Nothing is worse for a car driver then to be following behind a dump truck only to become a victim of a piece of gravel or stone flying off the top. Even such small projectiles can shatter windshields at high speeds. As a dump truck operator, the best way to prevent your load from damaging other vehicles is to cover it with a tarp.
Why would a driver not cover a dump truck load with a tarp? Some may choose not to tarp because they do not want to put the extra money into it. Others don’t want to take the time to secure the tarp before hitting the road. However, not tarping a dump truck load puts other drivers at risk. Moreover, in so doing, the driver is putting him or herself and/or their company at risk of liability. The risk is not worth taking. Dump truck tarps offer a lot of protection compared to the investment of money and time they require.
Different State Laws
A big question with dump truck tarps relates to individual state laws. Some states require all dump truck loads to be tarped prior to transport. Others, such as Wisconsin for example, do not. Nevertheless, even states that don’t require tarping do require loads to be secure throughout transport. Wisconsin Statute 348.10 (2) specifically says:
“No person shall operate a vehicle on a highway unless such vehicle is so constructed and loaded as to prevent its contents from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom.”
A Wisconsin law enforcement officer witnessing a violation can issue a ticket that could result in several hundred dollars in penalties. The vehicle could also be taken out of service until the load is properly secured. Even just one hour lost could mean a substantial financial loss in addition to any fines that have to be paid.
The other obvious issue with dump trucks and tarps is one of liability. Although such accidents are rare, it is entirely possible for debris coming loose from a dump truck load to cause an accident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. Does the trucking company really want to face the liability of such accidents in exchange for not spending a little bit of money on dump truck tarps? Probably not. Tarps and tarping systems are fairly inexpensive when compared to the types of damages normally awarded in liability cases.
Easy to Use
From a driver’s perspective, there really is no viable reason not to use dump truck tarps. They are incredibly easy to apply as compared to their flatbed counterparts. The advantage here is that dump trucks are basically large containers on wheels used to carry loose materials. All that is needed is a single tarp to cover the top of the container.
To make tarping as easy as possible, the modern dump truck is fitted with a steel or aluminum frame and roll system that makes tarping almost completely effortless. Sometimes the system is operated manually, other times it can be connected to an electric motor. The driver simply moves the tarp frame back on its pivot point while the tarp unrolls automatically across the top of the load. Lock the frame in place and the job is done. Retracting the tarp is equally easy. Move the frame forward and tarp will roll up on its own.
If you operate a dump truck, remember that dump truck tarps are a good idea even if the law does not require them. Protect yourself and other drivers on the road by investing in a high-quality tarping system.