Disgruntled truckers are queuing up into 50-rig convoys and creeping along Indiana interstates to protest a new state law that has boosted the gasoline tax and lowered the speed limit for large vehicles.
The convoys are a new wrinkle in a month-old protest by truckers boycotting Indiana truckstops, gas stations and restaurants to call attention to regulations that hurt their business.State police have tracked 12 convoys since Tuesday night, when the first was reported, Lt. Ken Hollingsworth said Friday.
The lined-up trucks were moving about 40-55 mph, staying in one lane for the most part, and not interfering with regular vehicular traffic, said Hollingsworth.
The convoys averaged about 50 semitrailer trucks, and most were reported on I-70, which passes from Ohio to Illinois through Indianapolis.
The truckers are unhappy with a state law that went into effect April 1 lowering the speed limit for heavy trucks from 65 mph to 55 mph on rural sections of interstates. For light trucks and cars, the speed limit remains 65 mph.
Indiana also boosted its gasoline tax by 1 cent per gallon earlier this month.
Ron Vernon, a trucker from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said the lowered speed limit would take money out of his pocket.
"If I slow down, I lose $2 or $3 per hour," said Vernon, who had stopped Friday to eat at the Indy 500 Truck Plaza in Whitestown, just south of Indianapolis. "We're the only occupation in the country that gets penalized for working overtime."
Truckers weren't the only ones complaining.
Dave Martin, owner of the Stop 1 Truck Plaza in Cambridge City, said the boycott had cut his food and fuel sales by 30 percent.
Martin said although he thought the truckers have a legitimate complaint, he does not approve of their methods.
"I agree the state is doing the wrong thing, but why don't they go to the Legislature and circle the wagons?" Martin asked.
The boycott was the brainchild of Cincinnati disc jockey Dale Sommers.