Load restraint

If you are driving a loaded vehicle or towing a loaded trailer, you need to make sure the load is correctly restrained.

If you don't restrain a load, you may cause an accident, injury or death due to:

  • objects falling from your vehicle onto other traffic or pedestrians
  • uncovered loads falling into your vehicle cabin during emergency braking
  • loads moving, which may cause your car to roll over.

When transporting a load, please make sure you:

  • restrain the load using an appropriate restraint – webbing straps are more effective than rope
  • tie flags to the back of a load if it extends more than 1.2 metres behind a vehicle or trailer, or if the load is not easily visible to a person following behind. The flag must be bright red, red and yellow, or yellow, and at least 450 millimetres by 450 millimetres. At night, a red light or at least two red reflectors must be attached to the back of a load
  • cover garden waste with a tarpaulin (tarp)
  • restrain tall whitegoods to the headboard to make sure they don’t fall over
  • tightly pack and fill spaces between items to make sure the load does not move
  • pack small tools into a box
  • restrain large tools with straps or a cargo net
  • use rubber matting to prevent items such as pipes from slipping
  • check the load every time you add or remove an item
  • check the load and the tension of ropes and webbing shortly after starting your journey.

You must make sure your load does not:

  • protrude from your vehicle, which could injure a person, block the path of drivers or pedestrians, or damage another vehicle
  • cover number plates, lights or reflectors
  • make your vehicle unstable or unsafe
  • have heavy items piled on top of lighter items
  • sit on seats in vehicles – we recommend you use cargo barriers.

The load restraint laws apply to all vehicles, regardless of their gross vehicle mass. Consigners, loaders and receivers are responsible for ensuring they meet load restraint requirements.

If you don't secure your load properly, you may get a fine or you could be prosecuted.