News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Steel-coil haulers need to use more care securing load

Legislation that Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, plans to introduce when the Legislature begins its regular session this week should get the trucking industryís attention.

His bill is an attempt to stop the epidemic of accidents involving trucks hauling steel coils.

In part, his bill would require more training for drivers, but the increased fines are the punishment. He would fine drivers $2,000 and companies $10,000, if they violate hauling rules and cause accidents.

Currently fines start at $25.

Because of Nucor Steelís location in Decatur, many coil-hauling trucks are in this area. Some of the truckers headed east get no farther from the mill on Alabama 20 than the intersection with U.S. 31 at Wilson Street Northeast.

Most recently, a driver lost a 40,000-pound coil in the front yard of a Hillsboro home, also located on Alabama 20.

The mill is not responsible for the condition of the rigs, the qualifications of the drivers or how they secure the coils. Nucor sells the steel before it leaves the mill, but the company also is concerned about the publicís safety.

The proposed fines are only part of the answer. They are small compared to the hauling companiesí liability for dropped coils and the cleanup from a wreck.

Rep. DeMarco said he is still researching how to make his bill most effective. A couple of ways would be to ban companies and drivers from hauling coils if they have a history of violations.

Prevention, however, is more important. Putting state inspectors at mill sites to inspect trucks and make sure drivers secure the coils properly would help.

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