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Cargo Securement Rules Take Effect

With new security rules and hours-of-service regulations taking effect, it would be easy to overlook new standards for securing cargo against shifting and falling from commercial motor vehicles. The changes to 49 CFR Parts 392 and 393 affect commercial vehicles in interstate commerce and are based on a multi-year effort to examine U.S. and Canadian cargo securement regulations and industry best practices. The resulting regulations are being used to harmonize rules and practices between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. In some cases, motor carriers could be required to use more tie-down devices to secure loads from leaking, spilling, blowing or falling from a commercial vehicle. The rule establishes new performance standards that apply to cargo securement systems used in transporting general freight and loads that require specialized or unique methods.

The cargo securement rules are applicable to all commercial motor vehicles (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5). FMCSA did not grant exceptions to vehicles with gross vehicle weights below 26,000 lbs. despite various comments submitted during the comment period. In a further clarification, FMCSA said there was no need to include a reference to hazardous materials transportation regulations and that compliance with both sets of regulations (securement rules and separate HAZMAT rules) was required where applicable. The rules are performance based, and, therefore, do not add requirements for tie downs on loads that are secured by proper loading patterns in a van-type trailer. Though there is not specific timeframe for periodic inspection, drivers are required to inspect cargo securement systems to ensure the loads remain secure.

Some commodities have specific securement standards. These include intermodal containers, cars, light trucks and vans, logs, dressed lumber, metal coils, paper rolls, heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery, flattened or crushed cars, roll-on/roll-off containers, and large boulders.

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