Dump Truck Tarp Regulations by State

Dump truck drivers need to move their loads in ways that do not affect the environment. States have created different regulations about how dump trucks should carry their loads. One of these laws concerns the use of a tarp. Some states require that you always have a tarp on for specified material whereas others do not require one at all. However, even states with no tarping laws still require that the load in the dump truck does not disperse along the way. Here is all you need to know about tarping regulations.

Reasons Why Dump Truck Tarping Is Important

While other trucks may not need to cover their loads as long as they secure them, dump trucks carry materials such as stones, sand, gravel, or waste. So, dump trucks have more of a need to carefully tarp their loads.

Tarping regulations were created to ensure:

  • Road Safety: Loose materials can fall from the back of a dump truck with no tarp, which can pose a hazard to other motorists. Small pieces of gravel and stones hurled from the back of a dump truck have enough force to break a windshield. The dust from the truck can also block the vision of other motorists, leading to accidents.
  • Environmental Safety: Dump trucks also carry commercial waste from facilities. If this waste were to fall off the truck, it could cause irreparable damage to the environment and the flora and fauna inhabiting it.
  • Road Surface Protection: Some materials, such as stones, are not risks to the environment, but they significantly damage roadways. For instance, tar and asphalt can adhere to the surface of the road and create uneven pavement that can cause accidents during inclement weather.

Violation of tarping regulations can result in severe penalties. For instance, in Arizona, truck drivers have to use tarps for loads that cannot be contained using chains or in any other way. The tarp needs to be secured tightly to ensure that it does not come loose. Violators will pay up to a $300 fine for violations that do not result in damages and up to $1,000 for every offense for violations that result in property damage, death, or injuries.

How Do Dump Truck Drivers Use Tarps?

A tarpaulin, or a tarp, is a large sheet that covers a truck’s load. Drivers use chains, tie-downs, and straps to hold the tarp down. If you use a flatbed dump truck, the tarpaulin is a form of containment for the loose material you carry. However, you also need a tarp for freight loads if you drive an open-top trailer or dump truck. To ensure you are on the right side of the law, you need to understand tarping laws in your state.

States with No Dump Truck Tarping Laws

Despite valid reasons for mandating truck tarping laws, some states still do not require dump truck tarping. These states include:

  • Arkansas

  • Alabama

  • Delaware

  • Indiana

  • Illinois

  • Louisiana

  • New Jersey

  • Maine

  • Oregon

  • Wyoming

  • Wisconsin

Although there are no regulations that require tarping in these states, dump truck drivers still need to ensure that loose materials don’t fall out on the way to their destination. Here are some regulations that govern the transportation of loose material in the states above:

  • In Arkansas, drivers need to cover gravel, rock, and sand during transportation.

  • In Delaware, drivers are responsible for ensuring that no loose material falls off the truck during transportation. Drivers can pay a fine of up to $100 for any loose material that falls from the truck.

  • In Maine, dump truck drivers have to ensure no load falls from the back of their trucks. Drivers can pay fines of up to $500 for failing to secure loads at the back of the truck. However, the rule only mentions materials, such as logs, firewood, and cornstalks without the mention of waste materials.

  • In Oregon, drivers have to secure sand and gravel so that they do not leak. Leaking such material is considered a class B traffic offense, and it damages the driver’s driving record.

  • Wyoming only requires that drivers secure their loads from spilling, but there are no penalties for violation of this rule.

  • In New Hampshire and Connecticut, drivers do not need to tarp their trucks as long as they drive cautiously without spilling any loose material. This rule, however, was created for agricultural trucks.

States With Strict Dump Truck Tarping Laws

Some states have strict regulations about dump truck spills. These states may not require tarping, but spilling loose material from a dump truck can lead to hefty fines.

California, Illinois, Hawaii, and Indiana have strict rules about spills and leaks from trucks. Drivers whose loads leak or spill or whose loads impede traffic will face penalties. In Pennsylvania, for example, drivers have to clean up any spillage from their loads, while in Washington, D.C., truck drivers who fail to secure their cargo loads can be charged with a gross misdemeanor.

Even if your state does not have tarping regulations, you still have to tarp your truck as federal regulations require that you do. According to the regulations set by the FMCSA, securement systems such as tie-downs and tarps are necessary whenever drivers feel there is a need to protect the loads they carry. Drivers need to follow federal laws above state laws.


To be on the safe side of the law, secure your load with a tarp whether your state requires it or not. Using a tarp will keep you and other drivers on the road safe and will also help you drive without any worry.