Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Loading Liability for the Driver, Company, and Shipper

Important points for the Motor Carrier
Know you Limits.


While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations do not specifically require the driver to physically measure the height of the load with a tape measure, the regulations and most, if not all, state laws place responsibility on the driver for the cargo in or on the trailer. Whether or not you have any doubt, ensure "your" load is within legal limits. Do not presume that if it looks safe, it is safe, and do not take the word of the shipper.

 
Know your load.
Ensure that your load is properly and legally braced, secured, and placed safely on your vehicle. Do not trust the shipper to do it. When the shipper's duty is complete, it is now your load. Ensure your load is safe and legal before you depart the facility and enter onto the highway.

Know your shipper.
Make sure the shipper does its job. The shipper may want "pass the buck", but they have a shared duty to motorists on the highway to ensure the cargo or equipment it loaded has been loaded safely and legally. Tell the shipper to fix something if you notice a potential problem or hazard with the load. Oversee the shipper's work and advise of any corrective measures are necessary. If in doubt, raise the issue, advise your dispatcher, but do not just drive away.

 

Important Points for Both the Shipper and Motor Carrier

Know that safety always comes first.
As the shipper or the carrier, if you notice something that may be dangerous, address it with the other party.

DRIVER

If the shipper ignores you, take action. Refuse the load and call your employer to explain the situation so that corrective action and appropriate permits may be obtained if necessary. However, if it involves a simple fix on your end, do it to ensure the load falls within legal limits.

SHIPPER

If the driver ignores you, take action. Prevent the driver from leaving. If it involves an illegal load that can be fixed on your end, do it - whether it involves either measuring the load or adjusting the load to ensure that it falls within legal limits.

If each party fulfills the obligations of their respective roles in a safe, reasonable, and legal manner, everyone benefits and a tragedy could be averted.



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