- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2013

The thousands of truckers who promised to shut down the Beltway didn’t materialize, but those who did caravan around the region’s main artery made their presence known.

About 30 trucks and another 15 pickup trucks who were part of the “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” protest began their convoy at 7 a.m. Friday in Virginia, heading north on Interstate 95, according to Virginia State Police.

As the group made its first circle around the Beltway, trucks spread across three lanes of traffic, with drivers slowing below the 55 mph speed limit and blaring their horns. Their numbers appeared to dwindle as the convoy continued, with only about a dozen tractor-trailers making it back into Virginia at 10:15 a.m. after lapping the Beltway, according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Traffic bottled up behind the convoy around the Beltway.

Virginia State Police scolded four drivers seen riding four tractor-trailers across and blocking all lanes of traffic as the protest began, Ms. Geller said.

Troopers pulled over four vehicles and “warned them not to impede traffic” but did not issue any tickets, Ms. Geller said.

SEE ALSO: Truckers’ Beltway protest could extend to Monday morning

Heavy rains during the early morning commute as well as the truckers’ driving formations both seemed to play a role in delays.

Though truckers created bottlenecks as they maneuvered around the Maryland portion of the Beltway, Maryland State Police said they had not had any issues reported. Standard patrols were stationed around the area, Sgt. Marc Black said.

The group’s organizers have claimed their protest is in response to a wide variety of causes — ranging from the government shutdown to low drivers’ wages. But country singer Zeeda Andrews and Internet radio show host Peter Santilli are not truck drivers, and trucking associations have criticized the pair and their motivations.

“The individuals leading this particular effort have no direct affiliation with trucking and appear to be using truckers in order to gain media attention and air other political grievances,” Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association spokeswoman Norita Taylor said in a statement.

The “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” group has said that this wave of truckers is just the first in a series of shifts that will circumnavigate the Beltway for 24 hours beginning Friday, with other possible disruptions Sunday and even Monday morning.

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