Michigan bill would boost fine for bypassing weigh station

September 17, 2018

Keith Goble

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One bill nearing passage at the Michigan statehouse would more than double fines for bypassing a weigh station.

State law now requires vehicles operating as commercial vehicles, including pickups and vans, to stop at weigh stations or scales. Drivers who do not stop at a weigh station or scale face a misdemeanor fine of up to $100, and/or up to 90 days in jail.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to classify the violation as a civil infraction. The distinction would increase the fine to as much as $250.

Sgt. Matt Williams of the Michigan State Police spoke at a hearing on the bill prior to the committee vote. Acting as a legislative liaison, Williams told committee members that classifying the violation as a civil infraction would simply put it in line with other updates to the vehicle code made more than 40 years ago.

Another provision in the bill would exempt vehicles other than large trucks towing trailers from having to stop at weigh stations or scales. Specifically, the rule change would apply to companies that include lawn care operations and landscapers using pickups and vans to haul equipment.

Williams said that having affected vehicles stop at weigh stations is unnecessary.

“The goal of requiring these vehicles to stop at weigh stations is to weigh them. The way the law is worded now … includes dual axle pickup trucks hauling a trailer,” Williams said. “Those types of vehicles are never stopped to check for weight. They generally are stopped to check for other types of civil infractions.”

Advocates say if a state trooper suspects a vehicle combination to be overweight, including any vehicle combination exempted from the requirement, the officer would retain the authority to have the vehicle weighed.

The bill’s next stop is the Senate floor. If approved there, HB5090 would head to the governor’s desk. House lawmakers already approved the bill on an 88-21 vote.

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

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.