As highly experienced Miami truck crash attorneys, we have learned that large truck safety involves more than obeying the speed limits. Properly securing cargo is a critical aspect of safe transport for 18-wheelers, car haulers, flatbeds, and especially oversized loads. Failing to secure loads can throw the truck off balance, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Federal regulators from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed safety regulations which dictate how cargo must be secured. The rules establish a minimum standard for safety, however, additional security measures may apply depending upon the load transported by the carrier.
The FMCSA passed the cargo securement safety rules to prevent, or limit, cargo movement in three directions. Regulators concerned themselves with forward movement when stopping, backward movement when accelerating, and sideways movement when turning. Regulators also took into account the dynamics of load shifting while backing into a cargo bay as part of their analysis. The FMCSA developed these standards from thorough research into how loads shift while accelerating, decelerating, and turning. The rules assume the truck is equipped with anti-lock brakes that the driver has properly warmed and tested before setting out on his or her journey.
The FMCSA prescribed specific requirements for the equipment used to secure the load. Additionally, the rules state that the tools used to as tie downs or other securing devices must be in good repair and good working order when used. The regulations incorporate the manufacturing specifications for the steel wrapping, webbing, ropes, chains, fasteners, and locks as the minimum safety standards for use on a commercial truck.
The appropriate method of securing the load works in conjunction with using the proper equipment. The regulations require commercial carriers to tie downs in such a fashion that prevents the load from coming loose, opening, releasing or slackening during transport. Of particular concern to the FMCSA are tiedowns becoming worn or rupturing as a result of rubbing against the rails of the truck. Therefore, the FMCSA requires truck drivers to use an anti-rubbing device called a “rub rail” to diminish the danger of tiedowns wearing thin and failing. Additionally, the trucking company must employ a device to prevent wear of the tiedown from contacting the cargo.
Federal regulators amended the rules relating to how the load must be secured upon or within the commercial vehicle. Cargo must be immobilized on or within the trailer. The rules obligate commercial truck operators to make certain the load cannot shift by using the correct tiedowns for the particular load. Commercial freight carriers must use “dunnage” additionally. Dunnage is the term given to items primarily stuffed into open spaces around and between the cargo to prevent shifting. Dunnage bags can be used instead of using scrap such as bound up shrink wrap. Other items such as chains and “shoring bars” are permissible options as well. Cargo that may roll must be secured with chocks or another item that prevents the cargo from moving. The item used to chock the wheels of the cargo must be fixed in such a fashion so that it does not move. Furthermore, the regulations compel the driver to use specific devices and techniques to secure certain types of cargo. Examples of cargo subject to specific rules are logs, pipes, vehicles, intermodal carriers, boulders, and roll-off dumpsters.
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The attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, and & Urbano have over 130 years of combined legal experience at your service. Let South Florida’s Top law firm – as voted by the Miami Herald – Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, represent you or your loved one for injuries or wrongful death caused by a trucking company’s negligence. They know Florida law and how to use it to their advantage. Call the South Florida truck crash attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano – an AV-rated firm by Martindale-Hubbell – today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation.