Different Types of Commercial Vehicles and Trucks

Commercial truck classifications are technically determined based upon the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating, also known as the “GVWR”.  The classes range from 1 through 8.  

Commercial truck classification is also done more broadly under the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) “Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey” (VIUS) standards, which groups Class 1, 2 and 3 as “Light Duty”, 4, 5 and 6 as “Medium Duty”, and 7-8 as “Heavy Duty”.

What follows here are general references to the different types of truck configurations. 

Extra Duty Trucks

Extra Duty Trucks are heavy trucks which are used to carry large equipment. They can be extra long and often require special permits.

Flatbed Trucks

A flatbed truck is a truck and trailer combination where the trailer is open (non-enclosed) and flat. It too is often used to carry heavy equipment, large mechanical devices like windmill parts and large pipes.

Flatbed trailers are preferred when closed units would be difficult to load because of the size and weight of the cargo.  Also, in many situations, it is easier and safer to secure a large piece of equipment or machinery when the trailer is open and not enclosed. 

Unfortunately, because of the size and weight of the cargo on flatbed trucks, accidents with them can be even more serious than with typical enclosed 18 wheeler trailers.

Tanker Truck

A tracker truck is a truck with a trailer that carries liquids.  It can be the subject of special regulations if the cargo is classified as hazardous materials such as flammable liquids such as gasoline or diesel or corrosive materials such as acids and liquid fertilizers.

18 Wheelers (Eighteen Wheelers)

18 wheelers are also known at big rigs, tractor-trailers and semi trucks.  What is thought of as the typical 18 wheeler has enclosed trailer with a large sliding entrance at the rear of the truck.

They are what normally comes to mind when one thinks of the typical truck seen every day on the highways of Texas.  They are used to carry all kinds of cargo and they move most of the goods that people need to live their daily lives like household goods, food and clothing.  

18 wheeler trucks require their operators to have a professional driver’s license known as a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”).  These trucks, because of their prevalence, cause the majority of the commercial truck accidents in Texas. 

They are known as articulated vehicles.  Generally speaking they are more difficult to control because of this articulation of the unit between the trailer and the tractor or truck.  Many accidents occur due to braking issues or steering mishaps; the inertia of the trailer ends up overcoming the control of the tractor or truck resulting in jackknifing of the rig and loss of control.

Dump Trucks

Dump trucks are used for transporting loose material such as concrete, sand, gravel, or dirt, usually for construction.  Another type of dump truck is a commercial truck used to transport trash to landfills.  Dump trucks are susceptible to backing up accidents due to worker’s being around the back of the truck and also because they often have a limited view.  Also, because they frequently travel in residential neighborhoods in suburban areas, people are often injured because such large vehicles are difficult to stop and people are not expecting them.

Personal Injury Attorney at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane

If you have lost a family member in a commercial trucking accident regardless of how it was caused, you should carefully select who you choose to represent you and your family.  You would be wise to choose a law firm that is experienced in handling vehicular and truck accident lawsuits and one with a proven track record of success.  Call an attorney to get a successful firm on your side in handling your truck accident claim.  Or, contact us through the contact form to have one of our attorneys contact you for a free no obligation claim evaluation.


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