Securing and Transporting Loads

Road freight is extremely prevalent on South African roads. To ensure the safety of the freight operator and other drivers on the road, it is important to ensure loads are secured safely and legally.

Accordning to Arrive Alive, the only specific provision in the National Road Traffic Act is regulation 246. Section 49 makes it the responsibility of the operator to ensure he conducts his business safely.

Manner in which goods to be carried

Reg 246. No person shall operate on a public road a motor vehicle carrying any goods-

  1. in such a manner as to come into contact with the surface of the public road on which the vehicle is being operated but a chain, known as a “static chain”, may be carried in contact with the surface of such road;
  2. in such a manner as to obscure the driver’s view of traffic to the front or on either side, or his or her view in the rear-view mirror or mirrors of traffic to the rear;
  3. which are not-
    1. safely contained within the body of such vehicle; or
    2. securely fastened to such vehicle, and which are not properly protected from being dislodged or spilled from such vehicle;
  4. on the roof thereof, in the case where such vehicle is a motorcar, if the height of such goods measured from the highest point of such roof exceeds one-half of the height of the motor car, measured from ground level: Provided that the provisions of this paragraph shall not be applicable in respect of pedal cycles being transported on the roof of a motor vehicle; or
  5. in any container, which has provision for fastening by means of “twist locks”, unless such container is securely fastened by at least four “twist locks” and the provision of this paragraph are also applicable to empty containers carried on a motor vehicle, but two “twist locks” may be used to fasten a container which, measured parallel to the length of the vehicle, is at least one comma five metre in length and less than three metres in length.

Sec 49. Duties of operator

The operator of a motor vehicle shall-

  1. notify the registering authority concerned within seven days of any change in the circumstances in relation to his or her registration as the operator of such vehicle and return the operator card in respect of that motor vehicle to that registering authority;
  2. keep safe and protect from theft an operator card issued to him or her and, if any such card is lost, stolen or destroyed, he or she shall notify the nearest police station within 24 hours and the registering authority within whose area the holder is ordinarily resident within seven days after having become aware of such loss, theft or destruction or after it could reasonably be expected that he or she should have been aware of such loss, theft or destruction, whichever event occurred first;
  3. exercise proper control over the driver of such motor vehicle to ensure the compliance by such driver with all the relevant provisions of this Act, in particular the provisions regarding-
    1. the requirements in respect of the professional driving permit referred to in section 32; and
    2. the loading of such vehicle as prescribed by or under this Act;
  4. ensure that such motor vehicle complies with the fitness requirements contemplated in Chapter V;
  5. conduct his or her operations with due care to the safety of the public;
  6. if dangerous goods or substances are conveyed, ensure that all requirements for the conveyance of such goods or substances, as prescribed in-
    1. any other law in relation to such goods or substances; and
    2. this Act, are complied with; and
  7. take all reasonable measures to ensure that such motor vehicle is operated on a public road in compliance with the provisions for the loading and transportation of goods as prescribed by or under this Act.

The Safety Service Company have some great tips to ensure safety when load, securing, transporting and unloading  loads.


1.  Loading areas should always have good lighting. They should also be away from both vehicles and pedestrians.

2.  Loading areas should be firm, flat and free from potholes and other obstructions that may cause slips or trips.

3.  Inspect the vehicle and make sure that horns, reflectors, lights and other safety features are in good condition.

4.  Provide guards for dangerous parts of the vehicle such as chain drives, power take-off and exposed exhaust pipes.

5.  Before loading transport, ensure that the vehicle is braked and stabilized.

6.  Clean off first any junk or loose materials (crates, cables, wires, chains, and bins) in the vehicle before loading tools or equipment.

7.  A rule of thumb when securing cargo in the vehicle: one tie-down must be used for every ten feet of cargo. Make sure, though, to use at least two tie-downs for any cargo regardless of its length.

8.  Use a red flag to mark loads that extend more than three feet beyond the body of the vehicle. When transporting cargo at night, use a red light instead.

9.  Use at least 4 binders for loads like pipes and logs that are 27 feet long. Ensure that the spacing between binders is equal.

10.  Never load unsecured items on the backseat or rear window deck of the vehicle. This can cause the load to hit passengers or the driver when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop.

11.  As much as possible, use a compartment or tool box to keep small items secure in a vehicle. If this is not feasible, use a tarp to cover the small items, making sure that it is securely tied down with ropes or straps.

12.  When on the road, stop frequently to check your cargo. This is all the more necessary when travelling long distances.