Michigan LCO's - Federal DOT exemptions

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Grassmechanic, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    If I was a DOT officer in Md. I'd have the largest revenue in the state for issuing tickets. I see a dozen trucks everyday that are not in compliance with DOT. I KNOW they are over 10K. A 3/4 ton truck and a dual axle trailer are obviously over the 10K allowed by the DOT. I see dually trucks and 20ft open trailers with nothing on them, no numbers, lettering at all. Saying you are only cutting your grandma's place doesn't cut it when you have all the equipment of a lawn service provider with multiple pieces of equipment. I'd bet 3/4 of them don't even collect sales tax let alone pay in on personal taxes! They will have it coming to them if the IRS ever figures them out. You guys are lucky they are passing it in Michigan.
  2. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,829

    Because they're added BS expenses, that will not do a single thing to combat any deaths on the roads in this state, or any other, and you know it. Stupid can't be fixed, and stupid people will always have inferior equipment, regs or no regs. All these kinds of stupid, useless laws do is cost us money to run our business, and bring in extra cash to the states coiffures since our economy is so bad here, and little else is trickling in right now. The MSP and other LEA's are pulling more guys over than ever in the hopes of finding even one violation now that things are so bad here. that costs the operator of the vehicle time, and time is money even if they don't get a fine, which is rare, because if they stop you, they will do all they can to find one, even if it is very minor and/or borderline. They want cash coming in.

    One other thing is that there are now a ton of out of work factory workers and others here, who have a 1/2 ton truck, and a 5X8 trailer, a small Z or WB's and they are getting around the regs, making it harder for the rest of us to compete in an already swamped market here.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  3. BleedingGreen

    BleedingGreen LawnSite Member
    from SE MI
    Messages: 165

    I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with you over my reasons for not having a commercial vehicle abide by dot regulations.

    A car that is driven by a 9 to 5er who doesn't have a clue as to how a car works let alone how to maintain it can just as easily kill someone if something fails due to negligence and they loose control of their vehicle. As far as your statement goes shouldn't every car on the road need to be inspected annually and go through all the other regulations that go along with being in DOT compliance as well as getting a physical to have medical clearance to drive every 2 years. It is nothing more than a way to generate revenue.
  4. BleedingGreen

    BleedingGreen LawnSite Member
    from SE MI
    Messages: 165

    Most 1/2 trucks and small trailers will still qualify you for needing DOT #'s. It was a couple of years ago but I got fined for not having a 1/2 lettered with a DOT # yet when I had a small trailer hooked up to it.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    If you don't want to get into a pissing match then don't come in acting all aggressive. I am entitled to my opinion whether you agree with it or not.

    And yes, the privilege to drive a 2 ton vehicle (or any vehicle) should come at a much higher attainment of skill and with significantly higher penalties for breaking the laws. There is a reason so many people are killed on America's roadways and it not just that vehicles aren't safe. They will allow any moron to legally get behind the wheel after an extremely short period with very little formal training.

    The United States comes in almost dead last among developed countries in regards to traffic deaths. Even if saving lives is accidental to a money grab then it is something that is good.

    http://www.driveandstayalive.com/info section/statistics/stats-usa_indiv-states_per-capita_2003.htm
  6. BleedingGreen

    BleedingGreen LawnSite Member
    from SE MI
    Messages: 165

    Since you are from a state that doesn't have the same DOT laws that we have in MI you might not understand how much of a joke it truly is. I never meant to come off as "aggressive" but if you have seen the things I have, experienced what I have, and know what I know you would see how it is easy to get defensive about it.

    We have a saying here that it's not IF you get pulled over and inspected, it's WHEN. Last time it was about a 1.5 hour ordeal as they go over every last detail you can imagine. They will find something to write you a violation for (even go to extents of measuring distances and angles on your trailer and it's components. I don't know about you but when I buy a trailer from a major trailer manufacturer I trust it is made to meet these requirements but this is not always the case)and most of them carry a minimum $150 fine or more for each violation which can be for something as minor as some surface rust on your safety chains that can be caused by nothing more than taking them on and off your truck and having them make contact with concrete in the process. I could see if they were structurally not safe but serious as I can be, it can be over small spots of surface rust. Whatever fines you accumulate CANNOT be used as a write off so not only are you paying fines that were accumulated because of the work you do but you can't even use the fines as a deduction from your profits so you end up paying taxes on money you don't even have anymore. I know of 2 circumstances that business sold off their assets and closed their businesses down just to cover the costs from the violations they received from one of these on-road inspections. Tell me how that is going to help our economy when you're shutting down small businesses (which is what drives the economy) that are trying to not only create revenue through paying taxes but hopefully creating jobs for other tax payers. For what, the instant revenue it generated through fines instead of continuous revenue that might have been generated through job creation?

    I have family in law enforcement who have told me that there is a guy in the department who's only job is to pull over businesses to perform these inspections that would finish out the day by bragging about how much money they generated from these violations. He would got to the extent of waiting outside of mower dealers just to pull them over when they leave. We're not talking a couple hundred dollars in fines but thousands in some inspections.

    I personally was pulled over as stated before for "not being able to read the last two numbers of my trailer plate because the trailer frame partially blocks it". Mind you I was in the left hand lane of a 4 lane road one way road and the cop was in the parking lot on the side of the road which would have been the passenger side of the truck. The trailer plate is on the driver's side. He pulled out of that parking lot like he was on fire before I had even gotten past where he was sitting and immediately pulled me over lights on outta the parking lot. Also mind you that the trailer is made by a major trailer manufacturer and last time I checked the plate needs to be under a plate taillight so it is illuminated. Sure I've seen plates attached to trailer gates and I've never done this as it was illegal so it went under the taillight on the bracket made for the plate by the trailer manufacturer. Upon asking the officer what else I can do to correct the problem as I can't come out any wider with the plate as it is already at the max trailer width and that is where the trailer manufacturer had intended for the plate to be placed and explaining the whole plate illumination legality. Know what I was told? "I guess mount the plate on the gate and the car's headlights from behind will illuminate it." Sure that's fine for you but what about the next cop? That cop went after me, which then lead to the "further inspection" because I was a business, plain and simple. I even defended my case stating that the cop couldn't have read any of my plate because of what lane I was in, the side of the trailer the plate was on, and him being parked on the side of the road. Needless to say some of my fines were reduced.

    The whole medical dot physical card is a joke too. I was asked if I had any pain, I read an eye chart, and had a urine test and $200 later I was cleared to drive for the next 2 years. Last time I checked when I renew my driver's license they already check your eyes hence the corrective lenses restriction on my actual driver's license and any business worth it's salt will already have a drug and alcohol testing policy in place not that you couldn't start drinking or doing drugs after the test. Why shouldn't every driver have to do the same then if they are going to be on the road not that this proved I was safe to drive either? If you ask me that $200 could have been better spent on something like some truck or trailer parts.

    I never said that safety was not a concern. But as far as I'm concerned every vehicle small or big, trailer or not, business or personal has the capability of killing for one reason or another. Obviously if you were a cop and you saw something obviously wrong or unsafe you should be pulled over and investigated. I see average drivers every day(just like some businesses) that are either hauling something very sketchy or dangerous or driving dangerously that are not and don't have to go through the DOT compliance hoops. These DOT regulations and precautions have done nothing and I repeat nothing for making me a better, safer, or more capable driver nor has it kept my trailer attached to my truck any better. In my opinion like I've said before any and all drivers and vehicles should be subject to these regulations and driver physicals then not just the selected. I can go on and on but I will leave it at that and maybe you'll understand where I'm coming from. Nothing personal. Just see some of my frustration in an already challenging environment called business with another headache to contend with. That's why I didn't want to get into it with someone who probably won't agree with me.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  7. TMAC669

    TMAC669 LawnSite Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 229

    Wow, you pretty much summed it up in this post. I'm feeling a little better about my set up cause the officer went through my set up with a fine tooth comb and came up with nothing. Like you said, the police don't pull you over with the intent of giving you a warning. He is looking to issue fines for something. Knock on wood I know this won't be the last time I'm stopped.
  8. Snapper Jack

    Snapper Jack LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    The states intentions to enforce DOT regulations on the smaller guy is nothing more than an entrapment to drum in revenue it's a business to them and it' no doubt places a hardship on the unfortunate smaller guy but the states don't give a crap about you.

    Being from NC, the state focuses it's greed on the bigger fish.
  9. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,829

    Exactly right. That's also just about exactly what I posted in post #12:)
  10. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,829

    Excellent post BleedingGreen.

Share This Page