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How Much Does A Tractor Trailer Truck Weigh?

Posted by James Aspell | Jan 02, 2021 | 0 Comments


The weight of a semi-truck can vary depending on several factors, specifically concerning the type of semi-truck and the cargo that it is carrying. On average, semi-trucks can weigh up to 25,000 pounds (12.5 tons). More specifically, the semi-tractor, which is the portion of the truck in which the engine sits, can weigh between 15,000-25,000 pounds, depending on the size of the engine, fuel tanks, and sleeper areas, all of which can affect the weight of the tractor.

With regards to an 18-wheeler truck, assuming there is no trailer attached to the back, it can weigh around 35,000 pounds. In order to fully grasp just how heavy these vehicles are, it may be helpful to consider the weight of the average car, which is around 4,000 pounds, contrasted with the 25,000 pound semi-tractor and 35,000 pound 18-wheeler.

You can imagine the damage such a vehicle can do in the event of a truck accident

How Much Can Semis Haul?

Semi-tractors and 18-wheelers commonly have fully-loaded trailers attached to the back, which of course can increase the total weight of the vehicle. The law regarding how much a semi can haul depends on whether the semi is single-axle or double-axle. 

In the state of Connecticut , single-axle semis cannot weigh more than 58,400 pounds in total, meaning they can only haul up to 30,000 pounds, depending on the weight of the tractor. Double-axle semis cannot weigh more than 73,280 pounds, meaning they can typically haul up to 48,000 pounds. 

For 18-wheelers, maximum weight is mandated by the Federal Highway Administration, which puts the limit at approximately 80,000 pounds.  This limit is in place to avoid excess wear and tear to roads, highways, and bridges.

How Long Does It Take For A  To Tractor Trailer Truck to Stop?

Due to the size and weight of the semi-tractor and the weight of the cargo it is carrying, it can take quite a long time for a truck traveling at a high speed to come to a full stop. Assuming dry roads, on average it takes a car, traveling 65 miles per hour, 7 seconds to come to a full stop. The stopping time of a semi-truck is twice as long. 

In situations where there are adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or sleet, semi-trucks can have an even more difficult time stopping. Semi-trucks are far less maneuverable than cars, which makes treacherous conditions even more dire.

How Many Semi-Trucks Are In The United States?

Trucking is a critical 700 billion dollar industry, and as such, there are around 2 million tractor-trailers currently in operation in the United States. There are over 3 million people employed as truck drivers in the United States. 

California, Texas, and Florida, make up a third of truck registrations in the country, meaning these states have high concentrations of semi-trucks on their highways. Altogether, all of these semi-trucks travel approximately one billion miles hauling cargo per year. 

What Do Semis Usually Haul?

The type of cargo that semis haul varies greatly, but there are a few common types of cargo that are worth mentioning:

  • Fertilizer and other farming implements
  • Automobiles
  • Building materials, such as wood
  • Food, both dry goods and refrigerated goods
  • Raw materials
  • Liquids, such as gas or oil
  • Animals and livestock

This list is by no means exhaustive but is a good starting point for understanding the wide variety of goods semi-trucks can haul.

What Are The Causes of Semi Accidents?

While the reasons for car accidents involving trucks vary, the most common are:

  • Loads/hauls are not properly secured, causing difficulties in maneuvering the truck
  • Driver is fatigued or sleepy
  • Truck is overloaded, or carrying too much cargo
  • Other drivers on the road are distracted or being reckless
  • When the trucking company does not properly maintain its vehicles

If you were involved in a truck accident, contact a Hartford, Connecticut area  personal injury lawyer to arrange a free consultation. Your attorney will go over your case with you and go over the possible ways they may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.

About the Author

James Aspell

Principal since August 1, 2006 James F. Aspell is the principal and managing attorney of the firm which he started in 2006 following 20 years of litigation practice in a mid -size firm in Hartford, Connecticut. Jim focuses his practice in the areas of worker's compensation and personal injury l...


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