Michigan nears new rules on logos, license plates and e-insurance

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/19/2013

A bill on the governor’s desk in Michigan would mandate regular license plate replacement. Two more bills on the move cover truck logos and electronic proof of vehicle insurance.

One bill halfway through the statehouse would require fewer commercial vehicles to display the company’s information or registered logo.

Currently, commercial vehicles weighing more than 5,000 pounds must include the information or logo on each side of the vehicle. Violators face $58 fines, including court costs. The revenue benefits public libraries and state troopers.

The Senate-approved bill would change the threshold to all commercial vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds. The change wouldn’t apply to towing or platform bed wreckers or road service vehicles.

Supporters say the requirement for all commercial vehicles over 5,000 pounds to display the owner’s information is unnecessary, and can be burdensome and costly.

In addition, the bill would do away with an exemption for trucks that weigh less than 10,000 pounds with a farm or manufacturer license plate.

The bill, SB277, is in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Another bill on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk would speed up license plate replacement in the state.

Specifically, HB4633 would require drivers to buy a new plate every 10 years. The change would take effect in 2015.

Advocates say the requirement is needed to help ensure that license plates are readable.

If approved, the Secretary of State would also study moving to a digital plate printing method.

According to a fiscal impact statement attached to the bill, the cost to reissue a plate would be covered through the fees charged for a plate. The standard fee for a plate is $5.

One more bill of interest would help truckers and other drivers avoid digging through the vehicle when prompted to retrieve their vehicle insurance card.

SB392 would allow drivers to provide law enforcement officers with electronic proof of insurance on smartphones and other similar devices. Drivers would no longer be required to have the traditional paper proof of insurance to avoid a ticket.

The option for digital proof of insurance is growing in popularity. More and more insurance companies offer apps for customers to download on electronic devices.

According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, 27 states have adopted the policy. Seventeen states have approved electronic proof in 2013.

The bill awaits a Senate floor vote. If approved, it would move to the House.

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

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