How Much Does a Semi Truck Weigh?

Our economy runs on our nation’s commercial trucking fleet. At any given time, there are tens of thousands of semi-trucks traveling the country’s roads and highways. 

These trucks can be very dangerous if they’re involved in an accident. Just because of their size and weight, they are deadly machines when they crash into other vehicles on the roads.

Federal and State Regulations Regarding Commercial Truck Weight

The federal regulation regarding commercial truck weight dictates a maximum weight for a two-axle, 18-wheeler truck to be 80,000 pounds, or about 40 tons.  

There’s a maximum size and weight for semi-trucks, depending upon the state and the type of truck. 

In California, the law dictates that certain types of trucks have to be a certain weight, as follows:

  • Single-axle commercial trucks must weigh no more than 20,000 pounds
  • Tandem-axle (double-axle) commercial trucks can’t weigh more than 34,000 pounds
  • Any commercial semi-truck, including cargo, can’t exceed 80,000 pounds

These weight limits must include the weight of the vehicle, the weight of the trailer, and the weight of the hauled cargo. 

These figures illustrate how enormous these big rigs are when compared to personal trucks and vehicles, which weigh on average around 6,000 to 10,000 pounds.

Truck Accidents Caused by Improper Semi Truck Loads

Many tractor-trailer accidents are caused by the truck driver losing control of the vehicle due to improper loading of the cargo in the trailer. Here are some ways that a semi-truck load could cause a truck to lose control and crash into other cars on the road.

Unsecured Loads

When cargo is unsecured within the trailer, the cargo can tip over within the trailer and shift the trailer and truck, causing the whole truck to lose control.

Unbalanced Loads

If heavy cargo isn’t loaded properly and evenly, when a semi-truck goes around curves or turns in the roadway, the unbalanced load could shift, causing the trailer and truck to tip over.

Overloaded Trailers

When trailers weigh too much due to overloaded cargo, it becomes difficult for the truck driver to control the big rig when turning, shifting lanes, and stopping in time to avoid a collision.

Because commercial semi-trucks and 18-wheelers can cause so much damage when they get into truck accidents, it’s imperative to pay attention to how they’re loaded.

Federal Semi Truck Loading Guidelines

Federal regulations dictate how certain types of cargo are loaded and secured. There are also rules that require drivers to do cargo load inspections.

For example, federal regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require truck drivers to stop and inspect the loads after they’ve been driving for approximately 50 miles. 

The idea is that once the truck has been driving for that long, there could be indications of cargo loading problems that the driver can spot and remedy. After the initial 50-mile inspection, truck drivers are supposed to check the cargo periodically, and if possible, every 150 miles or so.

Truck Accidents Caused by Improper Loading Expands Who May Be At Fault

Usually, when a semi-truck causes a crash, the truck driver or the company that employs the driver is held responsible for the accident. But if the semi-truck collision was caused by improper loading and cargo shifting, everyone who was involved in loading the truck could be held responsible as well.

In many cases, the workers responsible for loading the trailer work for a different company than the truck driver or their employer. If this is the case, it will expand the number of at-fault defendants that could contribute to compensating anyone who was seriously injured in the accident. 

Truck accident cases can be complex. It’s best to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and obtain maximum results. 

Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in San Diego Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in San Diego or Chula Vista, please call Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.

We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108

(619) 777-5555

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – Chula Vista Office
690 Otay Lakes Rd #130, Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 722-3032

We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – El Paso Office
201 E Main Suite 106, El Paso, Texas 79901
(915) 591-1000