Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 14, 2012

Payne County deputy's job is to save roads

STILLWATER, Okla. — The average American car weighs approximately 4,000 pounds, easily under the Payne County road limit of 30,000 pounds. So why are many roads like 68th Street and Country Club Road dotted with repairs to the pavement?

The answer rumbled past Payne County Sheriff’s deputy Doyle Carey at 44th Street and Country Club Tuesday.

“He is way over,” Carey said. The massive orange 58-foot piece of rolling oil rig machinery hissed and squeaked to a lumbering stop. It is covered in cables, chains and ladders.

 Doyle grabbed his shiny truck weights. They don’t look like much more than glorified bathroom scales made out of steel but each of his six scales is capable of weighing tens of thousands of pounds accurately within 100 pounds. The whole set cost $30,000. As the truck inches onto the scales the problem becomes clear.

“95,600 pounds, gross weight,” Doyle said. It is well over the 30,000 pound limit. It is the second highest load the deputy has caught someone trying to drive on small, thin county side roads. The largest was a semi weighing in at nearly 130,000 pounds.

“They are destroying these roads,” Doyle said, pointing to globs of asphalt splotched on the pavement to repair wear and tear.

The driver was written two tickets for traffic violations, essentially the equivalent of running a stop sign, costing nearly $500. The moving violation also went on his driving record.

Doyle explains the problem. Commercial vehicles like semis, dump trucks and machinery try to save time and money by zipping through side roads. The roads are far thinner than state highways. The weight, combined with heavy traffic, begins to dent and crumble the surface. To combat this, last year Sheriff R.B. Hauf and county commissioners decided to hire and train Doyle as a dedicated weight and size officer.

Doyle explained recent wildfires and a small staff has cut into his abilities to make a lot of weighing stops but word is getting around to drivers and companies about the laws and consequences.

Doyle said is trying to meet with different companies to educate their drivers and help plot routes around restricted weight areas.

“That is worth more than going out and writing a lot of tickets,” he said, adding he wants to help the drivers save time, money and the roads so everybody wins.

He tries to make four to five weight stops a week. He has some tricks up his sleeve to help him. Doyle’s training has taught him to recognize heavy vehicles by how they ride. He also uses the WiFi in his car to search the Internet for information about different loads. For example, Doyle said he might see a truck hauling a bulldozer and will look up the make and model’s weight.

Doyle said he has been in law enforcement for 18, first working with police departments throughout Oklahoma before settling with the Payne County sheriff’s department.

“It’s in my blood,” he said. “The more I do it the more I enjoy it.”

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