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Driver's Handbook on Cargo Securement - Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Cargo Securement

Fundamentals of Cargo Securement

Guiding Principle of Cargo Securement


Cargo being transported on the highway must remain secured on or within the transporting vehicle.


The cargo must remain secured on or in the transporting vehicle:

Under all conditions that could reasonably be expected to occur in normal driving.
When a driver is responding in all emergency situations, EXCEPT when there is a crash.


A truck with cargo on its side.

An improperly secured load can result in:

  • Loss of life
  • Loss of load
  • Damage to the cargo
  • Damage to the vehicle
  • A crash
  • Issuance of citations/fines to driver/carrier
  • The vehicle being placed Out-of-Service.

North American Cargo Securement Standard

What does the Standard cover? (Section 1.1)


  • Commercial vehicles (including a combination of vehicles) that are operated on a highway and have a gross vehicle rating over 4,500 kg (10,000 lb.)

A truck with cargo secured

Gross Vehicle Rating = Greater Than 4,500 kg (10, 000 lb.)


  • Any cargo and dangerous goods/hazardous materials, including:
    • All general freight.
    • All equipment carried for vehicle operation.
    • Intermodal containers and their contents.
  • Some specific commodities have additional or different securement requirements (see later sections of this Handbook).
  • Additional requirements under separate regulations may also apply for transportation of certain types of dangerous goods or hazardous materials.

Note: It is assumed that heavy loads carried under special permits would be subject to securement standards contained in the special permit, which may differ from the North American Cargo Securement Standard. Check with your Federal, Provincial, or State government for any permit requirements.

What does the Standard require of the driver and carrier? (Section 2.3)

The following conditions must exist before a driver can operate a commercial motor vehicle and a carrier can require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

  • The commercial motor vehicle's cargo must be properly distributed and adequately secured.
  • The commercial motor vehicle's structure and equipment must be secured:
    • Tailgate
    • Doors
    • Tarpaulins
    • Spare tire
    • Other equipment used in the vehicle's operation
    • Cargo securing equipment.
  • The cargo or any other object must not:
    • Obscure the driver's view ahead or to the right or left sides (except for drivers of self-steer dollies).
    • Interfere with the free movement of the driver's arms or legs.
    • Prevent the driver's free and ready access to accessories required for emergencies. OR
    • Prevent the free and ready exit of any person from the commercial motor vehicle's cab or driver's compartment.

Note: Inspections are addressed in a separate section. See page 31

What does the Standard require of the cargo? (Section 1.2)

Securement Options
All cargo must be contained, immobilized, or secured.

How Well Must Cargo be Secured?

So that it does not:

  • Leak
  • Spill
  • Blow off the vehicle
  • Fall from the vehicle
  • Fall through the vehicle
  • Otherwise become dislodged from the vehicle
  • Shift upon or within the vehicle to such an extent that the vehicle's stability or maneuverability is adversely affected.

A truck with cargo tipping but not falling over

No rolling, tipping, sliding, or falling from vehicle.

Note: There can be some movement if it doesn't reduce the effectiveness of the securement system.

How well must the securement system work? (Section 1.3)

Each cargo securement system must be able to withstand a minimum amount of force in each direction.

  • Forward Force = 80% of cargo weight when braking while driving straight ahead.
  • Rearward Force = 50% of cargo weight when accelerating, shifting gears while climbing a hill, or braking in reverse.
  • Sideways Force = 50% of cargo weight when turning, changing lanes, or braking while turning.
  • Upward Force = 20% of cargo weight when traveling over bumps in the road or cresting a hill.
    • This requirement is satisfied when the cargo is "Fully Contained."

Illustration of a truck with weights

Updated: Thursday, December 18, 2014
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