By Beth Lawton
There may be a higher-than-usual presence of large trucks on the Capital Beltway Friday morning, so commuters may want to take a different route to work just to be safe.
A protest affiliated with "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" could materialize on the Inner Loop of I-495 during the Friday morning rush hour.
One truck driver, Earl Conlon, has told media outlets that the threat to shut down the Beltway is a hoax, but Ride for the Constitution organizers say Conlon does not speak for the organization. And, there could be increased traffic from truck drivers who are taking the event seriously, regardless.
Virginia State Police is aware of the proposed convoy of commercial vehicles and is "preparing accordingly with the region’s law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), just as we have done in the past for similar demonstrations held within the National Capital Region," a spokeswoman said Thursday morning. "As long as the vehicles comply with Virginia law, then the Virginia State Police will not interfere with their activities."
VSP will have additional troopers working Friday and on through the weekend in Northern Virginia to respond to any incidents that may arise – traffic crashes, disabled vehicles, etc. – in order to expedite clearance of the highways and keep traffic moving safely throughout the region.
While the Ride for the Constitution website, at www.ridefortheconstitution.org, does not seem specifically to encourage truck drivers to take the Capital Beltway at a certain time of day, it does tell truck drivers and motorists to drive to Washington, D.C. Oct. 11 – 13 (this Friday through Sunday).
“If you are an independent trucker and can afford to drive to Washington, D.C. – DO IT!” a flyer says. “If you are afraid of your employer, or the U.S. Government, get out on the road anyways [sic]. Nobody will ever know why you were stuck in traffic. … The more people we have on the road, the louder our message will be.”
The truck drivers are protesting a number of issues, from pay to gas prices, government regulations on their industry, recent practices of the National Security Administration (NSA) and the country’s financial status, The Hill reported.
A Facebook page for Ride for the Constitution reads: "The American people are sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America! We therefore declare a GENERAL STRIKE on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013!” WTOP reported. The Facebook page now has more than 64,000 fans.