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How Much Trucks Weigh

How much does a truck weigh? The answer will be as varied as the types of trucks. On one end of the spectrum, you will have the pickup truck that your neighbor owns and drives with a standard license. On the other, you have a flatbed truck that can only be operated by someone with a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Truck Classification

Federal regulations have been established to limit a truck’s maximum loaded weight and determine who can operate larger vehicles. These classifications, numbered 1 through 8, were put in place to protect highways and bridges, prevent loss of cargo, and keep roads safer. A truck’s class is determined by its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).

There are three main categories:

  • Light Trucks - Can weigh up to 7 tons and include classes 1 through 3. You do not need a CDL to operate a light truck.
  • Medium Trucks - Can weigh up to 13 tons and include classes 4 through 6. Most medium trucks are used commercially, but not all require a CDL.
  • Heavy-Duty Trucks - Can weigh up to 40 tons and include classes 7 and 8. You must have a CDL to operate a heavy-duty truck.

How Much Does a Truck Weigh?

Depending on its use, a truck can weigh anywhere from 3 to 40 tons. Below, we’ll detail the most common types of trucks’ weight, as well as additional risks associated with each.

Pickup Truck Weight

The average pickup truck weighs around 3 tons. While this is lighter than commercial vehicles, it’s still double a standard car’s weight. Because owning a pickup doesn’t require special licensing or training, there’s an added risk—especially if the driver is hauling anything. Too often, pickup trucks are improperly loaded.

Delivery Truck Weight

While there is some variation in the size of delivery trucks, they usually weigh around 6 tons. Drivers are often trying to keep to a tight delivery schedule, which makes them more prone to accidents. They may be traveling faster than they should be or instructed to make deliveries in inclement weather.

School Bus Weight

When carrying passengers, a school bus can weigh 17 tons. School bus drivers are some of the most highly-screened drivers on the road, but there are inherent risks involved with operating these vehicles. They are large, make frequent stops, and travel on smaller residential roads.

Charter Bus Weight

Charter busses weigh a bit more than school buses, averaging around 20 tons when loaded with passengers. While charter bus drivers are highly screened and trained, they are often driving these commercial vehicles for long distances. Driver fatigue may make them more prone to accidents.

Garbage Truck Weight

A loaded garbage truck can weigh 25 tons. These trucks have large blind spots, and their operators are often trying to stick to a tight schedule. When you combine those factors with the fact that garbage trucks are often navigating residential roads, you can see the risk to pedestrians and smaller vehicles should an accident occur.

Dump Truck Weight

Dump trucks are often hauling sand, dirt, gravel, or other materials for construction projects. When loaded, they can weigh 36 tons. Like garbage trucks, they also tend to operate in residential areas. While collisions involving dump trucks can be catastrophic, these trucks can also cause significant damage to people or property if they are not unloaded correctly or if the cargo is unsecured.

Tanker Truck Weight

While the weight will depend on the cargo, the average tanker truck weighs 33 tons when loaded. Accidents involving tanker trucks can be dangerous not only because of their large size but also because they are more likely to be carrying hazardous materials.

Tractor-Trailer Weight

Tractor-trailers are also known as big rigs, 18-wheelers, or semi-trucks. In addition to weighing 40 tons when loaded, tractor-trailers require a long distance to stop, have large blind spots, and are prone to rollovers because of their high center of gravity.

Flatbed Truck Weight

Like tractor-trailers, flatbed trucks can also weigh 40 tons when loaded. However, these trucks present many unique hazards. They are used to transport items that cannot fit inside traditional trailers, such as logs or cranes. If the cargo is improperly loaded or secured, serious injury can result. There is also typically a higher risk when it comes to loading or unloading these trucks due to the nature of the bulky cargo they carry.

Oversized Truck Weight

Although federal trucking regulations limit trucks’ weight to 40 tons, it is possible to seek an oversized permit. States have set different limits on how much an oversized truck can weigh. In some states, a truck can weigh up to 50 tons when loaded. This extra weight dramatically increases how long it takes to stop the truck.

Why Truck Weight Matters

Due to their sheer size and weight, trucks of any kind can cause catastrophic accidents. The average car weighs only 1.5 tons. When you have a vehicle that size colliding with a truck that weighs up to 40 tons, injury or death is almost unavoidable. Statistics show this is too often the case. Truck drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles as safely as possible. When they don’t, and other drivers are hurt or killed as a result, they should be held accountable. Arnold & Itkin is committed to helping those who have been injured or lost loved ones in commercial vehicle accidents. Our truck accident attorneys have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, and we handle cases nationwide. Our team understands what you are going through, and we are here to fight for the compensation you deserve. No matter what.

When we take your case, there’s no cost to you unless we win. Call (888) 493-1629 or fill out our contact form to request your free consultation. We want to hear what happened to you.

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