Do semi-trucks have to tie down cargo in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts residents have all seen flatbed semi-truck hauling massive loads across our state, and many of us have wondered what would happen if that load was improperly or inadequately secured. No one knows for certain what would happen in any particular circumstance, but the potential for damage and injuries is great. Therefore, truck drivers and the companies for which they work need to take extra precautions to ensure that their cargo is properly secured.

Federal trucking regulations help spell out exactly how truckers and truck companies can do this in a way that ensures safety. For example, regulations state how many tie downs must be used for cargo that has certain characteristics. Articles that are five feet long or shorter and weigh less than 1,100 pounds can be secured by one tie down. Two tie downs must be used if the article is longer than five feet or weighs more than 1,100 pounds, or if the article is between five and ten feet long. In this instance, however, an additional tie down must be used for each additional 10 feet.

Tie downs do not always have to be used when hauling cargo. If the load is prevented from forward movement by a bulkhead, header board or other cargo, then tie downs do not have to be used. Though Massachusetts’ motorists might take comfort in these regulations, the scary fact of the matter is that it is left up to truckers and truck companies to abide by them, which does not always occur.

Those who have suffered injuries at the hands of trucker negligence should therefore think about what they can do, legally speaking, to make the matter as right as possible. This might mean filing a personal injury lawsuit, which could hold accountable those who caused the truck accident and deter such negligence from occurring again in the future.

Source:, “Part 393,” accessed on Sept. 19, 2015


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