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Big rigs continue to increase in numbers on our highways. Despite the trucking regulations issued by two federal departments (Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)) plus more regulations in every State, truck accidents continue to happen, causing severe injuries and death to occupants of passenger vehicles. Here is a glossary to help us talk about this problem more clearly.

  • Common Carrier: A trucking company that serves the public with delivery service using designated highways or sometimes on other roads as needed.
  • Dead-heading: Driving a truck with no cargo or a less-than-full load. If a tanker-truck carries a half-load of oil, for example, oil sloshing will threaten the truck’s stability and possibly cause a tanker-truck accident.
  • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW): The total weight of a semi-truck and its load. An overloaded truck is dangerous and illegal and highways have weigh stations to check on truck weights
  • Hazmat: Abbreviation for Hazardous Materials as determined by the EPA. The DOT has strict regulations for transporting Hazmat.
  • Jackknife: A frequent cause of truck accidents where the tractor cabin and the trailer get angled too sharply with each other.
  • Owner-Operator: A trucker who owns and operates his own truck.
  • Payload: The weight of a truck’s cargo separate from the weight of any truck parts.
  • PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch): The trucking industry unit of pressure measurement for air brake systems, tires, and turbocharger boosts. Braking problems are a major accident cause and a trucker must routinely check tire pressures on each haul.
  • Semi-Trailer: A truck trailer supported by its rear wheels on the road and a fifth wheel mounted on a tractor.
  • Tractor: A truck that hauls a semi trailer using a fifth wheel over its rear axle. Can be called a truck tractor or highway tractor to distinguish it from a farm tractor.
  • Tractor Trailer: A combined tractor and semi-trailer
  • Trip Recorder: A computer installed in the cab that records an array of data such as engine speed, driving speed, and idle time.
  • Truck: A vehicle that hauls cargo over its chassis rather than in any towed trailer.

One might want to add another term:

  • Train: A vehicle running on tracks that can haul cargo nationwide without endangering highway traffic.

If you have been severely hurt in a truck accident and would like to learn more about your legal position, please contact our truck accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation.

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