Michigan bills cover idling, company logo, headlight use

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/27/2013

Multiple bills under consideration at the Michigan statehouse would limit unnecessary truck idling, require fewer commercial vehicles to display company information and require use of headlights for all vehicles in bad weather.

The city of Detroit already limits to five minutes per hour how long trucks can idle.

A bill in the Senate Transportation Committee would impose a statewide rule on idling.

Sponsored by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, the bill would limit affected vehicles to idling for no more than five minutes per hour. SB23 includes a provision that covers idling while trucks wait to load or unload. Owners of locations served by trucks would also be prohibited from causing vehicles to idle for more than 5 minutes while waiting to do business at the location.

Violators of the proposed statewide idling rules would face $150 fines. Repeat offenses would result in $300 fines while subsequent offenses would be $500 fines.

Advocates say that excessive idling is extremely detrimental to the state’s air quality, and costs businesses more money. The proposed restriction is touted as going a long way in making cleaner air more widely available.

Examples of circumstances that would warrant additional idling are to operate a heater or air conditioner “to prevent a safety or health emergency.”

Affected vehicles would also be exempt from the time limit rule when temperatures drop below 40 degrees or go higher than 80 degrees, as long as the truck isn’t equipped with an auxiliary power unit.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president, encourages Michigan truckers to communicate with their lawmakers about the issue.

“As this and many other issues unfold, it is always a good idea for truckers to talk with their lawmakers,” Spencer said.

If the truck isn’t equipped with an APU, the bill would also permit truck idling to power CPAP machines during a sleep or rest period.

Another bill 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.

SB277 would change the threshold to all commercial vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds.

In addition, an exemption would end for farm or manufacturer-licensed trucks that weigh less than 10,000 pounds.

The Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled to consider the bill during a Monday, Sept. 30, meeting.

One more bill intended to benefit safety on state roadways is HB4645. It would require travelers to flip on their headlights when the windshield wipers are in use.

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

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