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What are the federal requirements for securing truck cargo?

If you are like most in Marion County, then your concerns over the dangers that semi-trucks and tractor-trailers present out on the road begin and end with the driver. Have you considered, however, that the cargo that he or she is hauling could present just as a great a danger? When it comes to truck cargo, you may only be concerned about the potential of being exposed to hazardous materials. Yet just about any cargo can become hazardous if it begins falling from a truck while on the road. Perhaps the most frightening fact about the risk poorly-secured cargo presents is that it does not require an accident to become dangerous to you and other drivers. That’s why securing truck cargo is imperative for truckers.

Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set forth strict regulations concerning securing truck cargo in transit. Understanding these rules may provide you with some valuable insight into how cargo may have led to a truck accident that you were involved in, and help you in determining whether or not to pursue a liability claim.

FMCSA rules state that any cargo that is at risk for rolling or becoming unsecured must be restrained by any of the following systems:

  •          Wedges
  •          Chocks
  •          Cradles
  •          Transverse tie-downs

These systems must be able to maintain their positions and not become loose or unfastened while traveling.

Specifically, regarding tie-downs, any cargo secured by them must be placed in direct contact with each other or not be able to shift position during transit. The minimum number of tie-downs required depends upon the size and weight of the cargo. For items less than 5 feet in length and under 1,100 lbs, only one is needed. Anything exceeding that length or weight requires two.

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