New requirements for cargo securement are discussed below, and, in short, they indirectly apply to manufacturers and installers of truck bodies. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Requirements apply to the motor carriers, their agents and employees that operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in interstate commerce. While the user is ultimately responsible for proper cargo securement, they look to distributors and manufacturers to supply them with vehicles capable of meeting these requirements.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule, Development of a North American Standard for Protection Against Shifting and Falling Cargo, on Sept. 27, 2002. The purpose of the final rule ?is to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting on or within, or falling from, CMVs operating in interstate commerce, and to harmonize to the greatest extent practicable U.S., Canadian, and Mexican cargo securement regulations.?
As with the current requirements for cargo securement found in Title 49 CFR Section 393.100, this new rule applies to ?trucks, truck tractors, semi-trailers, full trailers, and pole trailers.? The new requirements went into effect Dec. 26, 2002, but motor carriers have until Jan. 1, 2004, to ensure compliance.
Highlights of changes to the requirements for anchor points follow.
The current requirements including anchor points on truck bodies are found in Section 393.102(d), Attachment to the Vehicle, stating ?the hook, bolt, weld, or other connector by which a tiedown assembly is attached to a vehicle, and the mounting place and means of mounting the connector, must be at least as strong as the tiedown assembly when that connector is loaded in any direction in which the tiedown assembly may load it.?
Section 393.5 is amended to define ?anchor points? as ?part of the structure, fitting or attachment on a vehicle or article of cargo to which a tiedown is attached.?
The new requirements in Section 393.104(c), Vehicle Structures and Anchor Points, state, ?Vehicle structures, floors, walls, decks, tiedown anchor points, headerboards, bulkheads, stakes, posts and associated mounting pockets used to contain or secure articles of cargo must be strong enough to meet the performance criteria of Section 393.102, with no damaged or weakened components that will adversely affect their performance for cargo securement purposes, including reducing the working load limit, and must not have any cracks or cuts.?
The new performance criteria for cargo securement devices and systems are as follows: Section 393.102, ?(a) Performance criteria--Cargo securement devices and systems must be capable of withstanding the following three forces, applied separately: (1) 0.8 g deceleration in the forward direction; (2) 0.5 g acceleration in the rearward direction; and (3) 0.5 g acceleration in a lateral direction. (b) Performance criteria for devices to prevent vertical movement of loads that are not contained within the structure of the vehicle. Securement systems must provide a downward force equivalent to at least 20% of the weight of the article of cargo if the article is not fully contained within the structure of the vehicle. If the article is fully contained within the structure of the vehicle, it may be secured in accordance with Section 393.106 (b).?
For cargo fully contained within the structure of the vehicle, Section 393.106 (b) General--?Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage or dunnage bags, shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.?
The new rule ?does not include a requirement that anchor points be rated and marked.? In the preamble to the final rule, the FMCSA states that ?safety-conscious motor carriers and drivers could achieve compliance with the rules being adopted, and make wise choices about cargo securement devices, without the mandatory marking of anchor points.?
Please note the final rule does not prohibit using current securement methods. Users can use the same tiedown hardware, as long as it meets the performance criteria.