FMCSA says federal law trumps Alabama’s coil securement rules

| March 06, 2013

steel coil

Steel coil haulers can now bring coils to and from Alabama without additional certification above what’s required by federal law.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration posted in the Federal Register Tuesday, March 5, that it would grant a petition from the American Trucking Associations asking that Alabama’s Metal Coil Securement Act be usurped by federal securement rules, saying Alabama’s law placed “unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.”

Alabama’s law is more stringent than federal law, FMCSA says, and federal law preempts state laws like that when they have no safety benefit, aren’t compatible with federal regulations and would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.

“FMCSA has determined that there is insufficient support for the claimed safety benefits,” said the announcement in the Federal Register.

Alabama’s act was signed into law in 2009 and prohibits carriers from transporting metal coils to or from Alabama unless the load’s driver is certified in load securement. Drivers were responsible for keeping a copy of the certification in the truck and producing it on demand or face hefty fines.

Certification is not required under federal law.

ATA originally petitioned FMCSA in December 2010, and the agency began seeking comment in November 2011. FMCSA issued its final decision Feb. 27.

See FMCSA’s Federal Register entry here. 

  • William McKelvie

    How does this make anything safer? Surely it goes to the other side, far away from real safety. All Alabama has to do, since the loads have to go off the federal highways and be on state or local roads to make the deliveries, make the carriers who do not want to certify their drivers, drop the loads outside the state and use certified carriers to make the deliveries. When will they learn, someone’s life is important.

  • Patrick

    FMCSA already places a heavy burden on the transportation of Steel Coils and the securement of them. Why should a State have the right to add additional financial burden on the drivers and carriers just to operate in their state? California is another classic example of State Mandated regulations imposing additional financial burdens on drivers and carriers. The states should only have the right to regulate beyond Federal Guidelines for their Intrastate operations. kudos to the FMCSA for this decision.

  • Ken Nilsen

    They will not stand up and go against CA because that state is a good liberal democratic state. You have to remember that AL is one of the states the FED does not like so that is the only reason the ruling is being trumped. I think it would be wonderful if you haul materials that must be secured that you carry a certification that you have been trained in proper load securement.

  • jim jrfferson

    i never heard of this law i been hauling coils across the country for over 6 year i know California requires a metal dunage but no one does this they dont inforce it we use wood the tow truck cast to much to change if caught the ticket is cheper

  • OwnerOP

    The AL cert did not provide or require training, it was simply a written test which was basically taken from the existing FMCSA requirements for coil securement. The AL certification requirement (IMHO) was purely a “tax” on drivers (specifically coil haulers) which created an additional income to the state from a select portion of the transportation industry. Finally, the FMCSA has done something good, but what the hell took them so long????? Now if we could just get them to leave the HOS alone…

  • Anna Leigh Armstrong

    You know nothing about what you are saying. There was no “tax” imposed by Alabama, The law required the drivers to get their own training and certification within 60 days, The signing of the law was attended and applauded by representatives of U.S. Steel, Nucor and O’Neal steel companies. It also increased penalties for improper securement of the coils.

    This was done after trucks lost 30 coils in several years on a crowded stretch of elevated interstate, with a repair cost of almost $8 mill dollars., and shut the interstates down for weeks at a time for repair. It is a wonder that no one was killed. The coils put holes in the road and, If I’m not mistaken, A van ran into one of them and several people were severely injured.

    Once the law went into affect, there were no more accidents. This law was needed, and I hope it is appealed.

  • Hellbent706

    I live in Alabama. I took the coil cert test. YES it is a TAX. At some point states realized a guaranteed way to create a money making law is to attach the word “safety” to it. Do it in the name of safety and the people will pay. $25 to $50 from every steel hauler to take the test is a TAX generator for Alabama regardless of how they spin it. Up to a $5,000 fine if you get caught hauling a coil in Alabama without certification is a TAX on innocent drivers because somehow they might have an accident without the certification. What’s the benefit of the law when a driver “who is coil certified” has an accident, lose a coil and bust up a bridge? NONE! He’s just certified to have the accident. It’s ridiculous. Just like a suspended license ticket don’t stop people from driving. If the idea is “the bigger the fine, the safer the driver”…then for absolute safety…why not just bankrupt people for any violation? in the name of safety.

  • SRT8

    You have no idea of what your talking about…$25 to $50 for the test?? I to am from Alabama and the test was $10 and very easy if you know anything about hauling coils. As stated by someone above, we had way to many wanna be truckers loosing coils, probably drivers just like you. Personally I think they should of taken everyone that lost a coil and dropped the same coil on their heads from 100ft up, that would end the wanna be’s from hauling coils. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.