Lawmakers fail to OK Alabama bill to regulate hauling of steel coils

| 5/22/2008

For the second year in a row a bill has died in the Alabama Senate that sought to address the problem of steel coil “fall offs” in the state.

The push for steel coil legislation has increased after several incidents on Birmingham-area interstates in recent years. Damage from the coil spills has averaged $200,000 to $300,000 per repair, The Birmingham News reported.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, the bill called for imposing stiff penalties on truck drivers and companies for spilled steel coils. Trucking companies would have been required to certify that haulers know how to load steel coils properly.

The measure – HB69 – was awaiting consideration on the Senate floor when the regular session wrapped up Tuesday, May 20.

This marks the second straight year the House approved the bill dubbed as one of the nation’s toughest governing coil haulers only to see it not come up for a vote on the Senate floor.

This year’s version called for fining trucking companies up to $10,000 for not properly tying coils on the backs of trucks. Drivers would have faced up to $5,000 fines. Violators also would have faced up to one year in jail.

Alabama law now allows for fines up to $2,000, and 30 days in jail.

The state’s Department of Public Safety also would have been required to develop and publish proper load securement training standards. In addition, areas in the state identified as being prone to coil fall offs would have seen stepped up enforcement efforts.

Advocates for the stiffer penalties must wait until the 2009 regular session to retry the effort.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Alabama in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor