The Australian Load Restraint Guide (ALRG) is a comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of load restraint. It is a mandatory requirement for all drivers and operators of heavy vehicles in Australia. 

The ALRG covers everything from the types of load restraint devices that are available to how to use them properly. It also includes information on the legal requirements for load restraint, as well as general advice on safe driving practices. 

The purpose of the guide is to provide drivers and operators with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and legally restrain loads on their vehicles. 

A quick history of the Australian load restraint guide:

The first version of the ALRG was released in 1992 by the Road Transport Industry Training Council (RTIC). At that time, it was known as the “Load Restraint Handbook”. In 2000, this handbook was expanded into its current format: 

The Australian Load Restraint Guide. This manual was updated again in 2009 to reflect changes in technology and industry practice; however, there have been no further revisions since then.

Why is load restraint important?

The ALRG states that “incorrectly restraining or unsecured loads can cause serious damage to other vehicles, property and people”. There are many reasons why it is important for car owners to ensure their car’s load is properly restrained:

  1. Improperly secured items can fly off during travel because they are not properly strapped down or secured inside your vehicle. If this happens during rush hour traffic on freeways, it could cause accidents involving other motorists or pedestrians;
  2. Unsecured objects can hit other cars and cause damage to the paintwork or body of the vehicle;
  3. Items that are not properly secured can fall onto the road and cause an accident if another vehicle hits them;
  4. In some cases, improperly secured items may break free from your car while driving, causing damage to your car’s interior due to sharp edges or points striking the interior of your vehicle;
  5. Unsecured items such as building materials may puncture your tires when driving over speed bumps or potholes in the road.

What are the legal requirements for load restraint in Australia?

The legal requirements for cargo load restraint vary depending on what type of vehicle you are operating, where you are driving and who is riding with you in the cabin or trailer part of your vehicle. In general, though, there are three main types of loads that must be restrained by law:

  • Loads that extend beyond either side of your vehicle;
  • Loads that extend beyond any part of your motor vehicle other than its coupling system (meaning things like trailers);
  • Loads that extend beyond the width of a trailer or tow bar;
  • Loads that could cause injury or damage to people or property if they become dislodged from your vehicle and fall onto another vehicle or pedestrian; and
  • Other loads that may not be required by law but should be restrained for safety reasons (e.g. hay bales).

Principles of load restraint:

The ALRG states that there are four main principles that apply to all loads:

  1. A vehicle’s payload should not exceed its GVM;
  2. A vehicle should not be loaded beyond its permissible axle loads;
  3. All combinations must be stable under normal operating conditions; and,
  4. The weight distribution should be balanced across axles so that no single axle exceeds its design limit capacity.

Safety tips for restraining loads:

  • Always wear your seatbelt when driving or travelling in a vehicle with an unrestrained load.
  • Make sure that the load is secured with enough lashings so that it doesn’t move around in transit or while you’re driving.
  • If you’re carrying any cargo that could pose a fire risk (e.g., flammable liquids), make sure they’re stored safely away from sparks or heat sources such as exhaust pipes, hot exhaust pipes, engine blocks etc.

The Australian Load Restraint Guide is a comprehensive guide that one should know prior to starting a career as a driver or an operator of heavy vehicles in Australia.