Insurance, fuel, preventive maintenance and repairs are generally accepted as standard operating costs for fleets... but what about avoidable violations like unsecured load fines? Most fleet managers agree that vehicle issued violations present a costly, burdensome, problem that use valuable resources and are avoidable.

In today’s company culture of pro-safety, violation-related issues are becoming a more visible discussion topic in the fleet world. Unsecured load violations are on the rise, driven in large part by the Department of Transportation (DOT). This overview seeks to provide fleet managers with an understanding of the trends in unsecured load related traffic violations, as well as opportunities for saving money and reducing risk in dealing with these violations.

Proper load securement is essential to work truck fleets. The same rules apply to pickup trucks and utility trucks that carry a DOT number as to commercial shipping trucks. The DOT requires all cargo to be secured to prevent it from falling from the vehicle and causing accidents, injuries or fatalities. Loads are subject to many forces: speed & braking, cornering, and even wind. Anything that falls out presents a significant hazard to other vehicles on the road. This is especially dangerous to motorcycles

Below is a chart showing the most common cargo-related violations issued to fleet vehicles. Violations due to cargo securement are severe and nearly always end up in Out of Service (OOS) violations. OOS violations are hugely inconvenient and disrupt operations down the line. They cost $861 dollars on average, excluding the cost of the fines or repairs.

top 10 cargo securement violations 2013


Source: J.J. Keller and Associates, 2013
DOT Crackdown

The Department of Transportation is cracking down on commercial fleet vehicles and focusing on violations such as cargo securement.

Driver Penalties
Minimum civil penalty assessments for drivers have increased in recent years. Under previous rules, OOS violations carried a minimum civil penalty of $1,000 for a first and second conviction. That amount has been increased to a minimum penalty for the first and second convictions to $2,500 and $5,000, respectively.
Employer Penalties

Maximum civil penalty assessments for employers has also been increased. Under the previous rule, an employer that knowingly allowed or required an employee to operate a commercial vehicle in violation of an OOS order was liable for a civil penalty of no more than $10,000. The new rule increases the maximum civil penalty assessment to $25,000.