According to the Associated Press, the Motor Carrier Division says the new motor carrier cops will focus on busting trucks for overloading, defective lights and brakes, inoperative windshield wipers, broken horns, improper logbook entries and other infractions. Taxpayers will be doling out more than $2 million to pay and train the new officials.
The transition has already begun, with some weigh stations using signs to alert truckers they're switching to road patrols carrying portable scales. The state eventually plans to close six of its 22 weigh stations, replacing them with two new ones, the Detroit Free Press reported.
"Hopefully, extra officers will reduce speeds of trucks and crashes, and we'll see a savings in the maintenance in the roads," said Inspector Charles Culton, assistant motor carrier division director for the State Police.
The department is also looking into using a piece of equipment that would monitor truck axles and the configuration of a truck without the drivers knowing. The device would be buried beneath the pavement in 24 places across the state.
In Michigan, a truck's gross weight can be as high as 164,000 pounds, based on a weight formula using the length of the truck and the number of axles, resulting in the many-axled "Michigan trains."
Last year, the state weighed 2.3 million trucks and issued more than 39,000 citations, according to Motor Carrier Division figures. Each fine is 2 to 20 cents per pound a truck is overweight, usually adding up to thousands of dollars.