Michigan bills would trim truck fine, reduce gridlock

| 10/27/2009

While the majority of statehouses throughout the country have gone dark with lawmakers at home until the first of the year, a handful of states continue to meet. In Michigan, bills that are under consideration would trim bond amounts for truck weight violations and ease gridlock caused by certain fender-benders.

One bill is intended to lessen the potential blow on the pocketbooks of truck owners or drivers for truck weight violations.

Michigan law mandates that for vehicles loaded and driven or moved on highways when overweight the owner or driver must 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 Transportation Committee has advanced a bill to the full House that would eliminate the requirement to double bond amounts. Instead, bonds posted for overweight vehicles would be for the amount of the fines.

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.

If approved on the House floor, the bill would move to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s desk. The Senate has already approved it by unanimous consent.

Another bill on the move would require moving drivable wrecked vehicles off the road.

Awaiting consideration on the House floor, the measure calls for mandating 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 – HB5140 – 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.

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.