Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

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Heavy semi-truck can cause colossal traffic congestion and other problems. A fully-loaded commercial truck’s sheer size and weight can cause catastrophic damages, leading to severe injuries and fatalities.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has represented many clients who have been injured or killed in accidents involving semi-trucks. Our accident lawyers understand the unique dangers posed by these large vehicles, and we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of those they have harmed.

For more information about our firm and how we can help you, please visit our website or call us at (888) 424-5757. We offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

How Much Does a Semi-Truck Weigh?

Semi-truck weight is a critical factor in many truck accidents. The average weight of a semi-truck is between 10,000 to 25,000 pounds.

A semi-truck hooked up to an empty trailer weighs around 35,000 pounds.

The weight maximum for a semi-truck with a fully loaded semi-trailer legally allowed in the United States is 80,000 pounds.

According to Federal Highway Administration rules, the maximum weight allowed on a bridge is 3500 pounds. The tractor-trailers and cargo weight are limited to prevent road and bridge damage. In certain circumstances, oversize semi-truck loads require special permits.

The size of a semi-haul will determine how much material it can carry.

Single and Double-Axle Semis

A single axle may legally carry up to 20,000 pounds. A tandem axle, often known as a double axle, can transport 34,000 pounds.

A tractor-trailer typically weighs around 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. A semi with an empty trailer weighs approximately 35,000 pounds.

There are two main ways to determine how much a semi-truck weighs.

Laden Weight

The first way is to look at the truck’s “laden weight.” It is the total weight of the average semi when fully loaded with cargo. The maximum trailer weight for a semi-truck is 25,000 pounds. Some states allow tractor-trailers to weigh up to 30,000 pounds.

Unladen Weight

The second way to determine how much a truck weighs is to look at the “unladen weight.” It is the weight of the car when it is empty. The unladen weight for a semi-truck is usually between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds.

The average semi-truck can weigh up to 25,000 pounds when fully loaded. An unladen 53-foot trailer weighs about 10,000 pounds, accounting for a total unladen weight of about 35,000 pounds.

Its gross vehicle weight rating (GWR) includes the weight of a semi-tractor, its cargo, and any other equipment connected to the semi is included in its gross vehicle weight rating (GWR).

How Many Semi-Trucks Are in the United States?

The number of semi-trucks on the road has increased in recent years. In 2017, 3.5 million trucks were operating in the United States. It is a significant increase from 2.7 million trucks in 2010.

The rise in semi-truck traffic congesting roadways is due to several factors, including the growth of online shopping and the need to transport freight. The rise of e-commerce has led to an increase in trucks on the road, as more and more items are being shipped to consumers.

Different Categories of Semi-Trucks

Truck classification is based on the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which considers the maximum legal weight and what it can carry fully loaded (including fuel, cargo, passenger, etc.).

There are different semi-trucks, and each type has additional weight. These weight differences can be significant, and they can play a role in trucking accidents.

Semi Trucks are categorized into three main categories:

Heavy Duty Trucks

Heavy-duty trucks are classified as vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. These semi-trucks are typically used to transport large shipments over long distances.

These include the big rigs, often called 18-wheelers. They are the semi-trucks you see on the highway with two trailers.

In most states, the maximum laden weight for a heavy-duty semi is 33,000 pounds. Shifting loads in a trailer can cause big rigs to become unbalanced.

Class 7 trucks have a GVWR of between 26,001 and 33,000 pounds and usually have less than three or more single axles.

Garbage trucks, sweeper trucks, furniture trucks, and city transit buses are examples of the Class 7 commercial vehicles category.

Medium Duty Trucks

The box truck is the common type of medium-duty commercial vehicle. This category includes trucks with a weight of between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds. These trucks are used to transport goods within a city or town.

It includes the three classes.

Class 4

It has a GVWR of between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds. Most common in construction, utilities, and delivery fleets.

Class 5

It has a GVWR of between 10,001 and 14,000 pounds. They are commonly used as service trucks (mechanics, towing, etc.), cargo vans, and food trucks.

Class 6

These are the big-box trucks used for deliveries, such as UPS or FedEx trucks. It has a GVWR of between 14,001 and 25,000 pounds.

Trucks in this category have medium loads and low speeds. Single axle, beverage delivery trucks, and rack trucks are medium-duty commercial vehicles.

School buses and city buses fit into this group as well.

Light Duty Trucks

This category includes the smallest and lightest semi-tractors. Light trucks have a laden weight of fewer than 10,000 pounds. These trucks are typically used to transport small shipments over short distances.

Some of the most common types of semi-trucks

  • Cement Trucks
  • City Delivery Trucks
  • Dump Trucks
  • Fuel Tanks
  • Rack Trucks
  • Pickup trucks
  • Garbage Trucks
  • Sleeper Cab
  • Box Trucks
  • Beverage Trucks

The trucking company needs to make sure that the truck driver is aware of these weight differences, and they need to take them into account when making deliveries.

Stopping Distance for a Semi-Truck

Truck drivers need to be aware of their stopping distance and ensure that they are not driving too fast. When a semi-truck is traveling at highway speeds, it can take up to 350 feet to come to a stop. When sharing the road with a semi-truck, it is essential to give them plenty of space and be aware of their stopping distance.

A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Semi-truck drivers need to be aware of their vehicle’s weight limits. If they are driving an overloaded truck, they may not be able to stop in time.

The stopping distance for an overloaded semi-tractor can be much longer than the stopping distance for an average car that is within its weight limit.

Large walk-in trucks are also a popular choice for businesses with a lot of inventory. These trucks are available in different weight capacities, and they offer several features that can make transportation easier.

Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney to Resolve a Compensation Claim

Getting into an accident with a semi-truck or other vehicle can be a life-altering experience. If you have been injured in a truck accident, more than one party can be held liable for the injury or death, so it is crucial to contact an experienced accident attorney.

The attorneys at our law firm have years of experience representing victims of vehicle accidents, and we know how to get the best results for our clients. We offer free consultations.

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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