CADILLAC — With more than a foot of fresh snowfall and dangerously cold temperatures gripping the region recently, the sight of plow trucks on the road was a common one.
With that in mind, Wexford County Road Commission Manager Alan Cooper said he has been noticing some private plow companies have installed green lights on their equipment. While it is legal for road commission trucks to have green LED lights, which help to ensure the trucks are visible to motorists regardless of what Mother Nature is producing, it is against the law for private plow companies to use green lights.
"We just want to put the reminder out there that the green lights were established to help drivers distinguish it is a plow truck," Cooper said. "If you see the green lights, you know what is going on."
Motor Vehicle Code 257.698 (5)(d) addresses the use of lights.
The law states: “Flashing, rotating, or oscillating amber or green lights shall be used by a state, county, or municipal vehicle engaged in the removal of ice, snow, or other material from the highway and in other operations designed to control ice and snow, or engaged in other non-winter operations.‘
Cooper said the reason they aren’t allowed on a private vehicle is the green lights help to differentiate between road maintenance vehicles and private companies. He also said those found in violation of the law could be ticketed. In fact, they could face up to a 90-day misdemeanor if caught, according to the law.
When the lights were first installed in 2016, Cooper said the road commission’s insurance company was hoping the use of green lights would ultimately condition the motoring public to be more cautious around road commission vehicles.
Cooper said in 2016 there had been an increase statewide of crashes with plow trucks, and in most of them, motorists said they couldn’t see the trucks. With green lights on all of the county’s trucks, Cooper said that shouldn’t be a problem anymore. Cooper also reminded drivers to never pass a plow truck on the right.