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What You Need to Know About Cargo Securement

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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) International Roadcheck is just around the corner. From June 6 – 8 inspectors across North America will be pulling aside commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to conduct compliance, enforcement, and educational initiatives. This year a special emphasis is being placed on cargo securement – are you prepared?

International Roadcheck 2017  

During International Roadcheck, inspectors will primarily be conducting North American Standard Level I Inspections. A Level I Inspection is an extremely comprehensive examination of both the driver and the vehicle including:


When examining the driver, inspectors will ask to see paperwork and documentation including your license, hours-of-service (HOS) records, motor carrier registration, and shipping documentation. They will also examine how the driver is operating the vehicle, noting infractions like a lack of seatbelt and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.


A Level I Inspection includes a thorough review of the commercial motor vehicle as well. Major areas of inspection include brake systems, cargo securement, driveline/drive shaft, exhaust systems, fuel systems, lighting, steering, tires, trailer body, wheels, etc.

Special Emphasis Area: Cargo Securement

Every year the CVSA announces an area of inspection that will receive special attention from inspectors. This year the focus is on cargo securement

Truck with tied down cargo

Improperly secured cargo remains one of the most common violations during roadside inspections despite how important it is to the safe operation of your CMV. Below are some materials and tips to make sure you don’t get a cargo securement violation.

Know the Cargo Securement Rules

There are a number of online resources that outline the rules when it comes to cargo securement. Check them out:

Ensure Your Load and Equipment is Secure

As a driver, you need to ensure that your load is secure before hitting the road. Start by double checking that your cargo is properly distributed and secured. Next, you’ll want to ensure these items are secured: doors, tailgate, vehicle operation equipment, and cargo securing equipment. In additional to ensuring your cargo is secure, you’ll want to watch out for the following: 

    • shutterstock_556110520.jpgObscuring your view of the front or sides of your CVM
    • Interfering with the free movement of your arms or legs
    • Preventing access to accessories required for emergencies
    • Preventing entry or exit from your vehicle

Cargo securement rules don’t just apply to cargo. They apply to all equipment on and within the vehicle as well. This includes items like blocks, chains, spare tires, tools, brooms, ratchets, and other small items we sometimes forget about! You also need to watch out for items within your trailer or van – you may need additional strapping to hold down heavier items and prevent shifting.

Watch Out for Top Violations

It’s a good idea to double check common violation areas. Inspectors will be keeping a close eye out for them because they’re easy fines to issue. These include:

  • Failure to prevent shifting/loss of load
  • Failure to secure truck equipment (tarps, dunnage, doors, tailgates, spare tires, etc.)
  • Damaged tie-downs (unacceptable wear on chain or cuts and tears on web straps)
  • Insufficient tie-downs
  • Loose tie-downs

Information on exactly what inspectors are looking for and how to prevent these violations can be found on the FMCSA site.

Avoid Costly and Deadly Issues


No one wants to get pulled over for a cargo securement issue. You could end up spilling your shipment and, depending on the severity, injuring yourself or the other people you share the road with. It happens more than we think! 

Check out our blog post for earlier this year to see the Top Spills of 2016.

How the BigRoad App Can Help

With the BigRoad Mobile App, you can easily create driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) with a few taps. Make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape by reporting issues to your dispatcher and ensuring they’re fixed before hitting the road. Start a free trial today and see how easy compliance can be with BigRoad!