Michigan bills would trim truck fine, reduce gridlock

| 12/3/2009

A bill on its way to the Michigan governor’s desk would trim bond amounts for truck weight violations. Another bill still active at the statehouse would ease gridlock caused by certain fender-benders.

House lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill that is intended to lessen the potential blow on the pocketbooks of truck owners or drivers for truck weight violations.

Michigan law mandates that the owner or driver of vehicles loaded and driven or moved on highways when overweight pay a fine based on the weight of the excess load and its distribution. If the person doesn’t immediately pay the fine or post bond in an amount double the fine, the vehicle must be impounded.

The House voted 104-2 to advance to Gov. Jennifer Granholm a bill – SB433 – that would eliminate the requirement to double bond amounts. Instead, bonds posted for overweight vehicles would be for the amount of the fines. Senate lawmakers previously approved it by unanimous consent.

Bill supporters say there is no reason for the bond to be double the amount of the actual fine. They say it places an unreasonable burden on drivers or owners while they contest violations because they never will owe more than the amount of the fine.

Sponsored by Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond, the bill – SB433 – also establishes standards for truck-weighing scales.

Another bill, which is halfway through the statehouse, would require moving drivable wrecked vehicles off the road.

House lawmakers recently voted to advance to the Senate the HB5140 bill. This measure mandates that drivers – or licensed passengers – remove their vehicles from traffic lanes as long as the vehicles are still drivable and no serious injuries were suffered. Failure to move vehicles would result in $105 fines.

Advocates for the requirement say that studies have shown that more than 20 percent of wrecks are secondary wrecks that occur because of drivers reacting to an existing accident scene or because of a backup situation.

HB5140 is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.