Truck Classification

Truck Classification

To the average person, all trucks may look the same. But did you know there are a wide variety of trucks, each with its specific purpose? Trucks can be classified into different categories depending on size, weight, and function. This article will look at the different types of trucks and what category they fit into. 

Article Quick Takes

  • What is truck classification?
  • How is truck classification determined in the US?
  • The different types of trucks and their classifications
  • The benefits of properly classifying trucks/Why Does It Matter?

What is truck classification?

Truck classification is the process of grouping trucks into categories based on their size, weight, and function.

How is truck classification determined in the US?

Truck classification is determined by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Trucks have a weight rating (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR) that is shown on the truck. This rating helps to make sure that the truck doesn’t go over its limit. This rating also makes it, so the truck is safe for both the driver and other drivers on the road. 

The following factors determine truck classification:

  • The truck’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum weight the truck is rated to carry safely. The truck’s total weight includes the driver, passengers, cargo, and fuel.
  • The number of axles on the truck helps to determine the truck’s weight distribution and stability on the road.
  • The distance between the axles (measured in feet) affects the truck’s turning radius and stability.
  • The truck’s height (measured in feet) helps determine the clearance height for bridges and other obstacles.

The different types of trucks and their classifications

Trucks are typically considered light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty trucks—the FHWA groups trucks into eight categories based on weight and intended use. Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.

Class 1-3:
Light-duty trucks are the most common type of truck on the road. They include pickup trucks, minivans, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Light-duty trucks typically have a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of less than 8,500 pounds (3,850 kg)

Class 4-6:
Medium-duty trucks are more significant than light-duty trucks and have a GVW of between 16,000 and 26,000 pounds (3,850 and 6,350 kg). Common types of medium-duty trucks include box, bucket, and tow trucks.

Class 7-8: 
Heavy-duty trucks are the most significant type of truck on the road. They have a GVW of between 26,001 and 33,000+.

The benefits of adequately classifying trucks and why it matters

Truck classification is essential in keeping drivers and other motorists safe. Improperly classified trucks may pose a safety hazard on the road. It helps ensure that only qualified drivers operate each type of truck, as heavier trucks require special training and a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Classifying trucks helps to preserve roads and bridges and prevent damage to infrastructure. It allows authorities to enforce truck weight limits properly and ensure that trucks are not overloaded. Heavier trucks cause more road wear and tear, so they must stay within the weight limits.

Nationwide United Auto Transport understands the importance of truck classification. Our truck shipping service revolves around ensuring the right truck is used for each job. We have a wide variety of trucks in our fleet that can accommodate any vehicle, regardless of size or weight. Contact us today 800-311-8305 to learn more about our services or to request a free quote.