More than 80 truck drivers used their vehicles to temporarily block a highway in Stung Treng province early Sunday morning in protest after authorities stopped them for being overloaded, officials said.
The trucks, which were transporting cassava to Vietnam, stopped at a weigh station in Stung Treng City at around 4:30 a.m. and were found to be overloaded, said Prak Somphors, a Transport Ministry official in charge of enforcing traffic rules on National Road 7A.
“The drivers refused to unload their extra weight or pay the $25 per excess ton charge,” Mr. Somphors said. “Then they created a large traffic jam when they made a blockade across National Road 7A at around 6 a.m.”
He said that 70 of the drivers were carrying loads that were 10 to 20 tons beyond their trucks’ capacity.
Sar Kimnath, chief of the provincial transportation department, said officials including Stung Treng governor Mom Saroeun arrived at about 8 a.m. to negotiate with the drivers.
“We compromised with them and educated them to stop overloading their trucks. The negotiations lasted around two hours.”
Chhuok Komal, Stung Treng City police chief, said the governor let the drivers proceed but planned to meet with them soon to have them sign a formal agreement not to overload their trucks in the future.
“This is the third time that this group of cassava drivers have driven overloaded trucks through this area,” Mr. Komal said, adding that the heavy trucks risked damaging roads and bridges.
Representatives of the truck drivers could not be reached.
The protest in Stung Treng is the latest example of truck drivers successfully using their vehicles to avoid efforts to bring them into compliance.
In December, over 400 righthand-drive cargo truck owners blocked highways around Phnom Penh during rush hour to protest rules requiring them to modify their vehicles, with authorities eventually agreeing to have the drivers pay a tax, but not alter their trucks.