Meeting the Ohio DOT


When I first started driving back in 96, it must have been starting to change or was just about changed over. My first real trucking job was pulling a coal bucket here in Kentucky. Of course we didn’t haul much coal, until wintertime, but I did haul my fair share of rock, sand, mulch, salt, etc. just about anything that would go into a dump wagon.

My very first trip out in a coal bucket, was a load of “mulch” going to a home improvement store in Cincinnati, OH. I will never forget that load, as that was my first time I had gotten to meet the Ohio DOT (PUCO). I had loaded up my load of “mulch” and was headed westbound on ST. RT. 32 towards Cincinnati. My load was so tall my tarp just barely covered it, but I had no weight on, “mulch” does not weigh much when it is loaded loosely.

I must have looked like I had one “Hell” of a load of coal. My boss was in front of me about a mile, and told me over the CB radio he had just passed a PUCO headed my way. I saw the DOT officer as he went by, looked like he was about to break his neck looking back at me. He almost wrecked his patrol car as he went into the medium strip to do a “flip”. I told my boss he was turning around and headed back our way and was in fact pulling up behind me with his lights on, wanting me to pull over.

I did pull onto the shoulder, and the officer walked up, and asked for my shipping papers, and I gave them to him. A look of disgust came over his face as he read that I had a load of “mulch” on. He told me to have a nice day, and gave me my paperwork back, and went back to his car. Funny, I thought “what a nice guy” lol.

Little did I know I would get to know this same officer by first name in the next two years and sort of enjoyed getting pulled over by him, unless I was breaking the law, then it still was not that unpleasant.

In the next two years, I must have been pulled over by this same officer a thousand times. All for the same reasons “hauling heavy”. Although I can only remember one time that he actually “caught me” being overweight. And boy did he make a scene out of that time. It was a cold Jan. morning, and I had just loaded a load of concrete sand that was bound for a business located in Batvia, OH. that sold different rock products to the locals.

I pulled my load on to the scale at the sand quarry, and it weighed eighty-three thousand pounds, I signed the ticket agreeing to responsibility of the load and weight. It was too cold to be trying to get a load of wet sand legal that morning, plus it was the only load I had so I wanted to get it over and head home early.

I waited for our other truck to get loaded and weighed out, as we always ran together everywhere we went. In case one of the trucks were to break down, there was always somebody there to help out. I was in the lead, and pulled out onto RT. twenty-three and headed north. I had no sooner got pulled out and straightened out and building my speed when “Scotty Walker” the PUCO pulled in behind me, and flashed his lights wanting me to pull over. I knew Scotty monitored channel 19 on the CB Radio, so I keyed up the mic and asked him, “Scotty, where do you want me?” Scotty replied, “Right here in the right lane would be fine, Jason.”

So I turned on my flashers and came to a stop, right in the middle of U.S. 23 and set the tractor brake. Scotty got out of his patrol car, and walked up to my drivers side, and asked to see my weight ticket. I obliged him, and he kinda chuckled and asked when was the last time I had been inspected? Of course he already knew the answer, anyway he told me if I could pass “his” inspection he would let me go. That Three thousand pounds wasn’t really worth weighing me over.

He walked back to his cruiser and got his orange cones out to block off the lane of traffic, and got his creeper out. We went through the inspection process, and when he got to my trailer, he red flagged my trailer and said a trailer brake was not working. He walked up to the cab of the truck, and said: “Well, Jason it looks like we are going to have a weighing party. Just hang tight and let me call the scales to come and weigh you.”

By this time you would have thought I was a bank robber in my get away vehicle because of how many patrol cars were around me. Three state patrols, two sheriffs cars, three more PUCO cars, and the PUCO weigh van were all parked behind me with their lights all flashing. Let me remind you that it was eighteen degrees outside.

The guys driving the portable scale van walked up to the truck and started talking to me. I knew these guys as well, not by first name, but they had weighed me enough they knew my name. One of them said: “Jason, I can’t believe he is actually going to weigh you for three thousand pounds, and it is eighteen degrees out here.” I agreed with his statement, and he told me just to stay in the truck and stay warm, it would be over in a few minutes. For them I thought, as I was sitting in a truck with a trailer that was red tagged, I wasn’t going anywhere.

They weighed me and Scotty wrote me my citation, and gave me my out-of-service papers, and told me that he would escort me to the parking lot located just about a half mile from where I was sitting. We pulled into the parking lot and Scotty came up to me and said: “Jason, your trailer is red tagged don’t move it until you get it fixed, and that I am going to be working right here all day so I can keep an eye on you.” with a grin and he got in his patrol car and left. See, if you get an out-of-service red tag on a piece of equipment and get caught moving that piece, it was a ten thousand dollar fine, and prison time could be added.

It was just now about nine-thirty in the morning, so I knew Scotty would work until at least four in the afternoon. I had a long day in front of me, as I knew my boss could not come up there and make the repair as he was gone for the day. Working for a local company, when you break down you don’t get to call a service truck to come and fix the problem. You either fix it yourself or your boss would have to come and fix it. Well, with what was wrong with the trailer it was going to take my boss to fix it.

So, I waited and kept trying to call my boss, but I knew it was no use I knew he would be gone all day. At about four in the afternoon, I heard a trucker saying a DOT was southbound on 23. I knew this was Scotty heading home. I waited a few minutes, and got confirmation over our “company radio” that in fact Scotty was heading home. I got a hold of the sand quarry loader operator by CB Radio, and told him I was on my way in to dump this load of sand, he told me where to put it. I returned the ticket for the sand, and I headed out the back way, through the woods, and towards the house.

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I'm just a EX-truck driver, trying to pass along a little information. I been in the Trucking Industry as a driver for over 15 years. I have driven both as an owner operator and as a company driver. I have also been a driver instructor for an accredited truck driving school in KY. I am no longer a truck driver, but I consider myself to be a watchdog for the trucking industry. In fact this site is the #1 site for getting the real news about trucking. We don't hold back here, you will hear the full story. Twitter | |Truck Drivers News Facebook
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2 Responses to Meeting the Ohio DOT

  1. Gloria says:

    I read this jason and all I could think about was how many times i have been pulled over by DOT who were thinking I was overweight and when they saw my actual weight they couldn’t believe it . lol , I run an ’03 freightliner triaxle , my gross unloaded is 25,200 , loaded max in PA is 73,280 , legally in PA for my first load of the day I can carry 24.04 tons and I usually roll out with that on my truck at 7 a.m.
    I am on a first name basis with the local DOT that haunts our quarry , matter of fact he has pulled me in from time to time just to BS . The other trucking company drivers love when they see me pulled in cause they figure they are home free . I have elarned a lot from him during our BS sessions and even am grateful for the knowledge . I am going to be sad when he retires because then that will mean another one to break in again .

    • Thanks Gloria for the comment, LOL I figured I could draw out a bucket truck driver or two with this post. I hear a lot of complaints about the DOT from drivers who are not pulled over by them all the a bucket driver is.

      Even after I stopped pulling a bucket, and started pulling a tanker hauling HAZMAT, the same DOT I wrote about would pull me into the scales or pull me over just for a BS session. I was once pulled in, and was over on my 14 hours..the scale master wanted to shut me down, which by law he had every right, but this same DOT told them he personally knew me, and he would vouch that I was indeed on my way home. I still had about a hour or so of driving to do, and they let me go.

      I kinda lost track of him after I moved on, but he was not a bad guy just out there doing his job.

      LOL, you mention it was going to be sad when your local DOT retires…but just think you will get to break the new guy in! Have fun and be safe!


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