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FMCSA extends exemption for securing automobiles

If you need to transport an automobile, light truck, or van as cargo, did you know you can use non-adjustable straps or chains as part of your securement system?

A special FMCSA exemption allows light-vehicle transporters to use a combination of two adjustable tiedowns and two non-adjustable tiedowns to secure the vehicles. Normally, all tiedowns except steel straps have to be adjustable by the driver, as required in 49 CFR 393.112.

The exemption has been in place since 2017 and the FMCSA just extended it another five years, until May 2027.

Two tiedowns

Under 393.128, vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less must be secured at front and rear using at least two adjustable tiedowns.

The International Institute of Towing and Recovery (IITR) asked for an exemption from that requirement because it found that having two non-adjustable tiedowns attached to the rear of the vehicle and two adjustable chains at the front provides better securement.

“As the front binder or ratchet is tightened up, it not only tightens up the front tiedown chain but the rear tiedown chain as well,” the group explained.

According to the IITR, there are currently about 35,000 towing and recovery companies in the United States operating over 75,000 car carriers.

Key to remember: The FMCSA has extended an exemption for the securement of light vehicles, to allow the use of non-adjustable tiedowns in specific circumstances.