There are almost 3 million semi-trucks making their way around America’s highways on any given day. And every year in Georgia, about 200 people die in crashes involving these trucks. One of the biggest factors that makes these trucks so deadly is their immense weight.

We all know semi-trucks are heavier than regular cars, but how much do they weigh? Read on to learn more about semi-truck weight and how it contributes to truck accidents.

Unladen and Empty Weight

A semi-truck has four separate weight classifications – unladen, empty, laden, and gross vehicle weight rating. 

The unladen weight refers to just the weight of the truck itself with no trailer attached. Depending on the size and specifications of the truck, an unladen truck can weigh anywhere between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds.

A trailer can vary in weight, too, depending on how long it is. A fifty-three-foot trailer weighs about 10,000 pounds, meaning an empty trailer can weigh between 20,000 and 35,000 pounds.

Laden Weight

Laden weight refers to the weight of a semi-truck once the trailer has been loaded with all its cargo. This weight can vary enormously depending on what’s being hauled and how full the truck is. 

However, as we’ll discuss later, each state has limits on how much cargo a commercial truck is allowed to haul.

In most places throughout the United States, semi-trucks cannot have a laden weight higher than 80,000 pounds. This helps to protect the roads they’re driving on, as well as the other drivers around them. 

Some specific areas, such as bridges, may have even lower weight limits to avoid major structural damage.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

It is important to note that a truck’s laden weight is not the same as its overall weight. Laden weight only accounts for the weight of the truck, the trailer, and the cargo. But a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) measures the total weight associated with that semi-truck.

GVWR includes not only the laden weight, but also the weight of the fuel, any other necessary fluids, the driver, and any personal items they might be carrying. 

Sometimes, trucks can have GVWR limits above 80,000 for safety reasons. But the truck may still not carry a laden weight greater than 80,000 pounds.

State Laws

As with many other transportation regulations, truck weight limits vary from state to state. In Georgia, weight limits depend on how many axles a truck has. 

  • Five axles (an eighteen-wheeler) – 80,000 pounds
  • Four axles – 70,000 pounds
  • Three axles – 61,020
  • Two axles – 40,680

In some states, however, trucks can have a gross weight of up to 88,000 pounds – higher than most other states. It will come as no surprise that heavier trucks mean more deadly accidents when they occur.

How Weight Impacts Stopping Distance

One of the biggest reasons truck weight matters so much is that it greatly impacts how long it takes these vehicles to stop. 

An average car traveling at 60 miles per hour will take about 132 feet to come to a stop. A fully loaded semi-truck traveling at 65 miles per hour can take more than 500 feet to stop.

The heavier a truck is, the longer it will take it to come to a stop. Even a few hundred pounds could turn into several extra feet of stopping distance. This makes it harder for trucks to avoid accidents and makes the crashes they are involved in that much more devastating.

Were You Hurt in a Truck Accident?

Semi-trucks generally weigh about twenty times as much as the passenger cars traveling around them. In most states, these trucks can’t weigh more than 80,000 pounds fully loaded. But their weight can vary tremendously based on whether or not they’re carrying cargo and what that cargo is.

If you were injured in an accident with a semi-truck, you may be facing serious injuries, stacks of medical bills, and a permanently diminished ability to work. Our personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case with one of our truck accident attorneys.

For more information, please contact the truck accident lawyers at Hawk Law Group at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and its surrounding areas:

Hawk Law Group – Augusta, GA
338 Telfair St, Augusta, GA 30901, United States
(706) 722 3500

Hawk Law Group – Evans, GA
4384 River Watch Pkwy, Evans, GA 30809, United States
(706) 863 6500

Hawk Law Group – Thomson, GA
146 Railroad St A, Thomson, GA 30824, United States
(706) 361 0350

Hawk Law Group – Waynesboro, GA
827 Liberty St, Waynesboro, GA 30830, United States
(706) 437 9122

Hawk Law Group – Aiken County, SC
156 Laurens St NW, Aiken, SC 29801, United States
(803) 226 9089

We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.