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Michigan looking at more lenient hazmat law

DETROIT, Mich. -- A state law that doles out stiff penalties to truck drivers who commit any hazmat violation is be...


DETROIT, Mich. — A state law that doles out stiff penalties to truck drivers who commit any hazmat violation is being revisited.

Under the current law, hazmat violations are considered a “high misdemeanor”. Charged drivers are arrested and fingerprinted, must pay a US$500 fine, and face a potential year in prison.

But Susan Fries, a spokes person for the Hazardous Materials unit of the Michigan Police Motor Carrier Division, says the law has “caused a lot of heartburn”. The existing law means drivers were being arrested for minor violations such as a faded placard.

She has drafted an amendment that would impose only civil penalties for violations. Fries says more severe penalties would be imposed only on drivers who “knowingly or willfully” violate hazmat regulations under the Motor Carrier Safety Act.

Fries drafted an amended version of the hazmat law in response to the Michigan Propane Gas Association and the Michigan Truckers Association, which were seeking changes to it.


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