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Cargo Securement

Improperly secured cargo can cause weigh redistribution that could cause trailer sway or additional stress on the trailer and tow vehicle as well as the possibility of losing cargo on the roadway, creating a danger for other drivers.

Tips for properly securing your load

  • Ensure your tie-downs are properly rated for the load they are meant to secure.
  • Inspect all tie-downs for wear and damage, replacing when worn or damaged.
  • Make sure that your cargo does not require special precautions or securing.
  • A good rule of thumb is one tie-down is used for every ten feet of cargo, using two tide-downs to secure any piece of cargo regardless of length.
  • Cargo must be firmly immobilized and secured on or within a trailer; this include tools, equipment, chains, spare tires, etc. Large objects should be tied down directly to the trailer.
  • An enclosed trailer may not be sufficient for securing your load, additional securement is likely necessary to prevent shifting during transit.
  • Bungee cords and tarp straps must not be used as primary securement for loads or equipment.
  • Tie-downs should be secured lower on the trailer, not near the top rails.
  • Tie-downs should be attached and secured in a manner that prevents it from becoming loose, unfastening, opening or releasing while in transit.
  • Cargo straps can loosen with vibrations of the road, check early in your trip to ensure the attachments are still properly secured and regularly throughout the trip.
  • Always make sure your load is properly contained, immobilized and secured so that it cannot leak, spill, blow off, fall from, fall through or otherwise be dislodged from the trailer, or shift upon or within the trailer to so that the trailer’s stability or maneuverability is affected. Loads that shift can not only cause crashes but can also damage your trailer and towing vehicle.

Remember, you are securing the load for sudden stops and trailer sway, not just for normal driving conditions.


cargo securement for commercial loads

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published updated cargo securement rules in 2002. These rules apply to motor carriers operating in interstate commerce and are based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations. These rules can be found on the FMCSA website.

Cargo-carrying motor vehicles are defined in 49 CFR 390.5.