I had and enjoyable conversation with a Michigan State Police DOT Office one day coming back from Ohio. I was west bound on I-94 nearing the Jackson County line when the sign for the scales indicated they were open. I joined the stream of commercial vehicles in line to exit the interstate and cross thru the inspection station. Coming down the entrance ramp from a local highway was a State Police DOT Officer in his car headed toward the scales also. As timing would have it, he merged onto the freeway immediately behind me and followed me off the exit, of course he continued behind the scale office while I headed across the scales.
As I crossed the scales the Red Arrow lite up letting me they wanted to talk to me. I had no reason why as I was unloaded and at last check all lights where working. As I pulled around and parked, a Trouper walked out to meet me. As he walked up to the truck, after he introduced himself, he asked for my Driver’s License, Medical Card, Truck Registration, Truck Insurance and Bills of Laden. He did not ask for my log book, which ironically and amazingly was both up to date and accurate. I advised I was empty and those no load paperwork.
As he handed back my paperwork, he said “How about a quick safety inspection?” I, with a smile said “Absolutely. Especially since I don’t have a choice, do I?” The DOT Officer, realizing I was joking, laughed and smiled, the responded, “Nope!
We then proceeded thru the Prescribed Inspection of the brakes, tires, lights, safety equipment etc. Once done with no gigs, dings or we have a problem, the Officer asked me to come inside with him and he would, “give me gold star to take to my safety department”. As we got inside, he commented that he noticed coming up the ramp, where he was behind me, he noted that my license plate expired that month and he was wondering if they were expired yet. So I asked, “Oh. And you were hoping for an easy ticket?” Again, I was smiling and as he laughed, re commented “YEP!”
The DOT Officer then settled into the process to complete the paperwork showing that he had did his job of inspecting my truck and that I had done my job of operating a truck that was in proper maintenance condition.
Mean while the other DOT Officer working the scales was working on the paperwork for a multiaxle steel hauler, whom had already been inspected and was inside the scale house when I arrived. However, is was clear from the conversation between that officer and the driver, it was clearly not going well.
About the time the Michigan reprsentative of the DOT was finishing my paperwork, the other officer chastised the steel hauler about his log book. That was when my Police Trouper looked over at me and asked, “Did you show me your log book?”
“You never asked”
“Oh, ok. Is it up to date?”
“Of course”, I said with a smile. “Do you want me to go get it?”
“No, I will take your word for it.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the steel hauler was looking even less pleased that it was clear I had passed my inspection and that I was having a much better interaction with the Michigan State Police.
About then, the Officer handed me all my paperwork including my truck’s sticker indicating I had passed a road side inspection. I prompt left before the trouper changed his mind and wanted to look at anything else – but not before I documented in my log book my time, Line 4, On Duty, Not Driving.
The moral to the story, if there is one, the Michigan State Police DOT Officer was doing his job at looking for unsafe truckers and illegal trucks and as long as I kept a positive, cooperative attitude, he remained fun and pleasant to work with.