Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Load Securement

Large Truck Accidents | Load Securement

Every year there are thousands of tractor trailer (semi-truck) accidents caused by cargo falling from a truck’s trailer. Often these accidents occur because the motor carrier, the driver, or the loaders have not secured the goods as the FMCSA’s rules require. Other times it is because of defective or damaged cradles, straps, shoring bars, or other tie down devices that are used for blocking, bracing or strapping down a truck’s load.

A truck driver is responsible for and must have knowledge of the load being transported, including how it is secured. Correct load securement is very important for the safety of the driver and the other vehicles on the road. The result of a load shift or load loss can be a serious or even fatal semi truck accident. To avoid potential semi truck accidents, a truck driver must have knowledge of the cargo, the cargo weight, optimum placement of the load, and confirmation the load is secure. The cargo must be inspected by the truck driver during the pre-trip inspection. It is only when the load is sealed and the truck driver has been instructed not to open the seal, that he isn’t required to make that inspection.

On September 27, 2002, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published new cargo securement rules. These new rules require semi-truck drivers, operating in interstate commerce, to change the way they use cargo securement devices to prevent articles from shifting on or within, or falling from commercial motor vehicles. The changes may require semi-truck drivers to increase the number of tiedowns used to secure certain types of cargo. However, the rule generally does not prohibit the use of tiedowns or cargo securement devices currently in use. The intent of the new requirements is to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting on or within, or falling from, commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce.

Part 393 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations details requirements for the securement of the following commodities: logs; dressed lumber; metal coils; paper rolls; concrete pipe; intermodal containers; automobiles, light trucks and vans; heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery; flattened or crushed vehicles; roll-on/roll-off containers; and large boulders. During public meetings concerning the development of the model regulations, participants said that these commodities cause the most disagreement between industry and enforcement agencies as to what is required for proper securement.

393.116 - Logs

The rules for the transportation of logs are applicable to the transportation of almost all logs with the following exceptions:

  1. Logs that are unitized by banding or other comparable means may be transported in accordance with the general cargo securement rules.
  2. Loads that consist of no more than four processed logs may be transported in accordance with the general cargo securement rules.
  3. Firewood, stumps, log debris and other such short logs must be transported in a vehicle or container enclosed on both sides, front, and rear and of adequate strength to contain them. Longer logs may also be transported in an enclosed vehicle or container.

393.118 - Dressed Lumber and Similar Building Products
The rules in this section apply to the transportation of bundles of dressed lumber, packaged lumber, building products such as plywood, gypsum board or other materials of similar shape. Lumber or building products that are not bundled or packaged must be treated as loose items and transported in accordance with the general cargo securement rules. For the purpose of this section, the term ” bundle ” refers to packages of lumber, building materials or similar products which are unitized for securement as a single article of cargo.

393.120 - Metal Coils
The rules in this section apply to the transportation of one or more metal coils which, individually or grouped together, weigh 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) or more. Shipments of metal coils that weigh less than 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) may be secured in accordance with the general cargo securement rules.

393.122 - Paper Rolls

The rules for securing paper rolls are applicable to shipments of paper rolls which, individually or together, weigh 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) or more. Shipments of paper rolls that weigh less than 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs), and paper rolls that are unitized on a pallet, may either be secured in accordance with the rules in this section or the general cargo securement rules.

393.124 - Concrete Pipe
The rules in this section apply to the transportation of concrete pipe on flatbed trailers and vehicles and lowboy trailers. Concrete pipe that is bundled tightly together into a single rigid article with no tendency to roll, and concrete pipe loaded in a sided vehicle or container must be secured in accordance with the general rules.

393.126 - Intermodal Containers
The requirements for intermodal containers cover the transportation of these containers on container chassis and other types of vehicles. Intermodal containers are freight containers designed and constructed to permit them to be used interchangeably in two or more modes of transportation. Cargo contained within intermodal containers must be secured in accordance with the general cargo securement rules or, if applicable, the commodity-specific rules.

393.128 - Automobiles, Light Trucks and Vans
This portion of the new standards applies to the transportation of automobiles, light trucks, and vans which individually weight 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) or less. Vehicles which individually are heavier than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) must be secured in the same manner as heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery (see the rules under /393.126).

393.130 - Heavy Vehicles, Equipment and Machinery

These requirements are applicable to the transportation of heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery which operate on wheels or tracks, such as front end loaders, bulldozers, tractors and power shovels and which individually weigh 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) or more. Vehicles, equipment and machinery which is lighter than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) may be secured in accordance with these rules, the rules for automobiles, light trucks and vans, or the general freight requirements.

393.132 - Flattened or Crushed Vehicles
The transportation of vehicles such as automobiles, light trucks and vans that have been flattened or crushed is covered by these requirements. The transportation of automobiles that are flattened or crushed in a crash or accident, as opposed to being intentionally flattened or crushed in preparation for transportation to recycling facilities, is not subject to these requirements. However, vehicles damaged in a crash or accident are subject to the general cargo securement requirements.

393.134 - Roll-on/Roll-Off or Hook-lift Containers
These rules apply to the transportation of roll-on/roll-off or hook lift containers. A hook-lift container is defined in 49 CFR 393.5 as a specialized container, primarily used to contain and transport materials in the waste, recycling, construction/demolition and scrap industries, which is used in conjunction with specialized vehicles in which the container is loaded and unloaded onto a tilt frame body by an articulating hook-arm. Section 393.134 is not, however, applicable to the operation of hoist-type equipment (or hoist equipment) as described in American National Standards Institute (ANSI) publication ANSI 2245.1. Hoist-type equipment should be considered separate and distinct from roll-on/roll-off equipment and, therefore, not subject to 393.134. Containers transported on hoist-type equipment must be secured in accordance with the general securement rules.

393.136 - Large Boulders
The rules in this section are applicable to the transportation of any large piece of natural, irregularly shaped rock weighing in excess of 5,000 kg (11,000 lbs) or with a volume in excess of 2 cubic-meters on an open vehicle, or in a vehicle whose sides are not designed and rated to contain such cargo. Pieces of rock weighing more than 100 kg (220 lbs), but less than 5,000 kg (11,000 lbs) must be secured, either in accordance with this section, or in accordance with the general cargo securement rules, including: (1) rock contained within a vehicle which is designed to carry such cargo; or (2) secured individually by tiedowns, provided each piece can be stabilized and adequately secured. Rock which has been formed or cut to a shape and which provides a stable base for securement must also be secured, either in accordance with the provisions of this section or in accordance with the general securement rules.

In all large truck cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of a large truck accident, call the Truck Accident Lawyers Group, Inc. now at (877) 736-4222 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.