Coal Drivers Protest Weight Limits
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Coal truck drivers upset with the governor’s decision to enforce state highway weight limits converged on the Capitol on Tuesday.
About 100 truckers gathered along Interstate 64 and U.S. 119 before driving into the city en masse to block traffic around the Capitol complex.
``People need to respect our way of living or everybody in the state will have to feed us,″ said trucker B.J. Manns. ``If they enforce the law at 80,000 pounds, it will put drivers out of work, it will put trucking companies out of work, miners out of work.″
On Monday, Gov. Bob Wise issued a directive to send state enforcement agencies to U.S. 52 in Wayne County. It was the first time since the 1980s that the state had conducted a coordinated enforcement action.
Crews stopped 14 trucks Monday, with the lightest weighing 156,000 pounds and the heaviest at 181,000. State laws limit truck weights on highways to between 65,000 and 80,000 pounds.
``The state issued 2,000 citations for overweight trucks last year,″ said Amy Shuler Goodwin, Wise’s spokeswoman. ``We are just continuing to enforce the law.″
Truckers initially had threatened to spend the night in their rigs at the Capitol, but they agreed to go home for at least two days after talks with administration officials and legislative leaders.
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin said a special session could be held this week to address the issue.