There are many rules when it comes to traveling with cargo. On the federal level, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires cargo-carrying commercial motor vehicles that travel between states follow cargo securement rules. These include rules on how to secure materials, so they do not fall off the truck as well as rules to prevent the cargo from shifting within the truck.
Each pose unique dangers.
#1: What happens when a trucking company does not properly secure cargo?
Trucks that are carrying raw materials like lumber, construction materials, and other goods must secure their freight. A failure to do so can result in loose cargo that may fall from the truck into the roadway. Cargo that falls off a truck can strike other vehicles or cause a hazard on the roadway that results in the need for evasive maneuvers. Drivers attempting to avoid these hazards can find themselves part of a tragic and avoidable accident.
Cargo can fall from a truck due to a failure to properly secure the freight. It can also fall off if the driver wrongly believed the vehicle could fit underneath a bridge or tunnel. This could damage the tiedowns, roof, or other material used to secure the cargo.
#2: What happens when cargo shifts within the truck?
Videos abound online showing the dangers of improper weight distribution. This is true for passenger cars towing a trailer as well as eighteen wheelers with freight. Proper weight distribution can make the difference between the ability to control the vehicle and a sudden swerve that results in a roll-over or large accident.
Proper loading is just the start. The trucking company must also take precautions to secure the freight, so it does not shift during shipment. Shifting during transit can mean these initial efforts fail and the heavier materials shift to the back of the trailer, leading to an extremely dangerous situation.