Alabama lawmakers approve bill to regulate hauling of steel coils

| 3/17/2009

The Alabama Legislature has signed off on a bill that addresses 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.

Supporters say special attention to the issue is warranted because Birmingham is a major artery in the southeast with a lot of through traffic.

“We want commerce, but we want to make sure it’s hauled safely so the motoring public and truck drivers are safe on the road,” Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, recently told Land Line Now on Sirius XM Radio.

House lawmakers unanimously approved the bill clearing the way for it to advance to Gov. Bob Riley’s desk for his signature. The Senate had already approved it by unanimous consent.

Dubbed as one of the nation’s toughest governing coil haulers, the bill – SB136 – 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.

Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that assurances must be in place that steel haulers understand how to carry out proper cargo securement. However, the Association is concerned with how fault will be determined.

Trucking companies would face fines up to $10,000 for not properly tying coils on the trailers. 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 fees or costs of training would be determined by the department.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Staff Reporter Reed Black contributed to this report.

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