It may not be the oddest request the government has ever made, but it's up there. This Saturday, the folks in Lansing and the Macomb County Department of Roads would like you to "shake your mailbox."
By official proclamation of Gov. Rick Snyder, Oct. 20 is actually the fourth Shake Your Mailbox Day held in Michigan to date.
The was day started – as many government actions are – in response to citizen's complaints. In this case, it was a county road commission's frustration over complaints of damaged mailboxes.
The first Shake Your Mailbox Day was held in 2008 and the County Road Association of Michigan (CRAM) and United States Postal Service joined forces in 2009 for the statewide campaign.
“In most mailbox damage cases, our snow plow doesn’t actually hit the mailbox,” said Bob Hoepfner, director of the Macomb County Department of Roads, in a prepared statement. “The force of snow thrown from the roadway is enough to knock down a loose mailbox. Damage to these posts and receptacles is not covered by the Department of Roads and can be prevented with some routine maintenance.”
Although the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Macomb County Department of Roads have policies in place regarding replacement of mailboxes that have clearly been hit by a snowplow, these road agencies have never assumed responsibility for mailbox damage caused by routine snow removal operations.
“Taking a little time to tighten mailbox screws and secure posts now can prevent serious headaches later,” Hoepfner added. “If the mailbox moves when shaken, the mailbox and/or post may not withstand our snow removal operations and should be repaired or replaced prior to the onset of winter.”
So residents are asked to give their mailboxes a thorough shaking this Saturday in preparation for the snows to come. It's about "proactive mailbox maintenance," reads a Department of Roads press release.
The department also recommends residents set aside a few minutes this fall to replace loose hinges on the mailbox door and to replace or add reflective house numbers to allow postal workers and emergency responders to easily find your home.
While St. Clair Shores has only a handful of roadside mailboxes, get shaking.