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Tactics for securing a truck's cargo

As a general rule, the cargo in every truck on the road must be firmly secured so that it cannot shift or move during transportation. This can be done with bars, tiedowns, dunnage, dunnage bags and other types of devices. It's about more than just keeping the products in the truck, but about ensuring that they won't shift, causing a weight imbalance that could lead to an accident.

As noted, there are many tactics for doing this, with the most common being tiedowns. These are heavy straps that often have a ratchet system in the middle and two hooks in each end. The hooks can be inserted into anchor points in the truck, and then the strap can be ratcheted down until it is incredibly tight. This system allows for a far more secure hold than ropes.

Dunnage comes in a few different forms, but the general idea is that loose items are packed in around the cargo. This prevents it from moving by simply filling up all of the extra space so that a shift is impossible. For instance, this could be done with Styrofoam or blankets.

Another option is to use dunnage bags. Once these are in place, air is pumped into them, blowing them up like a very heavy, durable balloon. These bags are popular because they can be inflated to fit the exact amount of space in the truck, so they are versatile and can be used with multiple loads, whereas dunnage that works for one trip may be inadequate for another trip.

Knowing that these rules are in place, make sure you also examine your legal options if an improperly loaded truck in Texas causes an accident.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Cargo Securement Rules," accessed April. 24, 2015

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