Alabama’s new law regulating the hauling of steel coils on highways is the toughest one in the nation, state trucking association officials say.
Beginning Monday, steel-haulers in Alabama had 60 days to be trained and certified in properly securing the huge coils or face tougher penalties.
The new law will not affect the 50 mph speed limit through Malfunction Junction, which the governor set in 2007 to slow the coil-haulers.
“We will keep the speed limit the way it is now,” said Jeff Emerson, spokesman for Gov. Bob Riley. “The bill will make sure the coils stay on the trucks, but we need to keep the trucks from turning over.”
Riley signed the bill into law Monday at the U.S. Steel headquarters in Fairfield. On hand were representatives from U.S. Steel, Nucor and O’Neal steel companies.
Since 1987, about 30 coils have fallen from the backs of flatbed trucks along Birmingham-area interstates, mostly at the Interstate 65 and I-20/59 interchange. State transportation officials estimate the damage to highways at approximately $7.5 million.
“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. We thank God for that,” Riley said.
The new law requires truck drivers hauling steel coils in the state to be certified by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and it increases penalties for improper securement of the coils.
With Riley’s inking the bill, the state now has “the toughest load securement legislation in the nation,” said Alabama Trucking Association board Chairman T.J. Willings.
“It targets those within the trucking industry who refuse to make safety a priority. Now commercial drivers are required to seek training and certification to haul steel coils in Alabama,” Willings said.
© 2009, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.