Back in 2009, a man shot and killed truck driver Jason Rivenburg to steal $7 in cash. Made famous by its addition to the highway bill, “Jason’s Law” makes safe parking for truck drivers a national priority in hopes of protecting other truckers from having to park in unsafe or poorly lit areas.
Willie Pelzer III, Jason’s killer, was sentenced to life in prison without parole later that year, but the case is now back on the table as Pelzer is petitioning for a new trial on the grounds that “his original trial lawyer was incompetent in handling his case or that there were other errors that prove his trial was unfair.” Since Pelzer admitted to killing Jason in open court, there’s not much of a chance that he’ll be walking free, but it this news does come at an important time.
Over three years have passed since Jason Rivenburg was killed, “Jason’s Law” has been officially added to the highway bill, and lawmakers have patted themselves on the back for making the world a better place. But the questions is: are drivers actually any safer since the tragedy three years ago? Jason was forced to park at an abandoned gas station to wait to deliver his load because there was no other parking available. We still have a massive shortage of parking along our highways, and even more dire is the lack of rules allowing drivers safe places to park when waiting to deliver a load.
No new laws are even in the works to make any real change and it’s clear that private companies aren’t stepping up to help drivers. Instead, as we mentioned in a previous article, they are taking advantage of the parking shortage by doing things like charging to reserve parking spaces.
Lack of safe parking is a serious issue, and people keep saying that they’re working on it, but the bottom line is that nothing is getting done.