Alabama officials have scheduled a meeting for Dec. 20 to discuss ways
to improve truck safety in the state, a spokesman for the state’s Department of
Transportation told Land Line.
The meeting, which will not be open to the public, comes in the wake of
several high-profile accidents that involved trucks and damaged highways. In
one case, a fire that involved a tanker truck shut down a portion of
Birmingham’s “Malfunction Junction” for more than a month. The fire was so
intense it melted portions of one of the bridges.
According to Tony Harris, an Alabama DOT spokesman, the meeting will
include officials from the state DOT – including ALDOT director Joe
McInnes – as well as representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, state
troopers, the Alabama Department of Revenue and the Alabama Trucking
Harris said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has “asked for the
stakeholders related to highway safety and the trucking industry to get
together and discuss some ways to seek some solutions to what has been for us
in Alabama recently some problems. We’ve had several major accidents involving
big trucks, and the governor is concerned and wants to see what the
stakeholders can come up with.”
The ALDOT chief, McInnes, told The
Birmingham News, “This meeting will not be a confrontational-type thing. We
are not pointing fingers at anyone.”
Although Harris did not know of a specific agenda for the
meeting, he said it would include various proposals to increase safety on the
road. Subjects that are likely to be discussed include load securement and
increased enforcement of current speed limits.
Harris said he did not think the group would consider a
lower speed limit for trucks.
“Mr. McInnes has said publicly that we’re going to talk
about roads, load tie downs, speeds and all issues involved with the parties
concerned,” Harris said. “It’ll be a chance for them to bring any concerns to
the table as well.”
– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor