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What’s in a Name? That Which We Call Trucks

The U.S. government classifies trucks according to their maximum operating weight, which includes the maximum load the truck can carry and the weight of the truck itself. The Department of Transportation (US DOT) assigns trucks a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and classifies them accordingly, ranging from Class 1 (the smallest) to Class 8 (the largest). One thing we know about trucks is the bigger they are, the harder they crash.

If a truck is assigned a GVWR of 10,000 pounds, that is the maximum amount it is certified to weigh, including passengers, cargo, and fuel. Weigh stations on the side of the highway are there to ensure that truckers driving rigs with a total weight of more than 26,000 lbs. don’t exceed their GVWR. Trucks are classed in this way by the government and manufacturers for purposes of safety regulation, registration, and commercial designation.

Truck GVWR Classifications

  • Class 1 (6,000 lbs. or less: This class includes minivans, cargo vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks such as Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.
  • Class 2 (6,001 to 10,000 lbs.): Larger minivans and cargo vans, full-size pickups, and step vans are included in this category. Class 2 trucks include Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ram 1500.
  • Class 3 (10,001 to 14,000 lbs.): This includes walk-ins, box trucks, city delivery trucks, and heavy-duty pickups. Basically all 3500 pickups are included in Class 3.
  • Class 4 (14,001 to 16,000 lbs.): The Class 4 category includes larger walk-ins, box trucks, and city delivery trucks.
  • Class 5 (16,001 to 19,500 lbs.): This class encompasses bucket trucks, large walk-ins, and large city delivery trucks.
  • Class 6 (19,501 to 26,000 lbs.): This includes beverage trucks, school buses, rack trucks, and single-axle trucks.
  • Class 7 (26,001 to 33,000 lbs.): Refuse trucks, furniture trucks, city transit buses, and truck tractors are included in this class.
  • Class 8 (33,001 lbs. to HUGE): Cement trucks, dump trucks, larger truck tractors, and sleeper cabs are included in Class 8.

Manufacturers also consider that a Class 2B exists for vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 to 10,000 lbs., because they are not required to provide EPA miles per gallon estimates on window stickers for vehicles weighing 8,500 or more. This category includes heavy-duty pickups, such as Ram, Chevrolet, and GMC 2500s and Ford Super Duty.

Truck Driver Classifications

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate certain commercial motor vehicles. States issue CDLs and commercial learner’s permits (CLPs) according to federal standards with the following license classifications:

  • Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight (whichever is greater) of 26,001 lbs. or more, including a towed unit or units with a GVWR or gross vehicle weight (whichever is greater) of more than 10,000 lbs.
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR or gross vehicle weight of 26,001 lbs. or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR or gross vehicle weight that does not exceed 10,000 lbs.
  • Class C: Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that do not meet the definition of either Class A or Class B but is designed to transport 16 or more people, including the driver, or is transporting hazardous or toxic materials.

Truck Accidents in the Permian Basin

The Permian Basin is an oil and gas-rich region in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. In the past several years, due to advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology, it has become the busiest oil region in the nation. Smaller highways in rural areas in Texas and New Mexico have become inundated with traffic to and from the many oil fields in this region, and truck accidents have increased dramatically. Truck crashes in the Permian Basin can be particularly hazardous, because of the remoteness of the area and the cargos the trucks are carrying.

Oil and gas trucks and any big rigs can cause serious damage when they collide with passenger vehicles, because of their sheer size and weight. When the truck is a tanker carrying fuel, the hazards are even greater. If you have been hurt in a crash with a large commercial truck, contact a Permian Basin trucking accident attorney at the Sorey Law Firm P.L.L.C at (903) 207-5526 as soon as possible. We will travel to you if you are unable to come to us.