Update On Steel Coils

Turns out yesterday’s wreck was just an overturned 18 wheeler; it did not drop the coils.

Still, the News has an article about the problem:

Since 1987, 26 flatbed trucks have dropped steel coils on Birmingham-area interstates, injuring one woman and causing millions of dollars in damage to the highways.

Damage from the coil spills has averaged between $200,000 and $300,000 per repair. Officials of the Alabama Department of Transportation document every expense, including traffic control at the scene of the spill, and seek reimbursement from the trucking company or the hauler’s insurance company.

The article does not say whether the state has had any success getting reimbursed. In light of the continual problem, I’m guessing the success rate is not so good.

There’s noise by local legislators, and in the meanwhile Judge Shelly Watkins – to whose court I am about to go – is promising to hammer the ticketed drivers:

 The judge who handles traffic cases in Jefferson County says he will impose the maximum penalties for truck drivers ticketed for having improperly loaded steel coils.

District Court Judge Shelly Watkins said drivers found guilty in his court of hauling improperly steel coils will be fined $2,000 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. All drivers ticketed for unsecured coils must appear in his court, Watkins said.

“Something has got to be done before someone gets killed,” the judge said.

It really does sound ridiculous that those coils could just fall off a truck. The truck that wrecked yesterday fell over and the coils stayed on it, so the problem can’t be inherent to the load. It’s got to be the fault of whoever tied it down. Hopefully, increasing the penalties will provide an incentive for the drivers to spend the extra time and money needed to properly secure the load.

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