BIRMINGHAM, AL., -- The state is cracking down on truck drivers carrying steel coils with new rules. The Governor signed the legislation Monday. It targets semis carrying heavy loads to and from steel mills in the Birmingham area. In the last five years, the coils have fallen off trucks, causing millions of dollars in road damage. "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," Governor Riley said during a ceremony where he signed the bill into law at the U.S. Steel plant in Birmingham.
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 charged with setting the training standards. A company that uses an uncertified driver would face a fine of $5,000 to $10,000. The uncertified driver would also face of fine of $250 to $1,000, and as much as a year in jail.
The new law also levies a fine of $5,000 to $10,000 against a person or company if a steel coil falls from a truck they owned or leased and if the coil had been loaded in a way that violates federal safety regulations.
The sponsors of the new law - Senator Jabo Waggoner and Representative Paul DeMarco - have been trying to get it passed by the Legislature for four years.
Governor Riley said the new law is the latest effort being taken to make Alabama highways safer. Others he mentioned on Monday include the addition of barriers on the medians of interstates, stepped up safety enforcement and truck inspections by state troopers, and the widening of two-laned rural roads.