Could Michigan get in step with rest of states on axle standards?

| 11/13/2001

The Michigan House of Representatives is considering a bill that would allow the operation of three-axle 53-foot trailers on state highways. HB5205, sponsored by Rep. Judson Gilbert II (R-Lansing), was introduced on Oct. 16 and referred to the House Committee on Transportation. OOIDA officer and board member Bob Esler, Taylor, MI, says this move is a good one for owner-operators in Michigan.

"I've been trying to get that kind of legislation introduced for years," said Esler, a long time owner-operator. "It will help out a lot of owner-operators because it accommodates equipment that's already standard in the industry."

Michigan is the only state not allowing this configuration on its highways. Current law limits 53-foot semis to two axles, a regulatory standard adopted in 1986 when the standard trailer length was 48 feet. However, the House analysis points out since then the three-axle 53-foot trailer has become the standard size in the North American trucking industry.

According to committee testimony, 92 percent of trade across the Ontario-Michigan border is done by trucks and bringing Michigan's axle standard into line with other states and Canada would reduce the industry's costs.

For legislative status information, call (517) 373-1070. Michigan's legislative session ends Dec. 31, 2001.
-- Rene Tankersley