173 Load Shifting

Often, when a trailer turns over on a curve, the driver blames "load shift" rather than excessive speed. "Load shift" is when the load being carried shifts position during the turn, causing the center of gravity to shift to an unfavorable position. The shifting load may even impact the wall of the trailer, which would further increase the tendency of the trailer to tip. In such cases, it is worth noting that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)

regulations, as contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, require that the load being carried be positioned in the most favorable position to minimize the center of gravity (Section 393.100). The regulations also require that the load be secured to prevent load shifting.

Because of the common use of load shifting to explain trailer turnovers on curves, the following USDOT regulation (Section 392.9) is quoted in whole:

(a) General. No person shall drive a motor vehicle and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a person to drive a motor vehicle unless — (1) The vehicle's cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured as specified in 393.100-393.106 of this subchapter.

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