Michigan township to consider truck enforcement ordinance

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/18/2015

A township board in southern Michigan is looking into doing their own commercial truck inspections.

The Somerset Township board is set to discuss a proposal this week that would effectively allow them to enforce commercial motor vehicle safety inspections. The township is located along U.S. 12 and U.S. 127 in eastern Hillsdale County. The affected area includes the cities of Hillsdale, Coldwater, Jackson and Adrian.

State law permits local police to be trained by the Michigan State Police to perform truck inspections. A portion of revenues from local traffic and safety violations are kept by the municipality. Meanwhile, violations found through state law enforcement stay with the state.

Local enforcement agencies say they need the fine revenue to keep up with the cost to do inspections.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has voiced concerns to the township board about the effort to include truck enforcement in local ordinance.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, said enforcing truck regulations can be extremely difficult, even for the most well-trained law enforcement personnel who perform truck compliance inspections on a full-time basis.

“Further, inadvertently issuing improper citations to trucks can create serious problems for them, including those that are eventually overturned or dismissed in a court of law,” Matousek said.

Instead, he said the Association supports a “commonsense approach to inspections, but unfortunately that doesn’t always prevail, in particular if the incentive for inspections is to generate revenue.”

The township board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 12715 E. Chicago Road, Somerset Center. The proposed ordinance is expected to come up for “discussion only.”

OOIDA is encouraging truckers that live or work in the area to attend the meeting.

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