Melanie Morgan

Advocating on Behalf of the American Military and Defense on the War on Terror

Ride for the Constitution

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A few dozen trucks bearing the hallmarks of a planned  trucker rally on the Capital Beltway have made their way into the D.C. area.

Truckers converged on the Betlway Friday with their #T2SDA message. Photo:  Nick Iannelli/WTOP

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The Truckers Ride for the Constitution started before dawn  Friday, with truckers planning to drive the 64-mile Capital beltway in eight  hour shifts until Sunday afternoon.

Alabama trucker Bradley Higgins has made his living behind the wheel for the  past 13 years. He anticipates that he will spend about $700 on gas this weekend  to participate in this round-the-clock driving protest.

“I’m not getting paid to circle around the Capitol," he said. "I'm doing this  because it's the right thing to do.  The American people, the American truck  drivers are tired of being walked on."

The Ride for the Constitution is a grassroots effort, and at one point,  organizers thought they might have upwards of a thousand participants. Far fewer  showed up, but they were no less local.

"The government needs to be held accountable," says driver Kevin Altizer.  "They still work for us.  It's still 'We the people.'"

"The critters in D.C., they think we don't exist," added Richmond driver, Dan  Edwards. "They've got their little party and we're not part of it and we're here  to show them today that we do matter and we're going to make a difference."

By about 8:45 a.m., Virginia State Police officials said that about 30  tractor trailers left a stop in Dumfries at about 7:30 with plans to head toward  Washington. Meanwhile, in Dumfries, 15 more were spotted bearing the official  Twitter hashtag of the ride - #T2SDA.

Police officials say that at about 8:50 a.m., authorities stopped four trucks  that were driving side-by-side across four lanes of traffic, slowing the commute  in the area to about 15 mph.

The truckers were not ticketed, but law enforcement officers warned them not  to impede traffic. Despite the stop, a VSP spokesperson says the convoy hasn't  caused any major hangups or incidents.

The protest has attracted truckers from as far away as the West Coast and has  more than 140,000 supporters on Facebook.

Trucker Bill Ludwig says he’s concerned about the future of an industry he  has been part of for a quarter of a century.

"We're over-regulated, over-watched," he said. "It's just very difficult  these days to make a living as a truck driver. "

“Anybody at all is talking about the truckers coming to shutdown D.C.,” says  organizer Ernest Lee. “We've got to stand together. We've got to be united.  Guys, we've got to keep it peaceful here. Got to keep it clean.”

The group planned to meet at two rendezvous points: One on I-95 near Kings  Dominion; the other in Harrisburg, Pa., on I-81.

According to WTOP's John Aaron, though, truckers did not gather in Harrisburg  on Friday morning.

They are protesting general discontent with the government, new limits on the  number of hours they can drive and gas prices.

Motorists fear the impact it will have on traffic and driver safety.

“I anticipate it being dangerous because there are going to be people getting  really ticked off - road rage – whatever,” says motorist Elizabeth Stalker, who  uses the Beltway. “I wouldn't want to play with an 18 wheeler that's trying to  make a statement and I'm just trying to get to work.”

Others say they'll try to avoid the protest.

“I'll probably stay off the beltway if I can,” says Paul Zacharias. “I don't  know where I'll end up going though so I'll have to do the best I can.”

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/10/truckers-ride-for-the-constitution-set-for-friday-morning-95207.html#ixzz2hS8ys5Lb Follow us: @ABC7News on Twitter | WJLATV on Facebook

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