RULES AND REGULATIONS
On September 27, 2002, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published new
cargo securement rules. Motor carriers operating in interstate commerce must comply with the new requirements beginning January 1, 2004. The new rules are based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations, reflecting the results of a multi-year research program to evaluate U.S. and Canadian cargo securement regulations; the motor carrier industry's best practices; and recommendations presented during a series of public meetings involving U.S. and Canadian industry experts, Federal, State and Provincial enforcement officials, and other interested parties. The new rules require motor carriers to change the way they use cargo securement devices to prevent articles from shifting on or within, or falling from commercial motor vehicles. The changes may require motor carriers to increase the number of tiedowns used to secure certain types of cargo. However, the rule generally does not prohibit the use of tiedowns or cargo securement devices currently in use. Therefore, motor carriers are not required to purchase new cargo securement equipment or vehicles to comply with the rule. The intent of the new requirements is to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting on or within, or falling from, commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce, and to harmonize to the greatest extent practicable U.S., Canadian, and Mexican cargo securement regulations.
Applicability of the New Rules
The new cargo securement rules apply to the same types of vehicles and cargo as the old rules,
covering all cargo-carrying commercial motor vehicles (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5) operated in
interstate commerce. This includes all types of articles of cargo, except commodities in bulk that lack
structure or fixed shape (e.g., liquids, gases, grain, liquid concrete, sand, gravel, aggregates) and
are transported in a tank, hopper, box or similar device that forms part of the structure of a
commercial motor vehicle.
FMCSA has adopted new performance requirements concerning deceleration in the forward direction,
and acceleration in the rearward and lateral directions, that cargo securement systems must withstand.
Deceleration is the rate at which the speed of the vehicle decreases when the brakes are applied, and
acceleration is the rate at which the speed of the vehicle increases in the lateral direction or sideways
(while the vehicle is turning), or in the rearward direction (when the vehicle is being driven in reverse
and makes contact with a loading dock). Acceleration and deceleration values are commonly reported
as a proportion of the acceleration due to gravity (g). This acceleration is about 9.8
meters/second/second (32.2 feet/second/second), which means that the velocity of an object dropped
from a high elevation increases by approximately 9.8 meters/second (32.2 feet/second) each second it
falls. FMCSA requires that cargo securement systems be capable of withstanding the forces associated
with following three deceleration/accelerations, applied separately:
- 0.8 g deceleration in the forward direction;
- 0.5 g acceleration in the rearward direction; and
- 0.5 g acceleration in a lateral direction.
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