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Bad Equipment, Flatbed Trucking, and Cargo Control Challenges

undefinedBad Equipment Violations Are a Serious Problem for the Flatbed Trucker

Bad equipment or nonsecure cargo can be a serious problem, particularly for flatbed truckers because of the open body transport; those violations are easy to spot by law enforcement officers (LEO). What is an infraction in one state, might be a misdemeanor crime in another state. And all truckers must comply with Federal standards in the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations, especially on interstate highways.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA’s) Cargo Securement Rules specify what equipment must be on-hand and how loads must be secured. The FMCSA lists more than 360 misdemeanor trucking violations.

Cargo Control: Securing Your Load Against Shifts

It is crucial that truckers use the prescribed equipment to secure loads so that no load-shifting occurs, and no cargo falls off their commercial motor vehicle (CMV). These safety regulations also decrease instances of accidents because of incorrectly secured cargo. An essential aspect of securing the load involves factoring in braking and quick deceleration, which can compromise the load when improperly secured. Truckers and independent loaders must consider the gravitational pull on cargo during braking and in curves when loading a vehicle. Different standards exist for tankers and enclosed trailers to haul liquids, grains, sand, concrete, and gravel. Although the products are dissimilar, the standards must be met to even the load across axles and tires. Too much weight on any tire or axle can cause a blowout and a dangerous accident.

Spending the time on cargo control is one of the most important precautions to ensure not getting a ticket, especially when someone else loads your truck. Close supervision and second checks are crucial. Every load is different, so it is necessary to safeguard against bad equipment. Make sure you have the required cargo control in place before you head out on the road.

When you fail to meet FMCSA secure load requirements, or another driver failed to return a borrowed warning triangle, you’re responsible and could receive a ticket for bad equipment. Likewise, worn-out equipment, tie-downs, or other damaged equipment must get replaced promptly. Every piece of securing equipment must have functional parts and components. Bad equipment violations lead to fines if convicted, and Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) points.

Tarping Your Cargo

Putting tarps on top of the precious cargo on flatbed trucks is another essential element to help with cargo control, and to get all the cargo to its destination unharmed. When tarping cargo, as a trucker you must be aware of load-shifting under the tarp. Securing the tarp is critical as well, nothing catches LEO’s attention quicker than a flapping tarp. It’s like a matador waving their red cape at a bull.

Flatbeds and Step Deck Trucking

CHP conducts roadside inspections in CA, at what truckers sarcastically refer to as “chicken coops,” and produce many violations of cargo control and bad equipment. Many truckers need not be reminded to comply with their requests and to be polite; however, it cannot be repeated often enough to rookie CDL holders. When violations are spotted by inspectors, if it cannot be corrected immediately, the truck could receive an out-of-service (OOS) order until it gets corrected. The truckerand depending on the violation, the carrier will receive CSA points and a ticket.

A failure to secure cargo, damaged tie-downs, shifting cargo, and insufficient tie-downs are 7 or 8 severity point violations out of a possible 10. If the driver had a previous violation during the last six months, the time-weight multiple could be three times the severity points. And, violations that lead to an OOS order result in another two severity points.

Help with Flatbed Truck Traffic Tickets in Kings County

As a flatbed truck driver, the last thing you need is a traffic ticket and CSA points because of bad equipment, faulty cargo control, or other avoidable offenses. Unsecured cargo shifting because of road vibration is an issue you can avoid, so stop frequently and check the load to avoid a ticket. In the event of a ticket, always call Bigger & Harman for your free phone consult. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Hanford Courthouse in Kings County sees many truckers in and out the doors of Traffic court. Most get ticketed on I-5, one of the court’s biggest feeders, and bad equipment violations are a significant revenue source for the state when truckers are too stubborn to ask for legal representation. However, many truckers know they must challenge every traffic ticket vigorously because it is their livelihood. They contact us because we have a reputation for toughness in traffic court.

Send them an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com. Before you head out on the road, check the Bigger & Harman Facebook page for lane closures and traffic law tips. Likewise, read the feedback and comments left by our clients on Avvo and Nolo or Yelp.

References:

The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

The FMSCA Cargo Securement Rules