4 Things You Didn’t Know About Semi Trucks

Semi trucks, commonly referred to as tractor-trailers, are a common sight on the highways of America. When towing one or more trailers, these “kings of the road” are some of the largest street-legal vehicles. 

While most people are aware of their massive size or iconic horns, much about them remains a mystery. Here are four things you never knew about semi trucks.

1. Semi Trucks Deliver More Domestic Freight than All Other Forms of Transportation Combined

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), approximately 3 million tractor-trailers were registered in the United States in 2018. The same year, those trucks traveled over 300 billion miles and delivered almost 12 billion tons of freight. This represents 64% of all domestic freight transportation that year.

Semi trucks are primarily used for domestic transportation and the domestic portions of international transit. The American road network allows trucks to deliver to places that trains, air transports, and water transports can’t reach.

2. Trucks Are Extremely Fuel Inefficient

Semi trucks (officially designated class 8 trucks) have one of the lowest fuel efficiencies of any wheeled vehicle. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, they average 5.89 miles per gallon. Even with fuel tanks that hold roughly 80 gallons of fuel, this means that most trucks need to fill up approximately every 400 to 500 miles.

Since fuel prices for diesel are often $0.50 to $1.00 more per gallon than the price of regular gasoline, refueling a tractor-trailer is extremely expensive, even when gas prices are low. As gas prices have inevitably risen over time, the trucking industry has taken steps to mitigate the rising cost of fuel.

Technological improvements in fuel efficiency have done little over the years. As a result, some semi trucks are going electric. Electric trucks are in their infancy, but currently have roughly the same range on a full charge as traditional trucks have on a full tank.

3. Trucks Are Highly Regulated

Because trucks weigh significantly more than other vehicles, truck accidents are more likely to end in fatalities. However, trucks are less likely to be involved in accidents than cars. The main reason for this is that trucks are highly regulated.

Truck drivers are required to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are three different classes of these licenses, and drivers need to qualify for each separately. The tests for these licenses are particularly rigorous, and drivers must regularly re-qualify over the years.

Additionally, trucks have more safety features than the average car. For example, anti-lock brake systems were mandatory in class 8 trucks almost a decade before they were mandatory for passenger vehicles. And while older cars are grandfathered, older trucks must be retrofitted to continue to be street legal.

4. There Are Dozens of Classic Movies About Trucks

Truck movies are nearly as old as the movie industry itself. “They Drive by Night,” starring the legendary Humphrey Bogart, is considered to be the first movie in the genre. Since then, truck movies have been a staple of the industry.

Semi-trucks were particularly popular in the ’70s. 

Classic truck movies from that era include:

  • “Smokey and the Bandit”
  • “Breaker! Breaker!”
  • “High Ballin’”
  • “Duel”
  • “Every Which Way But Loose”
  • “Convoy”

Whether the country was experiencing a fascination with big rigs or it was just a matter of chance, semi-trucks took a starring role in many movies during the ’70s. 

“Smokey and the Bandit” romanticized the trucker lifestyle for the better part of the next decade. This fascination lasted until roughly the late ’80s, though classic truck movies continued to be released even in the years beyond.

Contact Our Gainesville Truck Accident Law Firm

Truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and death. If you or a loved one was involved in a collision with a semi-truck, and you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville truck accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today. An attorney will identify all liable parties and fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering.  

We have two convenient locations in North Central Florida:

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
(877) 255-3652

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 351-3258