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Required back up alarms in Michigan

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Herm Witte, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 550

    The State of Michigan may soon be considering a bill that would require all commercial snow plow vehicles to be equipped with an operating oscillating (amber) light and back up alarm. The bill is Senate Bill 980 sponsored by Senator John Gleason. While the oscillating light is a no brain-er the back up alarm causes me some concern. Many of your clients and mine will not be happy with the noise a back up alarm would generate while servicing their driveway while they are sleeping or trying to. Just think about the number of times you go back and forth clearing a residential property -7,8,9 and then for the neighbor next door and across the street. I think you get the picture. The number of calls generated will be, well I can only imagine. There is talk about an amendment allowing for an exemption during nighttime hours in residential neighborhoods. My concern lies with the additional liability to you as a contractor that an exemption might create. Scenario - plow all night without a back up alarm in residential neighborhoods, 7:00 AM rolls around and it is time to activate the alarm, Fred forgets to activate the alarm and at 7:15 AM backs into a person, or God forbid, over a person. Lawyers will be all over this whether or not Fred was at fault. Just by forgetting to activate the back up alarm Fred will be found liable. Just think about how many times you or your employees may forget to turn on that alarm. I encourage you to contact both your Michigan State Senator and your State Representative and tell them that the portion of the Senate Bill 980 dealing with back up alarms needs to be removed. I do not believe that you and I as contractors can afford the potential additional liability.

    Herm Witte

    Witte Lawn Maintenance, Inc.

    Serving West Michigan since 1957

    Board member MNLA
    (Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association)

    Member of SIMA
  2. doo-man

    doo-man Senior Member
    Messages: 387

    I don't see an issue I have heard some loud trucks! I personallt am in favor with running it all plowing/mowing season! Its a safety issue with me and letting others around know when I'm about to back-up.

    I know some guys might not see it the same but that's why we are all individual!

    I personally hate when people forget to turn off their overheads!

    Just my thoughts!!!
  3. Tosa93F250

    Tosa93F250 Member
    Messages: 91

    I'm not from Michigan but I say that if that's a problem then they should just get rid of the amendment part. You are already outside peoples houses at night banging a giant piece of metal into the ground as you rev a truck engine to push the snow. If they complain about it tell them it's the law and you have to run it.

    Backup alarms should be on every plow anyways. You spend plenty of time at night in the dark working and people out there aren't going to pay attention.

    As for your Scenario

    Fred should be looking behind him for people. He should also stop plowing in reverse at 30mph. If Fred's alarm wasn't switched like the amendment wants it would've been on all the time and then there is no case.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  4. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,107

    It's been my experience that people don't pay attention to the alarm anyway. They walk behind you even though they know you are backing up, their thinking the onus is on you to see them not to make themselves seen.
  5. Tosa93F250

    Tosa93F250 Member
    Messages: 91

    But if you have an alarm for reverse it gives you something to fight back with if they try to come for ya. You can tell them you had a back up alarm to warn you were there and they still walked behind a moving vehicle.
  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,034

    All of our tractors and salt trucks have back up alarms and I find the quality ones do make a difference. Anything to to help avoid a terible accident is worth it to me.
  7. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Today I was backing up with the alarms on 2 of em wailing away backing up to a side walk, store entrance. Had two ladies ,in a SUV one lighting up another on the phone parked (in my way). Well it didnt help, they just took their "sweet time" leaving the scene. Next time I will hook a stereo with a sub-woofer on the back of the sander with BTO playing "Takin care of Business"
  8. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    I run a back-up alarm during residential but try to stay out of these areas until 5-6 a.m. Haven't had a problem with anyone yet.:sleeping::eek:
  9. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,107

    Mines on a smart switch, (a requirement of the municipal contract I do.) Plowing in residentials is illegal at 2:00am with anything over 97db. Trust me if you hit them in reverse it doesn't matter if you had their mother tied to the back yelling and shaking her finger, you're gonna be found at fault.
  10. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    All our larger(non pick up) trucks have alarms. Pita when you do a lot of backing up, but oh well !!!!!
  11. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    Great visual...

    I'm all for it, and if they complain you can pretent you think it sucks too but hey, it's the law
  12. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    All of our equipment and bigger trucks have them. I dont have them on my pickups but we shouuld I think.

    I may be mistaken but all commercial trucks should have them fully operational by law in ontario.
  13. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    I belive that right here in St. Paul, the libs on the city council have actually floated the idea of restricting plowing in residential neighborhoods to daylight hours only... yep, that's right. Sounds like a logical way to elimate the disturbing noise of plows and everything.

    And for those of you who don't like my use of the term "libs"... it sure doesn't help you when stupid stuff like this is almost always introduced by the Dems.
  14. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Between my code 3 strobe mini bar and driving lights, wired into my reverse, if that don't get your attention, I doubt an annoying beep will...
  15. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    The bad part is the state isn't doing it for safety, they are doing it to make more money off of us. No different than a seatbelt, do you think they care if you kill yourself? Nope but they like the $50 or $80 bucks you pay for not wearing it.
  16. sk187

    sk187 Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    A backup alarm is as simple as a dinging device on one rim.

    We were audited by MOSHA and they wanted the simple little $45 dingers on one tire on each semi.
  17. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Your worth more alive with paid taxes every year.
  18. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    i blame the lady with the giant mole. whos gonna monitor if you have a back up alarm at 3 am
  19. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

  20. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    We run back up alarms on our larger vehicles at my day job but most of the time you don't hear them because of the snow and ice pack build up on them.
    Also I think my residential customers would be angry for waking them up with them every time I'm out plowing their drives at 4:30 am. Hopefully the law wont pass!!