State Sen. Ray Jones, who represents Martin, Johnson and Pike counties, showed up to offer support and hear the concerns of drivers. The main message that he got was one of safety.
One driver, Dwight Bowers, explained his colleagues' concerns by saying, "Most of the companies that want you to haul overweight don't live here, so they don't care. Our families all drive these roads. We worry about them.
"There are so many things that can go wrong when you overload trucks. They through up gravel and coal, shred tires and when you have to hit the brakes, you are likely to lose a brake drum through someone's windshield. They aren't gonna notice us in Frankfort till one of these accidents involves a school bus and that's one tragedy nobody wants to see happen."
Bowers went on to point out the irony inherent in tourism promotion that seeks to bring travelers to the Country Music Highway: "How can they expect tourists to come back after having to dodge dead tires and after having their windshields cracked from coal spilling out the top of the trucks?"
Jones professed sympathy but could offer few immediate answers.
"We need to go to Frankfort in January when the legislature meets and bring some sort of compromise," Jones said. "The coal companies have a lot of influence on the legislature. I am looking at the law they passed in West Virginia and hope we can fashion something similar. We can't do anything till January."
The assembled drivers weren't too pleased with a long wait and even less pleased that they would be depending on a legislature that has yet to pass a budget. One noted, "A lot of accidents will happen between now and January. Who's responsible for that?"
The drivers just want enforcement of weight laws for now, but say they haven't seen Vehicle Enforcement units on U.S. 23 in Louisa.
"I call the D.O.T. every day and ask them when they are coming out here," said driver Rick Prater. "Every day man you can check my phone records."
Another driver noted, "They are all up on [Route] 119. Part of the problem is 12 officers for five counties. But we never see them in Louisa, which is where the bulk of the coal passes through. We're at the bottom of the funnel here."
Jones was asked if he could make an overture to the Department of Transportation but he replied, "I have no influence with the Department of Transportation."
The drivers said they are pleased with many companies who have paid a decent wage to drivers who haul under the legal limit. One cited Frasure Creek Mining as taking the issue seriously and not allowing any driver to haul overweight.
But they also noted that some companies are not playing ball and are overloading trucks.
"They are putting killer trucks on the road," Bowers said. "We just want our families and neighbors to be safe."