The Alabama House gave final approval by a 94-0 vote last month to a bill that regulates the transport of steel coils on state roads. Governor Riley has signed the bill into law. Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, the bill sponsor, said that coils will not fall off the trucks when trucking companies follow the regulations. It’s obvious this legislation was badly needed and its passage will help save lives. The new law will boost the maximum fine from $2,000 to $10,000 and increase the maximum punishment from 30 days in jail to one year in jail. Drivers will be required to be certified by the state Department of Public Safety to haul the coils. This legislation, along with strong enforcement by the Department of Public Safety, should prevent any future loss of life or injuries on our highways caused by steel coils falling off of trucks.
Coils have broken free from tractor-trailers on Alabama highways with more than a dozen such occurrences happening in Jefferson County alone in the past five years. Fortunately, there have been no deaths from the rolling coils, which can weigh as much as 46,000 pounds, but there has been one recorded injury. Significantly, the cost to repair highways, according to media reports, has been at least $7.5 million. DPS truck inspectors found numerous violations by steel haulers on Birmingham-area interstates over the last three months. Since the new law will impose tougher fines against truck drivers and companies if they fail to secure coils to trucks it should have a good effect. As mentioned above, the law also calls for extensive training to drivers and company officials on how to properly secure the coils. I commend Rep. DeMarco and his colleagues – along with Governor Riley – for getting this bill passed.
Source: Birmingham News and Associated Press
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