What Is a Commercial Truck?
Is a Semi a Commercial Truck?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are several ways in which a vehicle can be defined as a commercial motor vehicle, which is vastly different than a passenger vehicle.
Legally speaking, a commercial motor vehicle is any self-propelled or towed vehicle that is used to transport passengers or property when the vehicle meets one or more of the following guidelines:
- Transports hazardous material
- Has GVWR or GVR of 10,001 pounds or more
- Transports 8 passengers or more for compensation
- Transports 15 passengers or more without compensation
Categories of Commercial Trucks
Commercial trucks can also be categorized based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) with classes that range from 1 to 8 and are split into light, medium, and heavy duty. Light duty trucks are typically geared more toward passenger vehicle with a GVWR that ranges from 1 to 14,000 pounds across Class 1-3, such as a Toyota Tacoma.
Classes of medium and heavy duty trucks include the following:
- Class 4 (Medium Duty): GVWR from 14,001 to 16,000 lb. (ex: Ford F-450)
- Class 5 (Medium Duty): GVWR from 16,001 to 19,500 lb. (ex: International TerraStar)
- Class 6 (Medium Duty): GVWR from 19,501 to 26,000 lb. (ex: International DuraStar)
- Class 7 (Heavy Duty): GVWR from 26,001 to 33,000 lb. (ex: GMC C7500)
- Class 8 (Heavy Duty): GVWR of 33,001 lb. or higher (ex: Freightliner M2 106)
Most commercial tractor-trailers will fall into Class 8.
Examples of Commercial Trucks
There are many types of commercial trucks that you may see out on the road; however, as explained above, they all share the common purpose of being used to further the goals of a business. Although some businesses may choose to use a straightforward pick-up truck, more often than not, commercial trucks are significantly larger and heavier.
Notably, some of these vehicles can be operated without a commercial license. For example, box trucks can be rented by anyone who has a regular drivers' license. Since drivers are accustomed to operating large vehicles when they rent a truck, they might be more likely to cause an accident.
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