Alabama deals with truck safety on two fronts: securing steel coil loads & lack of enforcement
In my native state of Alabama, two areas of trucking safety are making news.
First, recurring problems with heavy steel coils coming loose and dropping onto highways pose threats to both public safety and damage to roads. The Birmingham News reports that "Steel coils weighing tens of thousands of pounds falling off trucks with enough force to punch holes in interstate bridges have become an all too common occurrence in the Birmingham area." Over the past three years, eight trucks have spilled heavy steel coils on Birmingham interstates. While no one has been killed, and there’s been only one serious injury, the threat is a disaster waiting to happen. Moreover, falling coils have knocked holes in interstate bridges, causing road repair costs of $200,000 to $300,000 each time. Industry officials and Alabama legislators have called for action to step up penalties for truckers and companies that lose these loads. Let’s hope they get it done before a steel coil lands on a family car and wipes out a family, perhaps something will be done.
Second, Alabama has only one permanent weigh station and inadequate mobile truck inspection teams. According to the Decatur Daily newspaper, "large trucks often travel undetected with faulty or improper equipment because Alabama has few facilities and staff to catch the violators. The state has one permanent inspection station on Interstate 20 near Heflin and 15 mobile stations that travel as needed. DOT maintains weight equipment designed to stop overweight trucks that damage roads while state troopers with the Alabama Department of Public Safety conduct the inspections. The Alabama DOT director said that weigh stations cost about $10 million to get up and running. "Which program do I not do in the meanwhile to make that happen?" Alabamians compare their state to Mississippi on many fronts. Mississippi had 22 permanent inspection stations last year; while Alabama had one. Alabama made about 1 million truck inspections; while Mississippi did more than 8 million. In addition, Alabama’s enforcers say a shortage of state troopers makes enforcement difficult. Trucking experts say the visible presence of a trooper causes motorists to drive safer.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.