Letter to the editor: Coal trucks cause damage to vehicle
In an effort to keep insurance costs low, in this economy, I adjusted my car insurance to a $500 deductible. It was therefore disappointing recently when I passed three separate coal trucks on I-70 (east of Salina), and one more on the road from the Fremont turn-off to Castle Dale, and each time I passed one of these trucks my vehicle was pelted by a hail of small coal fragments, enough to chip and crack my windshield in many places, and to also chip the hood of my car in several spots. When I passed the first truck I thought it was an anomaly, but as I passed the third and fourth trucks I knew there was a consistent problem. A phone call to a trucking company revealed that their company would assume no liability and this person suggested they had not received many other calls over this issue. I called the Utah Highway Patrol and they were very thorough (and helpful) in researching the issue, but the representative I spoke to indicated I would have to sue the company and take them to court in order to have any chance of them paying for my damages. It seems unfortunate that we allow a large trucking company to use our interstate and state highways and then allow them to damage other vehicles on the road without holding them responsible. I was told, by the UHP representative that once the debris has touched the road, it doesn't matter if you are then damaged by that debris. Apparently you must be hit by something falling directly from the truck and hitting your vehicle, before hitting the ground.
Unless I am willing to go through the long and unlikely process of taking the company to court, then with my $500 deductible, I am stuck with paying for most if not all of these repairs myself. Anyone reading this should be advised that I am not opposed to mining coal as an energy source, I just don't appreciate having to foot the bill for the the damage coming from coal trucks on public thoroughfares.
If your vehicle has been damaged by debris from a coal truck, contact me at email@example.com. Perhaps we can establish enough evidence to convince companies to pay for damages or at least to take great responsibility in avoiding this type of problem in the future. In the mean time, I suggest travelers stay away from I-70, and SR-10 through the towns of Emery and Castle Dale.