Houston Texas Lawyer Blog

How Much Does a Semi-Truck Weigh?

April 9, 2020 Truck Accidents

How much does a semi-truck weigh? The answer is that it depends. There are many weight variations, depending on different things. Here are some weight examples:

  • Semi-tractors weigh up to 25,000 pounds.
  • An 18-wheeler can legally weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.
  • A semi-truck can haul up to 34,000 pounds.

How Heavy is a Semi-Tractor?

A semi-tractor is the truck part of the vehicle that contains the engine. How heavy is a semi-tractor without a trailer or trailers attached? Depending on the type of truck, it might weigh between 15,000 and 25,000 pounds. Trucks with bigger sleeper areas, larger fuel tanks, bigger engines, and more gears would be at the higher end. Contrast that weight with the average car that weighs just 4,000-5,000 pounds to get a good picture of just how heavy semi-tractors are. The engine in a semi-tractor weighs more than six times as much as the average car engine, according to The Truckers Report. Some of these truck engines weigh as much as 3,000 pounds.

How Much Does An 18-Wheeler Weigh?

The average 18-wheeler with an empty trailer weighs around 35,000 pounds. But how much does an 18-wheeler weigh when carrying freight? That depends on the kind of freight and whether it is a full or partial load. In the United States, the top allowed weight limit for 18-wheelers is 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons, according to Federal Highway Administration regulations. That limit, which was set to avoid damage to roads and bridges, includes the tractor, trailer, and cargo weight. In some cases, special permits are issued for overweight or oversized semi-truck loads.

How Much Can a Semi Haul?

How much a semi can haul depends on the type of semi-truck. There are both single- and double-axle semi-trucks. By law, single-axle semis can haul up to 20,000 pounds. A double-axle semi, also called a tandem axle, can haul up to 34,000 pounds. These limits include the freight and trailer weight combined.

What Kinds of Cargo Do Semi-Trucks Carry?

Semi-trucks carry a variety of things that must be transported. Here are just some of them:

  • Motor vehicles
  • Boats
  • Dry goods
  • Refrigerated goods
  • Construction equipment
  • Furniture
  • Building materials
  • Hazardous liquids and gases.

There are different kinds of semi-trucks for different kinds of cargo. For instance, a flatbed truck would typically haul large construction and other equipment. A tanker would carry liquids like petroleum and chemicals. Open, double-deck trailers transport new cars to market.

What Is the Stopping Distance for a Semi-Truck?

It should be no surprise that because of their larger size and heavier weight, semi-trucks take longer to stop than cars. While it might take a standard car traveling at 65 miles per hour approximately 300 feet, or the length of a single football field, to stop, it can take a fully loaded semi-truck twice that long. In poor weather conditions where there is ice, snow, or rain on the road, it can take even longer. Also, because of their heavy weight and large size, semi-trucks are not as easily maneuverable as cars. For these reasons, to avoid car accidents, it’s important that other drivers never cut in front of trucks and always give them the space they need.

How Many Semi-Trucks Are There in the Country?

The majority of goods in the U.S. are delivered by truck, making trucking a billion dollar industry. There are approximately 2,000,000 tractor-trailers in the country, and they travel more than 1,000,000,000 miles transporting goods each year. One-third of these vehicles are registered in three states: Texas, Florida, and California. At any given moment, there are tens of thousands of these big rigs on Texas roadways. And every year they are involved in thousands of crashes on our busy highways. These accidents often involve serious injuries and tragic fatalities. It’s a sad fact that Texas consistently leads the nation in fatal truck and 18-wheeler accidents.

What Causes Semi-Truck Crashes?

There are a variety of reasons for crashes involving big rigs. Other drivers on the road may be to blame. Truck driver fatigue is a serious issue as drivers may be pressured to meet tough schedules. Issues with loads can also cause crashes:

  • Loads that are not secured properly can shift and become unbalanced. Shifting loads can make the truck harder to steer and maneuver and even lead to jackknifes and rollovers. And when a truck’s cargo isn’t secured properly, there is always the chance it will become free of the trailer and spill out onto the roadway, causing mishaps.
  • Overloaded trucks carrying too much weight take longer to stop so can cause deadly rear-end collisions. Too much weight can also dangerously increase downhill speeds. Tires may blow out due to too-heavy loads and cause drivers to lose control and potentially hit other vehicles. Mechanical components can also fail when too much stress is put on them.

If you’ve been in a crash with a semi-truck, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries. The answer to that question depends on the specifics of your accident. In some cases, the truck’s driver may be at fault. Or it could be the trucking company if an improperly maintained vehicle caused the accident, for example. Sometimes other drivers on the road can be held liable. Perhaps someone dangerously cut in front of the truck and the truck swerved to avoid that vehicle and ran into you. Sometimes more than one party can be held liable. A skilled truck crash attorney can review your case and advise you.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney for Help with Your Claim

If you’ve been in a wreck with a massive 18-wheeler, you may well have experienced serious injuries and extensive property damage. Contact our experienced attorneys for help with your car accident claim. At the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant, our trucking accident lawyers have spent countless hours assisting people whose lives have been wrecked by truck accidents. We can help you too. Call our seasoned Texas truck accident law firm at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free consultation.

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