MSP Eyes on 94 campaign cracks down on semi drivers during wintry weather

MSP Eyes on 94 campaign cracks down on semi drivers during wintery weather. (WWMT)

Another round of heavy snow came down on parts of southwest Michigan Thursday. In the first week of wintery weather, Michigan State Police have already seen a number of crashes on snowy highways, including two separate pile ups on I-94 in Van Buren County.

MSP First Lt. Dale Hinz said, "We've had a lot of crashes this far into the season. Usually we don't have the magnitude of crashes that we've encountered already."

Semi-tractor trailers played significant roles in both of the pile ups, according to MSP.

Ten of the 12 drivers ticketed in the 32-vehicle crash near Paw Paw Thursday were truck drivers.

"They are driving too fast for road conditions," said Hinz.

Two semis crashed on westbound I-94 near exit 56 Tuesday, which set of a chain reaction in a series of crashes that involved two other commercial trucks and five cars. Hinz says tickets will be issued in that crash as well.

The holiday rush of deliveries increases semi-truck traffic on snowy Michigan highways.

"If I had a chance to not drive in the winter time I would take it," said one semi-truck driver who stopped to fill up at a gas station off I-94 Wednesday.

Truckers say they are under more pressure than ever before to arrive on time with talks of self-driving trucks.

According to MSP, semis account for 12 percent of all deadly crashes in the state.

To drop that number, MSP kicked off its Eyes on 94 campaign last week. Putting more troopers on highway patrol to look for truck drivers who are breaking the law.

Troopers stopped more than 700 trucks in five days along I-94.

Troopers ticketed 350 truckers and issued warnings to 373 others after focusing on three leading causes of crashes: Distracted driving, driving too fast and driving too closely.

It's not just the trucks that need to slow down, Hinz said, "It's everyone, it's you, it's me, it's everyone out there."

MSP warns that if you lose control on snowy highways, you can expect a ticket for driving too fast for road conditions.

Whether it's a single car crash or a massive pile up, Hinz says MSP took in a zero tolerance policy after the fiery 193-vehicle crash on I-94 that killed one man in January 2015.

"We want to send that consistent message to drivers it's not a matter of writing a lot of citations or generating revenue from those citations, it's about effecting driver behavior and modifying that behavior," Hinz said.

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