How Much Does a Semi-truck Weigh?

How Much Does a Semi-truck Weigh

In the past few decades, goods transport has started to heavily rely on trucks, making it a billion-dollar industry.

According to a closer approximation, more than 2 million trailer trucks alone in the United States of America.

These travel over 1,000,000,000 miles to transport goods between various states of the USA, especially in Texas, California, and Florida.

These might-sized trucks met various accidents throughout the year. According to recent stats by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety;

  • 4119 People died in Large Truck Accidents in 2019
  • Out of which, 67 percent were car and other passenger vehicle, occupants
  • 16 percent account for large truck occupants while the remaining includes pedestrians and motorists

These numbers might be disturbing for you, but stats also show the other side of the picture.

Due to their might size and colossal weight, semi-trucks usually don’t get any considerable damage.

You might be thinking how much does a semi-truck weigh. Let’s unveil this reality to get a better idea of semi-truck weight.

Laden and Unladen Semi-Truck Weigh

There are two prominent ways of measuring the weights of these big rigs.

One by measuring only the weight of truck and trailer, which is termed as Unladen semi-truck weigh. In contrast, a fully loaded truck weight is named Laden weight.

It’s evident that Laden is always higher than the unladen one. But unladen is more or less fixed as per the design of the truck.

Unladen semis’ have weight values ranging from 10000 to 25000 pounds. A few trucks have even more than that, like 53-foot trailer accounts for up to 35,000 pounds of weight.

These aforementioned values are GVWR or abbreviated as gross vehicle weight rating that specifies their maximum weight.

GVWR doesn’t simply revolve around the original weight of the truck, but it also accounts for fuel, cargo, passenger, or any part or vehicle attached to it.

Laden semi-truck weights can marginally vary depending upon the type and amount of loading. The laden semi with empty oil tanks will be way lighter than filled ones.

In this way, various administrative authorities and trucks manufacturers label the GVWR value of trucks. US federal law put a bar of 80,000 pounds for laden semis.

Though a few trucks have a higher capacity than this limit, legitimacy is always a major hindrance. Any loading higher than the limit will result in heavy fines and, even in some cases, lead to accidents.   

Classes of Trucks based on GVWR

The transportation department has divided trucks into multiple classes depending upon the gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR.

SUVs and small pickups are the lightest trucks with class values of one to three. These are primarily used for personal purposes, but a few put them for commercial uses.

From 4 to 6 classes are the medium-duty trucks used for commercial purposes. These usually weigh between 14,000 to 26,000 pounds.

Any vehicle higher than class six will be needing a Commercial Driving License— CDL is obligatory for driving heavy-duty vehicles in the United States.

Garbage trucks, Sweeper Vehicles, and even city transit busses fall in the seventh-class trucks. Their GVWR values range between 26,001 to 33,000 pounds.

Any values higher than this will fit the 8th class, which holds the heaviest semi-trucks.

Stopping Distance of Semi Trucks

Every road is planned and designed following the amount of traffic and their respective loading. These things determine the time and distance required for stopping any vehicles once the breaks are applied.

Cars moving at 65 miles/hour usually cover 300 feet before completely stopping. In contrast, a fully loading semis take twice as of cars.

The Bottom Line

Semi-truck weigh can vary depending upon the class and loading imposed on it. Due to their exceptionally higher weights, semis topple over roads and other vehicles.

It’s never recommended to over-weigh them by ignoring state and federal speeding and weighing laws.

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