After nearly seven years of research and debate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a set of new cargo securement rules that could go into effect as early as this July. The proposal is open for comment until March 19.
FMCSA's proposed revisions would require motor carriers to change the way they use cargo securement devices to prevent certain articles from shifting on or within, or falling from, vehicles. In some instances carriers would be required to increase the number of tie-down devices used to secure certain types of cargo.
Here are the highlights:
Anchor points. There will be specific load ratings for anchor points depending on the type of cargo being transported, eg., steel, lumber, etc.
Tie-downs. Current requirements for aggregate load limits may be adequate for general commodities secured by transverse tie-downs, but other cargo may require a different tie-down capacity depending on the other forms of securement being used, i.e., blocking, bracing, etc.
Friction. Trailer decks and cargo-handling equipment like skids should be designed with high coefficients of friction; rubber matting is suggested as a way to achieve that. But friction should never be the sole means of cargo securement.
Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted electronically at dms.dot.gov ; or via mail to the U.S. DOT/Dockets Management Facility, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., Washington, D.C. 20590-0001. Note the docket number on your comments: FMCSA-97-2289.