Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

August 6, 2013

Police: Truck monitoring could use boost

LANSING (AP) — Those responsible for making sure overweight trucks aren’t on Michigan roads could use 20-25 more officers to help look for violators, an official said.

Capt. Harold Love, commander of the commercial vehicle enforcement division of the Michigan State Police, told the Detroit Free Press for a Monday story that the work his team does is crucial to protecting both the safety of the public and the quality of Michigan roads.

“Without that enforcement being out there, it’s pretty much a free-for-all,” Love said.

There are about 105 officers statewide who look for violators. Michigan also uses a network of 14 weigh stations, dozens of rest stops and other areas equipped with “pits” for portable scales, and about 40 other scales hidden beneath pavement.

Thirty years ago, the state’s enforcement effort was based around weigh stations. Now, there’s been more of a focus on mobile patrols. In 2011-12, records show state police commercial vehicle officers weighed more than 12,000 trucks and issued 5,400 weight citations for an estimated $5.1 million in fines.

State Police and Michigan Department of Transportation officials believe the state “needs a more efficient and effective truck weight and safety enforcement strategy,” the state said in a recent report. Police and transportation officials, however, downplay the significance of that statement.

“There are certain areas that have commercial vehicle enforcement needs that just don’t have the presence that we would want ... to make sure that we’re not missing anything,” Love said.

Officer Kevin Harrington, who patrols the Monroe area for the commercial vehicle enforcement division of the Michigan State Police, said he can often detect an overweight truck by the way it looks or the sound it makes. He also has portable scales in his vehicle to help double-check.

“Once you’ve looked at enough large trucks ... there’s a lot of different things that can point you there,” he said.

The busiest weigh station in Michigan is on northbound Interstate 75 in Monroe County, near the state’s border with Ohio. Other busy scales in the state are on Interstate 94 in southwestern Michigan near the Indiana border and on I-94 near Jackson.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

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