City of Houston

Houston Police Take Action After Drivers Are Terrorized By Giant Rolling Spools

H.P.D. is looking for truckers with oversized loads and those who don’t have their cargo properly secured.

An 18,000 pound loose spool blocked traffic on Interstate 10 on November 12.

Since October, there have been several incidents involving large industrial spools falling off the backs of flatbed trucks.

Just last week, a spool got loose on the 610 Loop near Kirby. There were also prior incidents on I-10 near Wayside where drivers were forced to dodge giant spools as they rolled along the main lanes.

Following those recent incidents, H.P.D. is doing beefed-up enforcement this week to go after violators, including truckers carrying oversized loads without a permit and those who don’t have their cargo properly secured.

Sergeant Chapel Love with the Houston Police Department’s Truck Enforcement Unit said officers have been tasked with stopping any truck that appears to exceed the limit of 14 feet and one inch. If a truck is found to be in violation they’ll be issued what’s known as a compliance review.

“What that does is, it notifies DPS that we have a company that’s doing things not in accordance with the way that they should,” said Love. “And then they in turn will go out and do an internal audit and they will dig a lot deeper than we can.”

As for why trucks don’t follow the rules, Love speculated a lot of it has to do with driver complacency. He said drivers need to know the exact height of their truck and how much their loads will add to that height.

Love said to transport a spool safely you can’t just put it on the back of a truck and tie it down. It has to be properly cradled to eliminate any movement.

“What started out as a properly secured load becomes improper because it rocks and moves and that in itself is what causes the load to break free,” he said.

And if a load comes loose while a truck is barreling down the freeway the consequences could be devastating.

“That object that’s flying from a trailer is traveling at a high velocity,” said Love. “And that coupled with the velocity of the vehicle that it impacts creates a very significant force. That is a very dangerous combination.”

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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