Traffic Safety Division History

A Proud Tradition Begins...

For many years, two separate state agencies conducted primary truck enforcement duties: the Michigan Highway Department (now the Department of Transportation) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (now within the Department of Labor and Economic Growth).

The very first agency involved in regulating transportation in Michigan was the Railroad Commission, established in 1873.  In 1919, the same year the Michigan State Police was created, the State Legislature replaced the Railroad Commission with the Michigan Public Utilities Commission, the predecessor of the Michigan Public Service Commission.  The Utilities Commission began regulating the trucking industry in 1923 with less than 10 inspectors.

The Michigan Highway Department hired additional Weighmasters and built the first permanent scale facilities in 1929. Weighmasters were charged with enforcing only size and weight laws.  In 1968, the Weighmaster function of the Highway Department was transferred to the Michigan Public Service Commission by a Governor's Executive Order.

In 1982, Governor William G. Milliken issued Executive Order 1982-1 which transferred the highway enforcement functions, including the personnel, of the Michigan Public Service Commission to the Michigan State Police.  In turn, the Michigan State Police created the Motor Carrier Division to administer the program.  Motor Carrier Officers were given full police powers for the purpose of commercial vehicle enforcement.  In April 2007, the Motor Carrier Division merged with the Traffic Services Section to form what is now known as the Traffic Safety Division.


Protecting Michigan's Roadways
Michigan roadways are directly affected by heavy vehicles which can damage the road surface.  Replacing just one mile of roadway can cost you the taxpayer in excess of one million dollars.  Motor Carrier Officers working in 13 state weigh stations identify commercial vehicles that may cause damage to our highways.  Road patrol units carry portable scales to perform weight checks on commercial vehicles that may not cross state weigh stations.

Enforcement Activities
Motor Carrier Officers perform a full range of enforcement duties including the detection and apprehension of individuals who use commercial vehicles in their criminal activities. Officers intercept illegal drug and alcohol shipments, seize weapons and other contraband being transported on Michigan roadways.

Investigation Unit
Investigators work with the trucking industry to detect and stop commercial fraud and criminal activities such as drug trafficking, insurance schemes, regulatory violations and habitual offenders of the Motor Carrier Safety Act. Audits are performed at companies to determine compliance with driver qualifications, safety inspections and repairs.

Zero Tolerance Strictly Enforced!
Trained in alcohol and drug detection, Motor Carrier Officers enforce Michigan's drug and alcohol laws pertaining to commercial vehicles. All drivers found in violation of these laws face arrest, license suspension and possible incarceration.

Hazardous Materials
Thousands of trucks transporting hazardous materials travel Michigan's roadways every day. Traffic Safety Division members not only enforce strict safety standards and regulations, they conduct training programs that provide up-to-date regulatory and safety information to business and industry leaders.

Commercial Vehicle Crashes
Knowing what caused a crash enables authorities to develop and institute preventive measures. Motor Carrier Officers have great expertise in the gathering of critical facts and evidence at crashes involving commercial vehicles. Motor Carrier Officers serve as expert witnesses and are routinely called upon by other police agencies, courts and the industry to provide valuable insight and knowledge.

School Bus Safety
Hundreds of thousands of children are safely transported over 10 million miles annually by Michigan school buses. It is the responsibility of  Michigan School Districts in conjunction with the Traffic Safety Division to protect the safety of these children. Each year Traffic Safety Division members inspect more than 165 safety features on approximately 18,000 Michigan school buses.

Michigan State Police Car Speed Enforcement
Utilizing the latest technologies, including laser speed detection equipment, Motor Carrier Officers monitor commercial vehicle traffic speed to promote compliance and safe transit for the motoring public. 

Commercial Vehicle Inspections
Experts at detecting unsafe or defective vehicles, officers perform thousands of comprehensive equipment inspections annually. Vehicles with serious violations are placed "out of service" until repairs are made.

A Proud Tradition of Service Through Excellence, Integrity, and Courtesy
Motor Carrier Officers are dedicated to promoting public safety and protecting Michigan's highway infrastructure through an array of comprehensive education and enforcement programs.