Semi-trucks are common on Texas roads. We share the roads with these massive vehicles every day as they transport goods throughout the United States. When you are following an 18-wheel truck, do you ever wonder how much it weighs?

Semi-Truck Weight – Loaded vs. Unloaded

On average, a semi-truck weighs about 30,000 to 35,000 pounds unloaded. The tractor makes up most of that total. 

The tractor can weigh up to 25,000 pounds. The tractor is the front of the truck that contains the engine. The engine of a commercial truck weighs six times as much as the engine in a passenger vehicle. 

The weight of a tractor varies depending on the style of the truck. Larger sleeping areas and added features add to the weight of the tractor.

The trailer is the portion of the truck that hauls the goods. Trailers weigh about 10,000 pounds. However, when a trailer is fully loaded, the semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. For comparison: the average passenger vehicle weighs between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds.

Semi-trucks haul a variety of goods, including:

  • Food and household items
  • Boats and cars
  • Construction equipment
  • Hazardous gases and liquids
  • Milk
  • Refrigerated goods
  • Furniture, clothing, and personal care items
  • Building materials

A tractor-trailer can haul almost everything sold in the United States. 

Why Are Semi-Truck Accidents Dangerous?

A commercial truck’s size and weight are significant factors in the dangers of accidents involving semi-trucks. It’s simple physics: a passenger vehicle cannot withstand the force of an impact with a tractor-trailer. The truck easily crushes the vehicle upon collision.

The dangers are reflected in the great disparity in fatality statistics for truck accidents. In 2018, over 4,950 people died in large truck accidents. Seventy-one percent of the fatalities were people in passenger or other vehicles, and 11 percent of the deaths involved people not in a vehicle (e.g., bicyclists and pedestrians). Only 18 percent of the deaths were occupants of the large truck.

The same statistics apply to truck accident injuries. Seventy-two percent of the people injured in large truck accidents were occupants of other vehicles. Only 26 percent of large truck occupants experienced injury.

Injuries caused by semi-truck accidents include:

  • Multiple broken bones and fractures
  • Severe burns and disfigurement
  • Traumatic brain injuries and head injuries
  • Broken vertebrae, spinal cord injuries, and other back injuries
  • Amputations and loss of limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs
  • Crushing injuries
  • Neck and shoulder injuries

The severity of truck accident injuries often results in wrongful death or permanent impairments and disabilities. Victims can sustain lifelong conditions that prevent them from caring for themselves or their families. Truck accident victims may never work again. 

Therefore, damages from a truck accident can be enormous. Victims may sustain millions of dollars in medical bills, loss of income, and pain & suffering damages. Identifying the liable parties for the cause of the accident is crucial in recovering compensation for damages.

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents in Texas

Some causes of semi-truck accidents are similar to the causes of other motor vehicle accidents. However, large truck accidents may also involve other factors that are specific to the type of vehicle involved in the crash.

Common causes of large truck crashes include:

  • Unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, improper lane changes, and tailgating
  • Distracted driving, including texting and talking on a cell phone while driving
  • Poorly maintained trucks, including brake systems, tires, and trailers
  • Impaired driving, including alcohol use and drug use
  • Poor weather conditions, such as rain, fog, snow, and ice
  • Driving in high wind conditions 
  • Driver fatigue and drowsiness
  • Hazardous road conditions
  • Driver inexperience and lack of training
  • Inadequate road signage or lighting
  • Improperly maintained or designed roads
  • Failure to perform driver background checks and random drug tests

Any one of the above factors could lead to a semi-truck accident. There could be several factors that contributed to the cause of the truck crash. Sorting out the details of the accident is the only way to identify who is liable for the damages caused by the crash.

Potential defendants in a truck accident lawsuit include the truck driver, trucking company, loaders, shippers, truck maintenance companies, and truck manufacturers. 

What Should You Do After a Large Truck Accident?

Many victims are unconscious or unable to do anything after the truck accident because of their injuries. 

However, take as many of the following steps as possible to protect your rights:

  • Call 911 to report the accident 
  • Do not discuss the crash with anyone at the accident scene other than police officers
  • Ask witnesses for their contact information 
  • If possible, use your cell phone to make a video or take pictures of the accident scene
  • Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries
  • Do not sign any paperwork or documents for the insurance company, the trucking company, or other parties without consulting with a truck accident lawyer

Truck accident cases are complicated. The trucking company and the insurance company have teams of professionals working to protect their best interests. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible after the crash is the best way to protect your legal rights and best interests.