Michigan law trims truck fine

| 12/29/2009

A new law in Michigan lowers bond amounts for truck weight violations. Another bill still active at the statehouse would ease gridlock caused by certain fender-benders.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed into law a bill that is intended to lessen the potential blow on the pocketbooks of truck owners or drivers for truck weight violations. The new rule took effect with the governor’s signature.

Until now, Michigan law has mandated that the owners or drivers of vehicles that are 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 didn’t immediately pay the fine or post bond in an amount double the fine, the vehicle was to be impounded.

Previously SB433, the new law eliminates the requirement to double bond amounts. Instead, bonds posted for overweight vehicles will be for the amount of the fines.

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

It 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 have already endorsed the bill, which 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 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.

The bill – HB5140 – is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan, 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.