Sen. Shirkey, Rep. Leutheuser to introduce commercial vehicle enforcement package

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LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake and Rep. Eric Leutheuser, R-Hillsdale, on Monday announced their part in a legislative package of bills to partially redirect fines associated with commercial trucking so they can be used by county road commissions.

Senate Bill 861 and House Bills 5490-5492 also would clarify existing law that Michigan is a “probable cause” state, meaning that ticket quotas are prohibited when enforcing the vehicle code, and that law enforcement is unable to pull a vehicle over without a reason.

“Currently, when commercial trucks get tickets for being overweight none of that money gets directed toward roads,” Leutheuser said. “It makes little sense that when an overweight truck causes damage that we aren’t putting some of the money we get from penalties back into concrete and asphalt. That helps all drivers, and protects the new investments we are putting into Michigan infrastructure.”

Mike Matousek of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association trucking organization agreed.

“Changing the way that ticket revenue is distributed in Michigan is long overdue,” Matousek said. “For example, if a trucker is issued a lawful citation for exceeding vehicle weight limits, certainly some of that money should be dedicated to repair roads and bridges.”

Shirkey also voiced his support for the package.

“When people get pulled over, they want to know they are getting pulled over for the right reasons,” Shirkey said. “Michigan is not a state where law enforcement should be ordered to issue a given amount of tickets on a given day, or to pull over a predetermined amount of cars. SB 861 will ensure there is no ambiguity in that direction to our law enforcement community.”

The National Motorists Association (NMA) discussed the importance of such policy.

“Drivers need to be confident that the laws in Michigan don’t encourage speed traps or other revenue focused activities,” said Jim Walker of the NMA. “The National Motorists Association strongly supports any legislation that reinforces Michigan not allowing for mandatory numbers of predetermined traffic stops for any type of driver.”

The legislators said they were hopeful the package would draw wide, bipartisan support and that hearings could begin before the start of the summer driving season.