This article focuses on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations on cargo securement.
Recently, a driver had a multiple stop delivery at a large customer site. The driver was at his third stop at this site when it was discovered that he had delivered a tote at the first stop that was intended for the third stop. The driver returned to the first stop and the tote was re-loaded onto the back of his trailer. Without securing the tote or closing the trailer doors, the driver then pulled out and headed back to the third stop to make the correct delivery.
As the driver turned onto a public roadway, the unsecured tote slid off the back of the trailer onto the roadway. Fortunately, emergency personnel responded quickly and the spill area was cordoned off from other traffic. If there had been other vehicle or pedestrian traffic in the area at the time, this incident could have been much worse.
This incident would not have occurred if the driver had followed his company’s policies and procedures for cargo securement or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) guidelines and regulations in regards to cargo securement.
The Code of Federal Regulations Title 49, Part 393.100 addresses Cargo Securement. It states that each commercial motor vehicle must, when transporting cargo on public roads, be loaded and equipped, and the cargo secured, in accordance with this subpart to prevent the cargo from leaking, spilling, blowing or falling from the motor vehicle.
Although infrequent, truck cargo loss accidents do happen. The FMCSA reports there were two fatalities in that category in 2011. Additionally, a study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that there are 25,000 vehicle-related road debris crashes annually in North America. As a note, vehicle-related road debris in this study includes all classes of vehicles.
Remember, an improperly secured load can lead to loss of load, damage to the cargo or vehicle, a crash, issuance of citations/fines to drivers/carriers, the vehicle being placed out of service, and even loss of life.
It is critical that all loads are secured properly before moving any equipment.