STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
Outside the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy William “Tally” Talamantez can look at a commercial truck and trailer driving east on Texas 29 and immediately determine it’s in violation.
The 34-year veteran of the Texas Department of Public Safety was a commercial vehicle enforcement officer. He brings that experience to the county as a new traffic unit with a focus on commercial vehicle traffic.
“I saw the increase of the commercial traffic (in Burnet County), and I know we needed to do something,” Talamantez said. “So, after I retired (from DPS), (Burnet County) approached me with this job, and I said ‘yes.’”
The new position within the county came about as Sheriff Calvin Boyd saw the amount of commercial truck traffic increase in recent years. Boyd was also a DPS commercial vehicle enforcement officer.
“It’s something we’re very aware of and we need to address,” Boyd said. “This is something for the community, and it’s a safety issue, so we’re going to do what we can.”
Talamantez’s first day on the job was Oct. 1, also the first day of the county’s new fiscal year. He joins the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office with 36½ years in law enforcement. His first two years were in Big Spring before he joined DPS.
Boyd said that while truck traffic on main highways such as Texas 29, Texas 71, and U.S. 281 is high, other roads also will be patrolled.
“Some of the roads that we want to look at are load-zone roads. (Truck drivers are) not even supposed to be on those roads, but they cut through because it’s shorter,” Boyd said.
The increase of rock quarry businesses has also increased commercial vehicle traffic as trucks from other counties drive into Burnet County to pick up rock then take it to other facilities. Other traffic comes from commercial vehicles using U.S. 281, for example, as a bypass of Interstate 35 congestion.
Better enforcement, as Boyd sees it, helps keep roads safe for all drivers and ensures trucks aren’t unnecessarily damaging roads.
“(Trucks) take a beating, and most truck drivers try to keep their trucks safe,” Boyd said. “They do a good job and want to be safe and want to do things right, but you’ve got a few out there that want to cut corners, and that’s what we’re looking for.”