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What are the laws regarding securing cargo loads?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for establishing cargo securement rules in the United States. These rules correspond with the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations and reflect the industry's best practices.

Below are some important rules of cargo securement.

-- Cargo securement methods must be adequate to withstand the momentum from deceleration of .8 g forward, .5 g backward acceleration and .5 g lateral acceleration.

-- The vehicle's systems, structures, components and parts used in securing cargo must all work properly and not be weakened or damaged.

-- Each tiedown used must be secured and attached so that it cannot unfasten, open, loosen or become untethered while the vehicle is in motion.

-- Tiedowns subjected to cutting or abrasions must be protected at the edges where they meet the cargo.

-- When a trailer has rub rails, all parts of its cargo securement system (including tiedowns) must be inboard the rub rails when possible.

-- If a vehicle uses unmarked welded steel chains as tiedowns, their working load limit must be equal to the capacity of grade 30 proof coil.

-- Other unmarked tiedowns must have working load limits that are equal to the lowest rating of types recorded in the working load limits table.

-- Cargo with the potential to roll has to be restrained with wedges, cradles, chocks or other equivalent measures to prevent rolling.

-- None of the equipment used to prevent rolling must be able to become loose or unfastened while the vehicle is moving.

-- Separate pieces of cargo laid side by side must be secured with transverse tiedowns that are in direct contact and unable to shift.

-- All cargo has to be completely secured and immobilized with dunnage or dunnage bags or other adequately strong materials like tiedowns or shoring bars.

One can only image the dangers posed by loose cargo on the road. If you were injured by a loosened cargo load, you can file a claim for damages against the trucking company's insurance carrier.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Cargo Securement Rules," accessed Aug. 14, 201

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