Before the pandemic, the trucking industry seldom got the credit it deserved. Now, most Americans appreciate the value of semi-trucks and the role they play in our economy. Still, there’s a lot that the average person doesn’t know about the vehicles, the industry, and its drivers.
This post will cover five facts about semi-trucks that you probably don’t know. This information may surprise you. And who knows? It could even be helpful down the road should you ever need to take legal action because of a truck accident.
1. The Origin of the Term Semi Truck
You’ve probably heard them referred to as 18-wheelers or big rigs, and those names are fairly self-explanatory. But where does the moniker “semi truck” come from?
“Semi truck” is a little less direct than those other names, but that’s only because it’s actually a shortened term for the original descriptor: semi trailer truck. In other words, these vehicles are part trailer and part truck!
The name semi truck is fitting because it reflects the most unique and defining characteristic of these vehicles. The fact that the trailer can detach from the truck makes the vehicles a great fit for a range of industries with complex shipping needs.
2. Semi Trucks Are More Difficult to Drive than Standard Vehicles
Semi trucks are longer, wider, and heavier than just about any other vehicle on the road. This fact may not come as a surprise. Still, you may not have known that their operators must undergo specialized training.
To obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a potential driver must undergo hours of training and pass an exam. And if they want to transport hazardous materials, they need even more training on top of that.
3. Semi Trucks Weigh About 80,000 Pounds
As you might expect, semi trucks are heavy. How heavy, you ask? About 80,000 lbs! For context, the average elephant weighs about 5,000 pounds—which means that the typical semi truck driver is maneuvering a vehicle the weight of 16 adult elephants.
4. Semi Trucks Have up to 18 Gears
The weight and size of a semi truck make it difficult to speed up and slow down. That’s why some trucks come equipped with as many as 18 gears. This feature comes in handy when a truck driver is navigating difficult terrains and steep inclines.
5. The Industry Is Heavily Regulated
An accident that involves a big rig can be damaging and dangerous, mainly because of the size and weight of these vehicles. That’s one of the reasons why trucking is such a heavily regulated industry.
Trucking is regulated by federal, state, and local governments to maintain the safety of America’s roadways.
If you want to learn more about federal laws, you can visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There, you will find everything from new carrier training to an overview of important regulations.
When Should You Call an Attorney About a Trucking Accident?
Big rigs weigh between 20 and 30 times more than passenger cars. If you get into an accident with one, you could be at risk of serious injury or even death.
And unfortunately, these kinds of accidents happen with some frequency. Most sources say that an average of 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year.
To protect your best interests, it’s best to call an attorney any time you become involved in this kind of accident.
You especially need a lawyer in these situations:
- Someone was seriously injured in the accident
- Fault is not clearly established
- You disagree with the police report
- One of the drivers was unlicensed or uninsured
- You believe the accident was caused by negligence
With an attorney, you’ll be able to pursue any compensation you may be entitled to.