A new law in Alabama that takes effect June 1 addresses the problem of steel coil “fall-offs” in the state.
Gov. Bob Riley signed a bill into law this week that requires trucking companies hauling steel coils to use specially certified drivers or face hefty fines. Uncertified drivers also would face stiff penalties.
The push for steel coil legislation has increased after several incidents on Birmingham-area interstates in recent years. Since 1987, about 30 coils have come loose from transport trucks in the area. There have been no deaths resulting from the incidents, but highway repair costs have totaled more than $7 million, according to state figures.
“When you think of the massive destructive force that’s unleashed when a 46,000-pound steel coil tears loose and starts rolling down the highway, it’s amazing no one was ever killed by one,” Riley said at the signing ceremony. “We thank God for that.”
Previously SB136, the new law requires motor carriers involved in transporting steel coils to use truck drivers trained and certified in properly securing these coils.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety is responsible for setting the training standards. A staffer for the motor carrier safety unit said the DPS anticipates having certification available online within the next month.
Companies found to be using uncertified drivers would face fines up to $10,000, per occurrence. Uncertified drivers would face fines up to $1,000, and as much as one year in jail.
The new law also levies fines up to $10,000 against a company or driver if a steel coil falls from a truck they own or lease and if the coil had been loaded in a way that violates federal safety regulations.
Supporters say the new rule is intended to target trucking operations and drivers that refuse to comply with securement regulations.
Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, said special attention to the issue is warranted because Birmingham is a major artery through 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,” DeMarco told Land Line Now on Sirius XM Radio.
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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