Truck Cargo Spills

Truck cargo spills are a potentially serious roadway hazard. A cargo spill on the Trenton Freeway can harm or kill truckers, other drivers, pedestrians, and more. Traffic problems can last for hours as roadway crews clean up and remove the spill. The truck itself can be damaged, collide with other vehicles or objects, or turn over.

Federal Truck Regulations

Proper loading and securing of cargo can help prevent truck cargo spills and accidents. In an effort to reduce the likelihood of such incidents, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established regulations and standards for safety for the trucking industry.

The FMCSA regulates and enforces the proper tie-down and securing of loads to reduce the risk of cargo spillage, leaking or falling debris from trucks. Weight limits are enforced to reduce the possibility of weight shifts that could cause a truck to lose control or rollover.

The rules that affect the trucking industry and keep roadways safer by enforcing tie-down procedures, weight limits for cargo loads and guidelines and special permits for hazardous cargo are based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations.

These regulations were established after a multi-year research program that included data on best practices in the motor carrier industry, securement procedures in the United States and Canada, and recommendations from industry experts. The regulations are intended to require motor carrier companies use safe securement and transport practices and allow highway patrols to enforce safety laws.

Weigh stations positioned throughout the national highway system are in place to identify over-loaded carriers and allow for inspections by highway patrol.

New Jersey Regulations to Prevent Truck Cargo Spills

Each state also enforces regulations for cargo transportation, and the Department of Transportation in New Jersey is no exception.

For example, to keep roadways safe and reduce risk of truck cargo spills, New Jersey law (NJSA 39:4-77) requires that any cargo load that poses the risk of dispersing onto the street or that extends beyond the height of the rear body of the vehicle, the tailgate or the sides of the carrier must be completely covered by a secured tarpaulin. New Jersey highway patrol enforces weight limits and other tie-down regulations as well.

Who is responsible for truck cargo spills?

Truck drivers are trained to understand the safe and legal transport of cargo in order to prevent truck cargo spills.

  • inspecting the load.
  • evaluating the weight distribution to avoid cargo shifting.
  • and, ensuring that proper tie-down methods have been incorporated.


This inspection must be conducted prior to embarking on a transport and must be conducted at regular, mandated intervals throughout the duration of a trip.

When a spillage accident occurs, the truck driver and by extension the trucking company could be at fault and responsible for all damages related to the spill. In some cases, the trucking company is directly responsible for failing to use proper cargo securement practices. In some cases, other parties may be liable for a cargo spill.

What if I’ve been involved in a truck cargo spill accident?

If affected by a truck cargo spill in Trenton, you may need to speak to an attorney familiar with trucking accident cases. In serious accidents such as these, innocent people can be hurt, disabled or killed and many individuals may experience property damage costs and repairs. Cordisco & Saile LLC is available to help you in this type of situation. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a free consultation.