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Why do I need a Cargo Barrier?

Author: Milford   Date Posted:27 October 2023 

Why do I need a Cargo Barrier? main image Why do I need a Cargo Barrier? image

The New Year offers plenty in the way of opportunity and enjoyment. That new job, the start of school, relocation across town or interstate, even that long planned for family holiday. More often than not these activities involve the use of a car well beyond the daily commute!

When we start thinking about our vehicle it’s easy to focus on style, comfort, performance & economy. Then there’s also things like on / off-road capability and safety. Of course, you trust that your car is safe – as long as it’s got a 5-star crash rating, equipped with all the airbags, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), stability control (ESC) and pretensioner seat belts – what more do I need? The latest safety features that are hard to do without also include the likes of adaptive cruise control (ACC), automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning / lane keep, blind spot detection & a rear-view camera.

So, your car’s loaded with all the best passive and active safety equipment - what else could you possibly need? What about protection from behind? In the case of an accident or heavy braking, cargo can be sent flying and this very same cargo can seriously injure or even kill! OK but your car’s probably even got a rear seat tested to comply with the statutory seat back strength requirements! That’s good but it’s worth keeping in mind that the rated test standard for these seats is often well short of real-world, load carrying requirements. Especially when you consider how much gear can be packed into a modern SUV or passenger wagon. ECE 17 and the equivalent ADR / FMVSS tests highlight that there can be a very large difference between the test procedure on the strength of a seat back and what may actually be experienced in an actual accident. This is especially worth thinking about the next time you’re carrying luggage to the airport, loading those power tools into the car, filling the boot area with your valuable purchases from the likes of Bunnings or Ikea or just loading above the height of the rear seat! These sorts of loads and crash pulses equivalent to serious injury accidents indicate that seat back designs may actually allow occupants to experience excessive, injury creating impact forces from luggage in the boot.

The reality is that unrestrained loads have resulted in the death and injury of many people - some of the objects that have become deadly missiles in real accidents include:

• A 2kg pot of honey
• A 25kg bag of rice
• Computer equipment
• A Circular saw

Luckily the fatalities are few, but there are near misses daily! Objects do not need to be large to be hazardous as rapid deceleration may increase the effective mass of an object by up to 20 times its actual weight or more!
The table below shows the indicative collision mass of everyday items in the event of a 48kph frontal impact crash. A suitcase weighing the airline limit of 20kg, hard up against the seat, would strike the back of the seat with the force of a large motorcycle!


Static Mass

Collision Mass

Gas Bottle



Tool Box









Managing occupant safety in a light commercial van or off-road vehicle can be especially difficult as tools of trade and variable loads combine to present a serious risk. In the event of rapid deceleration, you need to be securely protected from these potentially dangerous loads by a correctly designed, tested and rated Cargo Barrier. The bottom line is that if you carry cargo in your vehicle, you really have a responsibility to ensure that this cargo is safely restrained. Like the compressor example above the AS/NZS 4034.1 Cargo Barrier Standard uses a single mass of 60kg located against the Cargo Barrier with a vehicle crash speed (delta V) of 48kph. A correctly engineered Cargo Barrier tested and manufactured in accordance with this standard and OE level certification such as TS16949 is the best possible protection you can experience.

Some tips when you next need to carry extra load

  • place heavy luggage on the boot floor, as close as possible / hard up against the backrest;
  • tie down load and luggage with strong straps or ropes to keep the luggage in place during an accident.
  • engage the rear seat belts when there are no rear passengers, as they may help to keep the backrest in place and protect the driver and front seat passenger.
  • for the best possible protection use a Cargo Barrier that is designed, tested, rated and manufactured in accordance with AS4034 and TS16949

Finally, Milford Cargo Barriers are designed, tested and manufactured right here in Australia to provide the ultimate protection from potential disaster in the most demanding driving conditions! Millions of kilometers in actual on and off-road experience across the globe mean that our Cargo Barriers have evolved to offer the ultimate in performance and organised load restraint. Our files are full of life saving testimonials from those that have experienced the life-saving benefit of a Milford Cargo Barrier! With the widest range of Cargo Barriers to suit all manner of vehicles & with the added assurance that only comes with an exclusive Lifetime Warranty - you can be sure that we’re behind you all the way!

Comments (2)

Answer Fitting a Cargo Barrier

By: on 12 August 2022
Hi Gary! All Milford cargo barriers are designed specifically with the intended vehicle in mind. Accordingly, each cargo barrier utilises specific mounting solutions which are exclusive to that model vehicle. There are no universal fastening systems for certified cargo barriers.

Fitting a cargo barrier

By: on 30 July 2021
Are there any particular way you have to bolt it to the inside of the car

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