But first, let’s cover what do you need in order to get a CDL? The FMCSA has set strict guidelines that each state must adhere to; they can tighten the CDL requirements but not relax them! Per the FMCSA these requirements are:
- You must be 18 years old to drive within your state;
- In order to drive across state lines you have to be at least 21;
- You must be over 21 to haul hazardous materials;
- You cannot have any disqualifying criminal offenses (felonies);
- You have to pass the Knowledge and Skills test with a score of 80 or better;
- Pay all associated fees; these will vary and it all depends in which state you’re licensed in;
Additionally, you will need to agree to take and pass relevant drug test. You will also be required to take a DOT physical . This medical card is typically good for two years and must be carried with you whenever you’re operating a heavy duty truck.
So to clarify, a heavy duty truck is a large vehicle (a big truck) that is used to transport freight commercially. It also requires special licensing and the observation of other regulations such as completing and maintaining DOT’s logs about different things like example: hours-of-service logs. These can be either paper or electronic, but they must be current and up to date.
Heavy Duty Truck Types
Well, this is a bit easier to identify… ok not that easy really, because there are literally dozens of trucks used for a variety of commercial purposes. The heavy duty truck can be a straight truck or semi. It can have multiple axels, both the truck and the trailer.
The heavy-duty trucks are used for different trucking services so therefore they can be found in numerous configurations as well. This of course, will depend on the type of cargo they are designed to haul. But some of the more common heavy duty truck types are:
- The van or Box trucks (or trailers) this is the most common heavy duty truck (trailer).
- Car carrier trailers are designed to haul multiple vehicles.
- Conestoga trailers, flatbed trailers with retractable roof and siding allowing for the cargo to be lifted by an overhead crane, but still protects the cargo from the elements.
- Curtain siders (not as common in the USA) similar to the box trailers, but the sides are movable waterproof curtains, combining the best features of the box and flatbed trailers.
- Dry bulk trailers look like tankers however, they’re used for sand, cement, and other such dry powder materials.
- Dump truck trailers allow one end to be raised, allowing the cargo to be ‘dumped’ out the backend.
- Flatbeds trucks and flatbed trailers are just that, a load floor usually, with removable side rails and a bulkhead. They are for anything that can be exposed natures elements.
- Hopper bottoms, these are typically for grain but can haul sand and other materials.
- Livestock trailers are used for the transportation of livestock (pigs, cows, sheep, etc.).
- Lowboy trailers are used to haul heavy equipment (bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, and etc.), the load floor is lower to the ground (hence the name).
- Refrigerator trailers and trucks have a reefer (heating/cooling unit) and are used for hauling frozen foods, plants, produce, and etc.
- Refrigerator tank trailers are used for transporting bulk liquids, like milk, water, juice and etc.
- Tanker trailers used for liquids as well, but things like oil, propane, gasoline and etc.
- Concrete trucks are generally used for the transportation of cement, from the plant to the construction site.
There are of course other types of trucks and trailers that are used for a variety of things such as the lumber industry or even the fracking wells have special trailers. But those listed above should be the most common.So as I said the heavy duty truck is designed to handle more weight. They have special requirements and their own regulatory bodies to enforce these special rules.
Typically the GVWR/GTWR ranges between 26001 to over 33000 pounds (11794 to over 14969 kilos).Sometimes you can find these trucks in medium weight but they might have special requirements depending on the nature of their use. But some of the more common heavy duty truck types are cement (mixer), dump trucks, garbage trucks, and the even popular 18-wheeler.
Usage for Heavy Duty Trucks
The heavy duty truck is the lifeblood of the nation. They are what get your products to market. Sure Santa can deliver around the world, in one night, with one sleigh, but the average trucking company lacks the magic touch and therefore needs dozens of trucks to make it happen!!
With all the ways and means of transportation, the heavy duty truck is still king. After all, we have cargo ships, barges, containers, airplanes, rail, bicycle couriers, and even drones. But they can only get the items so far.
It is the heavy duty truck that meets them at the dock or the railhead and then hauls it to the warehouse or wherever else.The heavy duty is what gets things to where they are needed the most.
From the inner city to the Washington lumber mills to the Canadian oil fields… Oh sure they could use a drone, but can you imagine how long it would take, one box at a time!
Importance of Heavy Duty Trucks for the American Economy
As you can see they are a key element in getting items from point A to point B. But a heavy duty truck and its driver are much more than that. As I said, they are the lifeblood of the US economy.
You might say no it is technology, or it is retail or oil or manufacturing, but you would only be partly right.People take it for granted that they go to work and they have everything they need. And when they get off work they go to the store and everything is there on the shelf. We go to the gas station and fill up our tanks.