It is easy for one to be intimidated thinking about the massive devastation that semi-trucks can cause is they are involved in accidents. Yet if you were in an accident with such a vehicle in Los Angeles, then you may know full well that often it is not the truck that causes the most damage, but rather the cargo it is carrying.
Trucks do not even need to be involved in collisions in order to cause accidents due to load failures. This, then, prompts the question of if you were in an accident involving such a failure, how are to know if the cargo was secured properly?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been tasked with developing the guidelines that govern trucking safety. In its rules, regulating cargo placement and restraint, it says that all loose cargo must be secured through the use of whatever support is necessary, including:
- Dunnage or dunnage bags (items or inflatable bags designed to occupy space)
- Shoring bars
Often, a combination of the aforementioned materials may be needed to secure a load.
Any cargo that is likely to roll during delivery must be secured by wheel chocks, wedges or cradles that offer no potential of becoming loose during transport. Cargo items or containers stacked in contact with each other must be secured by transverse tie downs that prevent shifting while on the road.
Regarding the load strength of the tie downs used, the working load limit must be at least one-half the weight of the items being secured. Articles five feet or less in length must be secured by at least one tie-down, while those between five and 10 feet or weighing in excess of 1,100 lbs must have two. Anything over 10 feet must have two tie-downs for the initial 10 feet, and then one for every 10 feet thereafter.