Alabama bill would regulate hauling of steel coils

| 1/15/2009

An Alabama state lawmaker is renewing his effort to address the problem with 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 would impose stiff penalties on truck drivers and companies for spilled steel coils. Trucking companies would be required to certify that haulers know how to load steel coils properly.

Rick Craig, director of regulatory affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said assurances must be in place that steel haulers understand how to carry out proper cargo securement.

“The problem is that drivers are not being properly trained. Certainly, motor carriers should be getting fined if they are not training the drivers how to secure the cargo,” Craig told Land Line.

This marks the third straight year the bill dubbed as one of the nation’s toughest governing coil haulers has been offered at the Alabama statehouse. The House approved the bill the past two sessions only to fail to come up for a vote on the Senate floor.

Trucking companies would face fines up to $10,000 for not properly tying coils on the backs of trucks. Drivers would face up to $5,000 fines. Violators also would face the possibility of 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 be required to develop and publish proper load securement training standards.

The bill – HB67 – is in the House Public Safety Committee awaiting consideration once the regular session convenes Feb. 3.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Alabama in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor