A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration; smaller varieties may be mechanically similar to some automobiles. Commercial trucks can be very large and powerful, and may be configured to mount specialized equipment, such as in the case of fire trucks and concrete mixers and suction excavators. Modern trucks are largely powered by diesel engines, although small to medium size trucks with gasoline engines exist in the US, Canada, and Mexico. In the European Union, vehicles with a gross combination mass of up to 3.5 t (7,700 lb) are known as light commercial vehicles, and those over as large goods vehicles.
1.1 Steam wagons 1.2 Internal combustion 1.3 Diesel engines 1.4 Etymology 1.5 International variance
2 Types of trucks by size
2.1 Ultra light trucks 2.2 Very light trucks 2.3 Light trucks 2.4 Medium trucks 2.5 Heavy trucks 2.6 Off-road trucks 2.7 Maximum sizes by country
3.1 Cab 3.2 Engine 3.3 Drivetrain 3.4 Frame 3.5 Body types
4 Sales and sales issues
5.1 Australia 5.2 Europe 5.3 India 5.4 South Africa 5.5 United States
6 Environmental effects 7 Operations issues
7.1 Taxes 7.2 Damage to pavement 7.3 Commercial insurance 7.4 Trucking accidents
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Main article: Steam wagon
Trucks and cars have a common ancestor: the steam-powered fardier
Often produced as variations of golf cars, with internal combustion or
battery electric drive, these are used typically for off-highway use
on estates, golf courses, and parks. While not suitable for highway
use some variations may be licensed as slow speed vehicles for
operation on streets, generally as a body variation of a neighborhood
electric vehicle. A few manufactures produce specialized chassis for
this type of vehicle, while
A Piaggio Porter
Popular in Europe and Asia, many mini trucks are factory redesigns of
light automobiles, usually with monocoque bodies. Specialized designs
with substantial frames such as the Italian Piaggio shown here are
based upon Japanese designs (in this case by Daihatsu) and are popular
for use in "old town" sections of European cities that often have very
Regardless of name, these small trucks serve a wide range of uses. In
Japan, they are regulated under the
Light trucks are car-sized (in the US, no more than 13,900 lb
(6.3 t) and are used by individuals and businesses alike. In the
EU they may not weigh more than 3.5 t (7,700 lb), and are
allowed to be driven with a driving licence for cars. Pickup trucks,
called utes in Australia and New Zealand, are common in North America
and some regions of
Fuso Canter 3C13, 8th Generation in Spain.
Medium trucks are larger than light but smaller than heavy trucks. In the US, they are defined as weighing between 13,000 and 33,000 lb (5.9 and 15.0 t). For the UK and the EU the weight is between 3.5 to 7.5 t (7,700 to 16,500 lb). Local delivery and public service (dump trucks, garbage trucks and fire-fighting trucks) are normally around this size. Heavy trucks
A cement mixer is an example of a Class 8 heavy truck
Seddon Atkinson Stratos refuse compactor
Heavy trucks are the largest on-road trucks, Class 8. These include vocational applications such as heavy dump trucks, concrete pump trucks, and refuse hauling, as well as ubiquitous long-haul 4x2 and 6×4 tractor units. Road damage and wear increase very rapidly with the axle weight. The number of steering axles and the suspension type also influence the amount of the road wear. In many countries with good roads a six-axle truck may have a maximum weight of 44 t (97,000 lb) or more. Off-road trucks
ALMA antenna transporters are 20 m long, 10 m wide, weigh 130 t (290,000 lb) and drive on 28 tires.
Liebherr T 282B
Off-road trucks include standard, extra heavy-duty highway-legal
trucks, typically outfitted with off-road features such as a front
driving axle and special tires for applications such as logging and
construction, and purpose-built off-road vehicles unconstrained by
weight limits, such as the
Liebherr T 282B
A road train in Australia
Country Maximum with three axles With one trailer Maximum combination
Australia 23 t (50,700 lb) 12 m (39 ft) 172 t (379,000 lb) 53.5 m (176 ft)
China 25 t (55,100 lb) 12 m (39 ft) 49 t (108,000 lb) 16.5 m (54 ft) 55 t (121,000 lb) 18.75 m (62 ft)
EU 26 t (57,300 lb) 12 m (39 ft) 16.5 m (54 ft) 44 t (97,000 lb) 18.75 m (62 ft)
Ireland 26 t (57,300 lb) 12 m (39 ft) 30 t (66,100 lb) 16.5 m (54 ft) 44 t (97,000 lb) 22 m (72 ft)
Sweden 26 t (57,300 lb) 24 m (79 ft) 60 t (132,300 lb) 24 m (79 ft) 60 t (132,300 lb) 25.25 m (82.8 ft)
UK 26 t (57,300 lb) 12 m (39 ft) 44 t (97,000 lb) 16 m (52 ft) 44 t (97,000 lb) 18.75 m (62 ft)
USA (Interstate) 54,000 lb (24.5 t) 45 ft (13.7 m) 80,000 lb (36.3 t) none 80,000 lb (36.3 t) none
Design Almost all trucks share a common construction: they are made of a chassis, a cab, an area for placing cargo or equipment, axles, suspension and roadwheels, an engine and a drivetrain. Pneumatic, hydraulic, water, and electrical systems may also be present. Many also tow one or more trailers or semi-trailers. Cab
Flat nose truck
Streamlined conventional cab
Cab beside engine
The cab is an enclosed space where the driver is seated. A "sleeper" is a compartment attached to or integral with the cab where the driver can rest while not driving, sometimes seen in semi-trailer trucks. There are several possible cab configurations:
A further step from this is the side loading forklift that can be described as a specially fabricated vehicle with the same properties as a truck of this type, in addition to the ability to pick up its own load.
Most small trucks such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) or pickups,
and even light medium-duty trucks in North America, China, and Russia
use gasoline engines (petrol engines), but many diesel engined models
are now being produced. Most of the heavier trucks use four-stroke
diesel engines with a turbocharger and intercooler. Huge off-highway
trucks use locomotive-type engines such as a V12
A truck rear suspension and drive axles overview
Eaton Roadranger 18 speed "crash box" with automated gearshift
Small trucks use the same type of transmissions as almost all cars, having either an automatic transmission or a manual transmission with synchromesh (synchronizers). Bigger trucks often use manual transmissions without synchronizers, saving bulk and weight, although synchromesh transmissions are used in larger trucks as well. Transmissions without synchronizers, known as "crash boxes", require double-clutching for each shift, (which can lead to repetitive motion injuries), or a technique known colloquially as "floating", a method of changing gears which doesn't use the clutch, except for starts and stops, due to the physical effort of double clutching, especially with non-power-assisted clutches, faster shifts, and less clutch wear. Double-clutching allows the driver to control the engine and transmission revolutions to synchronize, so that a smooth shift can be made; for example, when upshifting, the accelerator pedal is released and the clutch pedal is depressed while the gear lever is moved into neutral, the clutch pedal is then released and quickly pushed down again while the gear lever is moved to the next higher gear. Finally, the clutch pedal is released and the accelerator pedal pushed down to obtain required engine speed. Although this is a relatively fast movement, perhaps a second or so while transmission is in neutral, it allows the engine speed to drop and synchronize engine and transmission revolutions relative to the road speed. Downshifting is performed in a similar fashion, except the engine speed is now required to increase (while transmission is in neutral) just the right amount in order to achieve the synchronization for a smooth, non-collision gear change. "Skip changing" is also widely used; in principle operation is the same as double-clutching, but it requires neutral be held slightly longer than a single-gear change. Common North American setups include 9, 10, 13, 15, and 18 speeds. Automatic and semi-automatic transmissions for heavy trucks are becoming more and more common, due to advances both in transmission and engine power. In Europe, 8, 10, 12 and 16 gears are common on larger trucks with manual transmission, while automatic or semi-automatic transmissions would have anything from 5 to 12 gears. Almost all heavy truck transmissions are of the "range and split" (double H shift pattern) type, where range change and so‑called half gears or splits are air operated and always preselected before the main gear selection. Frame
A truck rear frame (chassis) section view
A truck frame consists of two parallel boxed (tubular) or C‑shaped rails, or beams, held together by crossmembers. These frames are referred to as ladder frames due to their resemblance to a ladder if tipped on end. The rails consist of a tall vertical section (two if boxed) and two shorter horizontal flanges. The height of the vertical section provides opposition to vertical flex when weight is applied to the top of the frame (beam resistance). Though typically flat the whole length on heavy duty trucks, the rails may sometimes be tapered or arched for clearance around the engine or over the axles. The holes in rails are used either for mounting vehicle components and running wires and hoses, or measuring and adjusting the orientation of the rails at the factory or repair shop. The frame is usually made of steel, but can be made (whole or in part) of aluminum for a lighter weight. A tow bar may be found attached at one or both ends, but heavy trucks almost always make use of a fifth wheel hitch. Body types Refrigerator trucks have insulated panels as walls and a roof and floor, used for transporting fresh and frozen cargo such as ice cream, food, vegetables, and prescription drugs. They are mostly equipped with double-wing rear doors, but a side door is sometimes fitted. Box trucks ("tilts" in the UK) have walls and a roof, making an enclosed load space. The rear has doors for unloading; a side door is sometimes fitted. Concrete mixers have a rotating drum on an inclined axis, rotating in one direction to mix, and in the other to discharge the concrete down chutes. Because of the weight and power requirements of the drum body and rough construction sites, mixers have to be very heavy duty. Dump trucks ("tippers" in the UK) transport loose material such as sand, gravel, or dirt for construction. A typical dump truck has an open-box bed, which is hinged at the rear and lifts at the front, allowing the material in the bed to be unloaded ("dumped") on the ground behind the truck. Flatbed trucks have an entirely flat, level platform body. This allows for quick and easy loading but has no protection for the load. Hanging or removable sides are sometimes fitted. Semi-tractors ("artics" in the UK) have a fifth wheel for towing a semi-trailer instead of a body. Tank trucks ("tankers" in the UK) are designed to carry liquids or gases. They usually have a cylindrical tank lying horizontally on the chassis. Many variants exist due to the wide variety of liquids and gases that can be transported. Wreckers ("recovery lorries" in the UK) are used to recover and/or tow disabled vehicles. They are normally equipped with a boom with a cable; wheel/chassis lifts are becoming common on newer trucks.
Sales and sales issues
Main article: List of truck manufacturers
Largest truck manufacturers in the world as of 2015.
Pos. Make Units
3 Dongfeng 336,869
4 Tata 317,780
7 Hino 162,870
9 Iveco 140,200
Driving In many countries, driving a truck requires a special driving license. The requirements and limitations vary with each different jurisdiction. Australia
Inside a Mack truck
In Australia, a truck driver's license is required for any motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) exceeding 4.5 t (9,900 lb). The motor vehicles classes are further expanded as:
HC: Heavy Combination, a typical prime mover plus semi-trailer combination. MC: Multi Combination, e.g., B Doubles/road trains
LR: Light rigid: a rigid vehicle with a GVM of more than 4.5 t (9,900 lb) but not more than 8 t (17,600 lb). Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9 t (20,000 lb) GVM. MR: Medium rigid: a rigid vehicle with 2 axles and a GVM of more than 8 t (17,600 lb). Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9 t (20,000 lb) GVM. Also includes vehicles in class LR. HR: Heavy Rigid: a rigid vehicle with three or more axles and a GVM of more than 8 t (18,000 lb). Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9 t (20,000 lb) GVM. Also includes articulated buses and vehicles in class MR.
Heavy vehicle transmission
There is also a heavy vehicle transmission condition for a license class HC, HR, or MC test passed in a vehicle fitted with an automatic or synchromesh transmission; a driver's license will be restricted to vehicles of that class fitted with a synchromesh or automatic transmission. To have the condition removed, a person needs to pass a practical driving test in a vehicle with non-synchromesh transmission (constant mesh or crash box). Europe
Driving licensing has been harmonized throughout the European Union (and practically all European non-member states), so that common, albeit complex rules apply within Europe (see European driving licence). As an overview, to drive a vehicle weighing more than 7.5 t (16,500 lb) for commercial purposes requires a specialist license (the type varies depending on the use of the vehicle and number of seats). For licenses first acquired after 1997, that weight was reduced to 3.5 t (7,700 lb), not including trailers. India There are around 5 million truck drivers in India. South Africa To drive any vehicle with a GVM exceeding 3.5 t (7,700 lb), a code C1 drivers license is required. Furthermore, if the vehicle exceeds 16 t (35,300 lb) a code C license becomes necessary. To drive any vehicle in South Africa towing a trailer with a GVM more than 7.5 t (16,500 lb), further restrictions apply and the driver must possess a license suitable for the GVM of the total combination as well as an articulated endorsement. This is indicated with the letter "E" prefixing the license code. In addition, any vehicle designed to carry goods or passengers may only be driven by a driver possessing a Public Driver's Permit, (or PrDP) of the applicable type. This is an additional license that is added to the DL card of the operator and subject to annual renewal unlike the five-year renewal period of a normal license. The requirements for obtaining the different classes are below.
"G": Required for the transport of general goods, requires a criminal record check and a fee on issuing and renewal. "P": Required for the transport of paying passengers, requires a more stringent criminal record check on, additionally the driver must be over the age of 21 at time of issue. A G class PrDP will be issued at the same time. "D": Required for the transport of dangerous materials, requires all of the same checks as class P. In addition the driver must be over 25 at time of issue.
In the United States, a commercial driver's license is required to drive any type of commercial vehicle weighing 26,001 lb (11.8 t) or more. The federal government regulates how many hours a driver may be on the clock, how much rest and sleep time is required (e.g., 11 hours driving/14 hours on-duty followed by 10 hours off, with a maximum of 70 hours/8 days or 60 hours/7 days, 34 hours restart ) Violations are often subject to significant penalties. Instruments to track each driver's hours must sometimes be fitted. In 2006, the US trucking industry employed 1.8 million drivers of heavy trucks. Environmental effects See also: Diesel exhaust
DAF tractor with an auto-transport semi-trailer carrying Škoda Octavia cars in Cardiff, Wales
Trucks contribute to air, noise, and water pollution similarly to automobiles. Trucks may emit lower air pollution emissions than cars per equivalent vehicle mass, although the absolute level per vehicle distance traveled is higher, and diesel particulate matter is especially problematic for health. EPA measures pollution from trucks. With respect to noise pollution, trucks emit considerably higher sound levels at all speeds compared to typical cars; this contrast is particularly strong with heavy-duty trucks. There are several aspects of truck operations that contribute to the overall sound that is emitted. Continuous sounds are those from tires rolling on the roadway, and the constant hum of their diesel engines at highway speeds. Less frequent noises, but perhaps more noticeable, are things like the repeated sharp-pitched whistle of a turbocharger on acceleration, or the abrupt blare of an exhaust brake retarder when traversing a downgrade. There has been noise regulation put in place to help control where and when the use of engine braking retarders are allowed. Concerns have been raised about the effect of trucking on the environment, particularly as part of the debate on global warming. In the period from 1990 to 2003, carbon dioxide emissions from transportation sources increased by 20%, despite improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency.
In 2005, transportation accounted for 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas
emission, increasing faster than any other sector.
Between 1985 and 2004, in the U.S., energy consumption in freight
transportation grew nearly 53%, while the number of ton-miles carried
increased only 43%.
According to a 1995 U.S. government estimate, the energy cost of
carrying one ton of freight a distance of one kilometer averages
337 kJ for water, 221 kJ for rail, 2,000 kJ for trucks,
and nearly 13,000 kJ for air transport. Many environmental
organizations favor laws and incentives to encourage the switch from
road to rail, especially in Europe.
Trucking accident at Elst (Netherlands) 2012-03-23
In 2002 and 2004, there were over 5,000 fatalities related to trucking accidents in the United States. The trucking industry has since made significant efforts in increasing safety regulations. In 2008 the industry had successfully lowered the fatality rate to just over 4,000 deaths. But trucking accidents are still an issue that causes thousands of deaths and injuries each year. Approximately 6,000 trucking accident fatalities occur annually in the United States. Fatalities are not the only issue caused by trucking accidents. Here are some of the environmental issues that arise with trucking accidents:
14.4% of trucking accidents cause cargo to spill 6.5% cause open flames
Following increased pressure from The Times "Cities Fit For Cycling"
campaign and from other media in Spring 2012, warning signs are now
displayed on the backs of many HGVs. These signs are directed against
a common type of accident which occurs when the large vehicle turns
left at a junction: a cyclist trying to pass on the nearside can be
crushed against the HGV's wheels, especially if the driver cannot see
the cyclist. The signs, such as the winning design of the InTANDEM
road safety competition launched in March 2012, advocate extra care
when passing a large vehicle on the nearside.
Custom truck at a Yorkshire truck show
In the UK, three truck shows are popular – Shropshire
Cutaway van chassis
Dekotora, Japanese decorated trucks
European emission standards
Glossary of the American trucking industry
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