“How much does a semi truck weigh?” It is a question you may not have given much thought to in the past, especially if you drive alongside these massive machines every day. However, the weight of these vehicles sheds light on just how dangerous they can be in the event of an accident.
Appreciating these facts can give you a much better understanding of why accidents with commercial trucks are often so devastating for motorists in passenger cars.
How Much Does a Semi Truck Weigh in Tons? — A Breakdown
The total weight of a semi-truck (or tractor-trailer) is calculated by examining the weight of its component parts, including the cab, tires, axles, trailer, and any cargo that the vehicle is carrying. Federal regulations limit the maximum weight of a tractor-trailer to 80,000 pounds, which equates to 40 tons.
That maximum weight limit includes all the component parts of the truck, but individually, these parts each have their own weight limits, as well, which are as follows:
Semi Truck Tires
“How much does a semi-truck tire weigh?” That’s another question that may not have come to mind until now, and just as it did above, the answer here may surprise you.
Each tire on a tractor-trailer can weigh up to 100 pounds each. That means — for an eighteen-wheeled tractor-trailer combo — the combined weight of the tires alone could weigh nearly a ton. On a fully loaded semi truck hauling a trailer, the tires represent approximately one-fortieth (or about two percent) of the vehicle’s total weight.
How Much Does a Semi Truck Weigh Without Trailers?
Aside from the trailer, the cab (or the actual semi-truck itself) represents the heaviest portion of a tractor-trailer. That should come as no surprise, of course, as the cab is where the engine block and all the other necessary components that make the truck operate are located.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) lists semi-trucks as Class 8 vehicles, meaning they have a gross weight in excess of 33,001 pounds. In other words, a semi truck cab weighs at least 33,001 pounds. The size of the engine block, the amount of fuel it carries, and how many passengers are on board are all factors that determine the actual weight of a semi’s cab at any one point.
Any remaining weight that a tractor-trailer is allowed to have after considering the weight of its cab and tires can be found in the trailer and cargo. An empty trailer can weigh approximately 10,000 pounds alone, leaving approximately 30,000 to 35,000 pounds worth of cargo.
Can a Tractor-Trailer Weigh More Than 40 Tons?
Just because federal rules limit the maximum weight of a semi-truck and trailer to 80,000 pounds does not mean every carrier follows the limitation. Some drivers operate trucks over the maximum weight limit, either through inadvertence or deliberate action, and if they are caught, there are often penalties involved.
However, the greater danger of operating an overweight commercial vehicle is the increased danger of equipment failure, such as a blown tire. If an event like that happens, the risk of a severe crash is further amplified.
A Fully Loaded Semi-Truck Is a Dangerous Vehicle on the Road
Considering that the average passenger car can weigh just five percent of what a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh, it is easy to see how and why commercial vehicles can cause such severe injuries and fatal accidents. The sheer size and weight of these vehicles mean a far greater amount of energy gets transferred to any passenger car involved in a crash.
Since a semi-truck cannot be made any lighter, truck drivers must comply with the law and all applicable regulations. The safety of other drivers depends on truckers operating their vehicles carefully and with due regard for others’ safety.
Contact the Undefeated Houston Truck Accident Law Firm of Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact our undefeated truck accident lawyers in Texas at Zehl & Associates to schedule a free consultation today. We have two convenient locations in Houston and Midland.