted comments as promised to those who requested my opinions.

I also provided a more in depth opinion to @Appomattox_News who has covered the VDOT story in depth.

That evening,  I “Tweeted” that I was parked near a dumpster and watching @Fox5NewsEdge , the Washington D.C Fox News Affiliate and it was pretty cool that Brian Bolter tweeted me back!

I sent him a little rant about the news worthy story on the Virginia Issue & VDOT with regards to how it affects trucker safety and he said they would be doing a story the following day. I was asked if I would be in the area but I was not able to stay because I had to make my delivery of household products to New Jersey.

They did send me a link and I watched the segment on Fox 5 News on my laptop.

I had also been in touch with my friend Linda at @Appomattox_News .

The following day when the story called ” Dear VDOT, Sincerely @TruckerDesiree ” first appeared in the Virginia Newspaper. My first words were “Wholly Guacamole!

I had actually reached out to several organizations to get some ACTION making it clear I did not want notoriety or the responsibility I saw coming my way.

I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to take the ball and run with it, so I kept the ball.

I was happy to see wives of truckers posting in support because I know most male truckers are too tired from driving to get involved and this is exactly why they are so underappreciated and this industry is so neglected.

Even my Mother posted a comment! I was stunned because she had just days before found out I was a trucker and read my student trucker story. She had no idea because we had been estranged.

As I have said before, I did not grow up around truckers, or trucking. I never met one before but my Mother had.

Her Father was a Trucker and he died when she was 5. His team partner tried to beat the train. In the 1940’s my Mother lost her Trucker Father. Her Mom became a Hispanic single mother with 4 children under the age of 8.

The Dear VDOT, Sincerely, @TruckerDesiree story struck a nerve in my Mother who at 70 years old still misses her Trucker Dad and clings to the few memories she has of him when he came home from being on the road.

I didn’t even know she commented, the editor of @Appomattox_News had to bring it to my attention.

When I did go to read what my Mother had written I saw some other comments from a very misinformed person who had been trying to get people to visit his site but writing ugliness all over the internet to provoke a response.

It was clear to me that this man did not care if he told lies or hurt innocent people, just as long as someone would visit his site a read about him.

He is not important but what he did was lead me to find a story I was not aware of.

In trying to share the links I had previously received from @Land_Line_Mag & @Land_Line_Now about VDOT telling truckers to “Get A Room” I came across a story of a Trucker was had been shot and killed March 5 2009 in South Carolina. A petition for safe trucker parking was being circulated for “Jason’s Law

It was a story about the tragic loss of “Jason Rivenburg, a trucker who had delivered milk in Virginia and was shot for $7 where he was parked in South Carolina awaiting his next delivery.

His Wife, Hope Rivenburg was pregnant with twins at the time of his death and she also had a little boy to care for as well.

I included the link in a later posting to the Dear VDOT article and I was happy to see another trucker on Twitter Truck Driver News was keeping the “Jason’s Law” link circulating. I would then “ReTweet” it. It helped to keep us all up to date on the progress of the petition.

Later, another accident in Virginia was documented with pictures by @HeyDriver and again covered by Appomattox News , it was an accident stemming from an unsafe parking situation in Virginia.

As the topic continued to grow, I became aware of 2 brothers who had been trying to fight the State of Virginia on the basis of the VDOT closures and the Federal Laws that Virginia were violating. You see, Virginia has been ticketing truckers for stopping to sleep when it is actually illegal for the truckers to move their truck.

The Brothers Fred @SilverSurfer_TX & “JB” Shaffner have tried relentlessly to get organizations to help them fight the State of Virginia. With the help of another Twitter friend,  @MarkinArk 2 informational videos were posted on You Tube to explain the public safety hazard Virginia is creating by forcing sleepy truckers to drive.

Despite my new online stalker and 1 older online stalker from a women’s trucking organization, a rag-tag group of Twitter Patriots began to form. We even got VDOT to call us to be on this “Blog Talk Radio” program!

Truck Driver News, Ask the Trucker, The American Driver, The Truck Star, A Smart Union plus many more individuals on Twitter who aren’t even Truckers began to get motivated to ACT!

Shortly after we heard Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) had introduced a bill HR 2156 “Jason’s Law”. You can watch the CSPAN introduction here

Congressman Tonko joined the premier show “The Truck Stops Here” with the Shaffner Brothers and me to discuss the bill and the courage of the Rivenburg Family to push this neglected issue forward.

Later, Rivenburg Family Spokesperson, Timothy Hardendorf informed us further through radio appearances including this archived “Blog Talk Radio” segment more about the man Jason Rivenburg.

In these radio appearances,   we learned something we did not previously know about the chain of events that may have caused Jason to not park in Virginia and move on to South Carolina where he parked at the abandoned gas station where he was murdered. You can listen to the @AsktheTrucker “Blog Talk Radio” interview here.

It seems that Jason had an earlier delivery in Virginia. Some of the things mentioned by Mr. Hardendorf were the current climate in Virginia toward truckers who have been ticketing truckers who are supposed to be sleeping and telling them to ”move on” despite the fact that truckers are held to federal laws that affect their license if they violate “Hours of Service

This Bill is a safety issue for everyone who travels on the highways but it will take all of us to contact our representatives and tell them we want this and we need this Bill!

It only takes a few minutes to get involved.

I recently went to Texas for a bill and I saw with my own eyes that the senators were practically begging people to convince them they were voting the correct way. Consider that they see only the same faces and names telling them stuff everyday.

The truth is that they are convinced by whoever puts the most effort into bending their ear.

If we don’t take the time to contribute, how will they know?

They need us to make this bill jump off their desk so they remember Jason, his wife Hope and their 3 fatherless children.

Trucker’s have been much overlooked and they are the last American Industry we have left in this country.

Our roads have been neglected, and so has the most frequent users of our @Infrastructure2 who risk their lives every day to move industry. The American Trucker has been pushed out of the decision making process because the job is so time consuming they are not being represented truthfully.

Non-truckers don’t understand that truckers live in their trucks to deliver their food & clothing.

Anyone should understand having someone is knocking on your door all night and day telling you to move it, sell you something or solicit wakes you up and creates difficulty to go back to sleep.

There are limited areas park a vehicle this size and often new idle laws prohibit having temperature control.

Truck Stops seem to be centers of activity that make it difficult to get proper rest. There are many solutions to fix this parking issue but none of them will bring Jason Rivenburg back to his wife and children.

Many truckers have been killed just doing their job. Jason’s family has put forth the effort to make a change and we can all help by supporting Federal bill HR 2156. TAKE ACTION & Contact your representative with this EASY LINK.

As Jason’s Uncle said, Even a postcard will do to say you support HR 2156 and use this EASY LINK to locate the name & address of your Representatives.

Even though I have shared the Rivenburg Family link many times I had not ever actually contacted them.

The creepy man that was stalking me online continued to try to put words in my mouth but I ignored him because I saw right through his desperate pleas for attention.

In a final gross display he wrote a rather nasty post about Jason Rivenburg which many of us ignored because we had grown weary of his gang of 4 who are so starved for attention that they would harass a deceased person’s memory.

I was stunned to learn it prompted a response from Jason’s Widow, Hope Rivenburg who felt compelled to post on this pitiful person’s site to say what a wonderful person her husband Jason was and clarify the grassroots effort that has helped her family get this bill the attention it deserves.

I was sickened knowing that this man probably doesn’t care one way or the other; he just wanted someone to post on his site and give him attention.

I apologized to Hope Rivenburg in an email because I felt embarrassed for this man turning her husband’s death into his opportunity.

Hope Rivenburg called me on Sunday, May 31 and we spoke for about 30 minutes. She was so kind to say I had no need to apologize and the family appreciates every single one of us who has helped them get “Jason’s Law” talked about.

She told me about an upcoming event that should be posted soon on the family website that she will be attending and she encourages all of us to get involved by signing the petition and taking a few moments to contact your representatives to support HR 2156 “Jason’s Law” for Safe Trucker Parking.

So here it is, all the info, all the links to learn more for YOU not just from me or some crazy dude having mid-life crisis.

Listen to the interviews with Timothy Hardendorf and look at the pictures of Jason, Hope and their babies.

All the details you need to help you be informed and get involved, and by all means put the links up to share with your friends.

You don’t have to be a trucker to care about highway safety.

Thanks!

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