FMCSA finalizes tiedown rules

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has revised its regulations concerning protection against shifting and falling cargo within, on and from commercial motor vehicles to reduce accidents and harmonize regulations among North American jurisdictions. The regulations take effect Dec. 26, 2002, and carriers must ensure compliance by Jan. 1, 2004.

The new rules reflect the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations, which resulted from an evaluation of current U.S. and Canadian cargo securement regulations, industry best practices and recommendations presented during a series of public meetings.

Under the new rules, motor carriers must change the way they use cargo securement devices. In some cases, carriers may need to increase the number of tiedowns used to secure certain types of cargo. In general, however, the rule does not prohibit the use of tiedowns or cargo securement devices now in use. Carriers therefore are not required to purchase new cargo securement equipment in order to comply. Among the changes:

  • Drivers must inspect the cargo and the securement devices within the first 50 miles rather than the first 25 miles under current regulations. Research suggests that conditions requiring readjustment are more likely to occur between 25 and 50 miles than between 0 and 25 miles.
  • Motor carriers can’t use cargo securement devices that have damaged or weakened components that could adversely affect their performance. The proposed rule would have prohibited using a tiedown with any visible damage – even if there were no reason to believe it would lead to a safety problem.
  • Carriers may attach tiedowns to the upper corners of loaded intermodal containers. The proposed rule would have required that all tiedowns be attached to lower corners.
  • FMCSA adopted detailed 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.

For a copy of the final rule, visit this site and search Docket No. 2289.