In 2011, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspectors conducted about 2 million vehicle inspections. In the cargo securement sphere, the most common violations found during roadside inspections were "failure to prevent shifting cargo" (16,345) and "leaking/spilling/blowing/falling cargo" (10,872).

Will Schaefer, director of vehicle programs at CVSA, describes these violations as less the teachable variety and more the common-sense variety.

"Those two cover a multitude of sins," he says. "They are easy for an inspector to spot, and while the officer could get specific about a citation, failure to prevent shifting cargo generally implies the driver hasn't taken all the steps necessary to properly secure an article of cargo. The other is often related to loose material on the deck of a trailer or cargo box, or material blowing out of the top of a dump box with poor tarps."

Getting down to specifics, Schaefer says the following cargo securement violations topped the list in 2011. You'll notice that five out of the 12 are related to the cargo securement devices and tie-down assemblies themselves. It's likely that several others are related to damage-related downgrades of the devices or underrated devices.

While additional driver training in cargo securement practices could never be considered a bad investment, perhaps the best return would come from very close and regular inspections of the fleet's tie-down equipment.

1) 393.104(b) Damaged securement systems (13,151*)
2) 393.104(f)(3) Loose/unfastened tie-downs (8,036)
3) 393.130 Improper securement of heavy equipment (6,664)
4) 393.134(b)(3) and 393.126 (combined) Marine containers: Rear of container not properly secured, and fail to ensure intermodal container secured (3,200)
5) 393.110 Fail to meet minimum tie-down requirements (2,531)

* number of citations issued in 2011

Click here to read more about CSA cargo securement regulations.
About the author
Jim Park

Jim Park

Equipment Editor

A truck driver and owner-operator for 20 years before becoming a trucking journalist, Jim Park maintains his commercial driver’s license and brings a real-world perspective to Test Drives, as well as to features about equipment spec’ing and trends, maintenance and drivers. His On the Spot videos bring a new dimension to his trucking reporting. And he's the primary host of the HDT Talks Trucking videocast/podcast.

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