How Fast Can A Bobtail Go?

If you’re a driver, it’s necessary that you know the speed limit when bobtailing. Not knowing how fast you can go with a bobtail truck can make you move a lot slower than you should be moving — hence the question, How Fast Can A Bobtail Go?

How Fast Can A Bobtail Go?

Most laws, including the one mentioned in California, lump bobtails together with all other “trucks.” If you read the sign carefully in CA even RVs hauled by a pickup or car are required to stay at 55 mph.

What Is Bobtailing — And Is It Dangerous?

You have a semi-truck in its “bobtail” when there’s no trailer attached. Truck drivers, most times, go ahead to drive a bobtail truck when they’re out to pick up their cargo at the very start of a shift, or right after dropping off their cargo at the end. Make sure you don’t confuse Bobtailing with deadheading: deadheading is the term for hauling an empty trailer.

How Did The Term “Bobtail” Come About?

There exist two assumptions around the origination of the term “bobtail” for the trucks.

  • There’s this song, composed by James Pierpont, that was released in the 19th century — in its lyrics has one of the lines “Bella on Bobtails ring” connected to the Bobtailing term’s origin.  In the song, Bobtailing was used to refer to the horse’s tail — the tail which is cut down in order to avoid the risk of getting tangled in the sleigh, drawn by horses.
  • Another thing people believe about how the term “Bobtailing” originated is, it originated from a particular type of cat which has a bobbed, short tail. The bobtail truck moving without a trailer is quite similar to how these cats look.

What Are The Specifications Of A Bobtail Truck?

Bobtail trucks are up to approximately 24-feet long, 13’4” high, 96” — not having the mirrors in the picture. The truck’s weight is around 20,000 pounds. As for the steer axle, it weighs approximately 10,000 pounds. Is it the drive axle? It weighs at a range of 8,500 to 9,000 pounds. Without excluding the refrigeration unit located on the front, the trailer weighs roughly 15,000 pounds. The entire cargo’s weight is likely to reach 44,000 pounds. It’s to put out the maximum legal vehicle weight including the cargos can be up to 80,000 pounds.

What Is A Bobtail Truck Used For?

Generally, people make use of Bobtail trucks for the purpose of delivering various cargoes to businesses, homes, and pretty long distances — unlike those traditional cargo trucks. These trucks are also a good choice when it comes to transporting heavy objects — heavy objects such as machinery and those other vehicles that have up to a certain weight.

At the time of the 90s, people had already started to opt for using industrial trucks — replacing bobtails. But, in the space of a few years, such a truck on several occasions proved to not be reliable and different issues began to arise as regards the performance and quality, leading to the driver’s discomfort and the truck’s poor performance. As a result of these situations, people had limited choices so they began to switch back to the more durable bobtail trucks.

What Are The Types Of Bobtail Trucks?

1. Small Bobtail Truck: These trucks come in various sizes, ranging from small to medium, and every one of their axles is firmly connected to the same chassis. When are these trucks called small bobtail trucks? Basically, it’s when they’re used without trailers — when they’re without trailers.

Owing to the size of the small bobtail truck, there are limited applications of it. The weight that’s allowed for small bobtails is in a range of lighter to medium-weighted objects such as egg transportation, transportation of bakery products, etc.

2. Straight Propane Truck: The difference between the small bobtail truck and straight propane truck is, the straight propane trucks are basically the modified version of the small bobtail trucks. They come with a tank that’s located at the rear side and are designed specially to be able to carry propane and that is what gave it its name “straight” propane truck. In terms of shape, these tanks have a round shape, and to add to that, they’re designed to maintain a desired pressure and temperature while doing what it does best — delivering propane.

Furthermore, the tanks possess a storage capacity that ranges from 1000 – 5000 gallons. You’d see these types of trucks with air horns. They are also used by people and companies to deliver gasoline or propane to various farms and industries.

3. Semi-Truck [also referred to as running Bobtail Truck]: This semi-truck has to do with two components, they include the tractor unit and a trailer. A running Bobtail trailer is regarded as a smaller-sized semi-truck that doesn’t have a trailer. Now, how’s the trailer connected to the semi-truck, it’s connected by attaching something called a hitch to an area of the vehicle (that’s the tractor part).

Why Are Bobtail Trucks Dangerous?

Although it doesn’t have the bulky trailer at its back, a bobtail truck increases the level of road dangers for other drivers found on the road. For those people who associate increased risk with increased weight, this is quite counterintuitive. Now, there’s a reason why bobtails are pretty more hazardous — it’s more cumbersome for you to brake or maneuver them. As a truck driver, you must ensure that you take proper care whenever you’re driving a bobtail truck in order to avoid accidents.

Trucks are designed in such a way that they have what it takes to stop carry heavy trailers — and it’s something they do most times. When a truck is put in the bobtail configuration, there’s just a little weight, very little weight, over the rear axle — and also, there’s a reduction in the braking power. Instead, most of the weight possessed by the bobtail truck comes from “over the front wheels,” and its primary purpose is basically steering rather than braking. This is just the reason why bobtail trucks tend to be more susceptible to skidding out in sudden turns or tight curves.

For this very reason, bobtail trucks — as well — often have a braking distance that’s quite long, irrespective of the fact that they don’t weigh much. It’s dangerous to drive a bobtail truck in wet weather and also on winding roads.

Bobtail Truck Accidents

Although truck drivers out there are known to have high standards in terms of safety, bobtailing isn’t against any laws. After all, all trucks — at some point — would have a reason to travel without having any cargo. In addition, while truck drivers don’t hit the road without being trained for it, they often have a little experience with bobtail trucks, which as we know, require more expertise and skill in order to be able to drive safely. The result is always a huge risk of collision and harm to many other road users.

What Are My Rights After A Bobtail Truck Accident?

Although it may be a herculean task when it comes to maneuvering bobtail trucks, it remains the responsibility of the driver to operate their truck safely without putting others in harm’s way. The trucking company also has a role to play in the area of ensuring that their drivers are well-trained. In other words, it’s the responsibility of the trucking company to not rush or overwork their drivers.

If you sustain an injury after being involved in a collision with a truck simply because of the negligence of the driver, it doesn’t matter whether it’s bobtailing or not, it’s in your power to sue both the driver and his/her employer. Even if you know very well that you just were at fault, you’re likely to have a case if the truck driver also shared in the blame. The negative effect of truck accidents is, it is likely to cause lasting injuries and it can ever go as far as causing permanent disability. You have the full right to be compensated for anything you spend as medical bills — including lost wages and reduction in earning capacity. Also, for your suffering and pain, you may as well receive an amount of money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Fast Is A Semi Without A Trailer?

It all depends on the company you work for. They usually range from 55 to 70 mph. If you own your truck, lot of owners disable the goveners. For insurance reasons some govern them for about 80 mph.

Do You Have To Stop At Weigh Stations Bobtail?

Bobtails are not exempt from entering weigh stations. Depending on which state you’re in, the signs will say all trucks must enter, all commercial vehicles must enter, all vehicles over 5 tons must enter, or some variant thereof.

What Is The Fastest Stock Semi?

Volvo’s Iron Knight set the new unofficial world record for trucks, covering the distance of 1 kilometer (or 0.621 mile) in 21.290 seconds and reaching a top speed of 276 kph, or 171 mph. The international motor sport association FIA is expected to make it official.

How Fast Can A Bobtail Go – Conclusion

As a recap of the response we gave to the question — How Fast Can A Bobtail Go? — we stated that:

Most laws, including the one mentioned in California, lump bobtails together with all other “trucks.” If you read the sign carefully in CA even RVs hauled by a pickup or car are required to stay at 55 mph.

Thanks for reading.

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