Commercial trucks are the lifeblood of communities and states. They help provide food, building products, machinery, and many other types of goods. Some trucks even deliver other vehicles. They transport hazardous materials. They pick up your trash.
While trucks do provide valuable services, there are dangers. Truck accidents are often more dangerous than car accidents because trucks are bigger and weigh more. Trucks are tough to control especially when they’re carrying cargo. Many drivers require a commercial driver’s license.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics for 2016, light trucks were involved in more than 10,000 fatalities in 2016. Large trucks accounted for much fewer deaths – 772. Each type of truck poses different dangers for the drivers and anyone who is near the truck.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration classifies different types of trucks for safety and for other reasons. Some of the key classifications are:
- These are vehicles designed to carry 9 or more people including the driver. They are subdivided into two subcategories; Buses that transport 9-15 people including the driver and buses that transport 16 or more people including the driver.
- Single-unit truck. These vehicles are designed to transport cargo. They are trucks that have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,000 lbs. or more. They are broken down into two classes – two axles and three or more axles.
- Truck trailers. These are truck trailer combinations designed to transport cargo. They are generally classified according to the power unit (the truck) and not the trailer type – unless the truck does not have an “applicable body type.” They are generally classified based on a GVVWR less than 10,000 lbs. and a GVWR rating more than 10,000 lbs.
- Semi-trailers and truck tractors. These configurations include a “power-unit designed to draw/pull a semi-trailer.” The truck itself can’t carry any cargo (unlike the truck trailer) unless a semi-trailer is attached. Part of the weight of the semi-trailer rests on the power unit. “A truck tractor towing another motor vehicle is considered a “truck tractor” vehicle configuration.” They are generally classified based on the number of semi-trailers attached:
- Truck Tractor (Bobtail)
- Tractor Semi-trailer (one trailer)
- Tractor/Doubles (two trailers)
- Tractor/Triples (three trailers)
- Other trucks greater than 10,000 lbs. (GVWR). This is a catch-all category that includes vehicles designed to transport heavy machinery or farm equipment.
- Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (w/ hazmat placards): Vehicle configurations 10,000 lbs. or less that are placarded for hazardous materials.
- Vans and enclosed boxes. This vehicle has “an enclosed body integral to the frame of the motor vehicle or trailer.” According to the FMCSA, it is the most common cargo body type for trucks.
- Cargo tank. Vehicles designed to “transport dry bulk (fly, ash, etc.), liquid bulk (gasoline, milk, etc.) or gas bulk (propane).”
- Auto transporters. These trucks are designed to transport multiple, fully assembled cars. They generally look like truck-trailers.
- This truck type has no roof or sides. It comes “with or without readily removable stakes which may be tied together with chains, slats or panels.”
- Dump trucks. These trucks tilt so they can discharge cargo by gravity load.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers have the experience and resources to help you get justice. We’ve been aggressively fighting for accident victims for more than 20 years. We understand how to show other drivers and truck companies were liable. We demand compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. For help, call 405.212.9234 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment