Capt. Harry Kearley, commander of the state Department of Public Safety's Motor Carrier Safety Unit, said the federally mandated securement methods work.
The problem, he
said, is a combination of failure to follow those guidelines and inappropriate driving practices, such as taking turns too fast.
"Combining those problems tends to sling them off the truck," Kearley
said, "or when the truck turns over, they tend to fall off."
said increasing the regulations on securing steel coils would lead to more violations, not fewer dropped coils.
Federal regulations contemplate the use of cradles, but do not require them.
"It's like speed limits," said Kearley
"If people are running 90 miles per hour, you don't lower the speed limit from 70 to 60.
You just enforce the law you've got and make them do right.
I can't see making the load-securement rules more stringent when they're not following the ones we've got."
Stricter regulations would also cause problems on interstate shipments, Kearley
"We don't want anyone coming into the state to have to stop and readjust the coils.
It would be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive," Kearley
said most of the problems with dropped coils are coming from shipments that originate in Alabama.
The Alabama Trucking Association
, a trade association consisting of members of the trucking industry, opposes more restrictive requirements - such as mandated cradles - to secure steel coils.
"To put it bluntly, we don't think it's necessary," said ATA spokesman Ford Boswell.
Several states require that truckers secure steel coils with cradles, a method Boswell and Kearley
They both said it is more than is necessary.
"Properly chained on, you don't need a cradle," Kearley
said the solution is more overtime, some of which would be covered by federal grants.
"We can spend our off days enforcing these laws," Kearley
"I had people working a saturation two-week detail in Birmingham focusing just on (coil load securement)."
was using overtime hours to enforce securement regulations across the state, including Decatur.
Later this month, Kearley
said, the DPS
will have courtesy checks of steel-coil loads at U.S. Steel
Part of the goal of the event, he
said, will be to increase awareness of the problem, especially to those involved in securing the loads.
said the state is also considering increasing the fine for those who lose steel-coil loads, but that would require legislation.
The state Department
of Transportation already fines truckers to cover the cost of damage to bridges and roads caused by dropped coils.
opposes stricter regulations, he
does not dispute the severity of the danger the coils pose to motorists.
Capt. Harry Kearley, commander of the state Department of Public Safety's Motor Carrier Safety Unit, said increasing the regulations on securing steel coils would lead to more violations, not fewer dropped coils.
Better enforcement: The American Trucking Association
supports more driver training and more aggressive state enforcement.
Enforcement means money, something not in great supply at the state Department
of Public Safety
said the solution is more overtime, some of which would be covered by federal grants .