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Travels of a Trucker Cargo Securement

February 1, 2012

I was out in Chilliwack yesterday on one of my longer shifts having worked 15.25 hours. It was a long day which of course didn;t include my travel time to and from work nor did it include the time spent after work. However, I stopped in Chilliwack for fuel and what I saw completely amazed me. Now being a flatdecker myself (not right at the moment), but previously, I have much experience when it comes to the securement of various loads which have been long, wide, over height and heavy. I have a good knowledge and understanding of the laws and the way to tie down loads and traditionally I am someone who will go above and beyond the required regulations not so much as to appease the Scale for the extra window dressing, but because I have some gnawing fear that my load may one day come unglued from my trailer and wind up across the road or worse on top of someone who had been driving beside me.

So anyways, I saw this truck and trailer at the fuel pumps beside me and I was amazed. Obviously the guy had not been through the scales or he would not be here with me getting his fuel. He would be parked and re tying down this load. His belts were hanging off the tires, the vehicle was only being tied at the middle portion and spanned across the deck from rub rail to rub rail. Now under the law, a minimum of two tie downs is required for the transport of a light vehicle. However, the tie down must prevent movement of the following rearwards, forward, sideways and vertical. Now the way he had done it was definitely going to prevent vertical movement since he most likely tied it to the transmission differential housing underneath, but the problem is it would not stop the vehicle from a sideways shift nor would it stop the vehicle from rearwards or forward movement. Why you ask? Well synthetic webbing has a certain resistance factor when pressure is applied to downwards force to prevent cargo from shifting and vertical. However, on a vehicle where the webbing is tied, you can not get enough force to apply the proper pressure if the webbing has been tied around something. The natural law of order would of course #1 be that it may feel tight because you cannot move it anymore, put you are just putting stress on the part at which it is tied down to and of course until you hit that first bump and the load shifts and becomes loose is when you realize that you may not have tied it down properly in the first place. As the more you tighten, the object will pull over time to the center of the load’s pulling point. Meaning if you tied this load down and the conch is on the right, the natural pull will be to the right. It is just physics. However compound this with a load that cannot be fully tied down since you have it wound around an object and it is compounded since the force of the object is not centered but rather pulled. Hopefully you understand what I mean by this.

You will get a clearer understanding of what I mean when you see the first picture. I am sure when he loaded these vehicles, his belts were probably tight in his eyes and as he rolled and arrived at the fueling station, his cargo had shifted towards the natural pull of the belt which loosened his webbing that was surrounding the wheels. Of course he could keep retying this load, but the vehicle over time would keep going closer to the edge of the deck he had it tied down to. Of course it would take a long time to do that since it may have moved less than a centimeter and to the driver it wouldn’t have been noticeable. But, in physics this is a lifetime of suffering to someone if this vehicle had a centimeter of pull on a sudden stop and went crashing off the deck or went through his cab as the belts break from the excess movement. Remember, even a centimeter of movement for an object that weighs four thousand to five thousand pounds would have a lot of force on that belt. It may take a few sudden stops, but each sudden stop puts more stress and pulls on that belt even more giving it all the looseness it needs to cause a disaster.

As you can clearly see in this picture, the belt has become loose on the tire. Therefore, only the middle belt holding the vehicle down is preventing vertical movement. There is nothing preventing sidewards movement. If that belt is only pressing down then there is also nothing preventing forward or rearward movement.

Again in the picture below and notice the placement and natural pull on the belt. The natural pull on the belt is to the rear!! There is nothing behind this vehicle now to prevent rearward movement.

There is also nothing to prevent the rear of the vehicle from bouncing left or right.  Just the belt holding it down vertically, but pulled to the rear!! Just imagine now the vehicle keeps sliding back on every bump and it lines itself up dead even with the center of pull…and then imagine a sudden stopping scenario. Disaster!

The correct way this should have been tied down is one of three situations. A special synthetic web that covers the tire which enables tie down at each tire location (utilizing a 2 point tie down)

Here is an example

or a special tie down cinch & hook which hook on to the undercarriage of the vehicle through each axle

and/or a 4 point chain tie down which contacts with each axle assembly.

This is a 4 point chain tie down. Notice in the top minivan there is 2 chains holding the rear of the vehicle. There is another 2 which you cannot see which have been hooked on before lower cars are loaded.

This is a 4 point tie down.

anyways, you get the picture. The scenario I described was real, the tie downs were wrong.  You can also find the information here:

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