What Is a Bobtail Truck?

Home / FAQ / Truck Accident FAQ / What Is a Bobtail Truck?

A woman is pictured smiling while driving a bobtail truck.

With over 200,000 registered semi-trailer vehicles in North Carolina alone and more simply passing through, semi-trailer trucks are not difficult to find on our roads and highways. Bobtail trucks are essential to our economy, yet they also endanger other drivers’ safety.

Due to their enormous size, semi-trailer vehicles frequently result in catastrophic injuries in collisions. To keep our roads as safe as possible, truck drivers require additional training and regulations. Nevertheless, truck accidents are regrettably still frequent. The likelihood of an accident increases if the truck is bobbing. When a semi-truck does not have a trailer hitched to it, it is in “bobtail” mode. Truck drivers frequently operate a bobtail truck whether they are en route to pick up their cargo at the start of a shift or when they are leaving it behind at the end.

It’s important to distinguish between bobtailing and “deadheading,” which refers to towing an empty trailer.

Bobtail Truck Accident in North Carolina

Although there are strict safety requirements for truck drivers, bobtailing is not illegal. After all, every truck eventually has to travel without any cargo. Additionally, despite receiving specialized training for the job, truck drivers frequently lack experience operating bobtail vehicles, which demands higher levels of ability and knowledge to operate correctly. As a result, there is a greater chance of collision and injury to other motorists. If you have been injured due to a bobtail truck accident in North Carolina, do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced truck accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters.’

The Origin of the Word “Bobtail Truck”

Some claim that the Christmas song “Jingle Bells” is where the term “bobtail” originated. However, some argue that it also has cat-breed roots. James Pierpont wrote “Jingle Bells” in the nineteenth century. Some claim that one of its lines, “Bells on Bobtails ring,” is where the phrase “bobtail truck” originated. The term “bobtail” in this song refers to the horsetail that was clipped to keep it from getting caught in the sleigh. However, some individuals think that it originated from a cat breed with short tails. The appearance of a semi-truck without a trailer attached is similar to that of a short-tailed cat.

Size of Bobtail Trucks

Typically, a bobtail truck is 24 feet long.  With two drivers, loaded gasoline and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tanks, and other items, it weighs about 20,000 pounds. The steer axle of the truck usually weighs 10,000 pounds. The weight of the drive axles varies from 8,500 to 9,000 pounds at the same time. A bobtail semi-overall truck’s weight varies. Everything is dependent on the specifications, especially the sleeper cab’s size.

Bobtail Truck Types

The types of bobtail trucks are numerous. They consist of the following:

1. Running Bobtail or Semi Truck

We previously defined a bobtail truck as a semi-truck without any cargo attached to it. A Running Bobtail Truck is, therefore, a small-size semi-truck without a trailer.

The term “semi-truck” refers to two distinct things. These consist of the trailer and the tractor unit. The tractor unit is connected to the trailer by a fifth-wheel-style hitch.

2. Miniature Bobtail Truck

The same chassis frequently join axles on small to medium-sized semi-trucks. Small Bobtail Trucks are the name given to these trucks when they don’t have any trailers attached.

These trucks are often only used for light- or medium-weighted cargoes. These trucks are generally used for carrying dumps or transporting bakery goods, eggs, or both.

3. Straight Propane Truck

Simple propane conversions can be made to small semi-trucks. Tanks can be installed on the truck’s back bed. Tanks with rounded shapes help their contents to keep a stable temperature and pressure while being transported. These tanks can hold about 5,000 gallons of liquid. Propane trucks are absolutely necessary when transferring propane or gasoline to gas stations or auto dealers.

What Makes Bobtail Trucks Risky?

Despite not having a large trailer behind it, a bobtail truck poses a greater risk to other motorists. This seems contradictory for individuals who believe trucks with larger weights put them in greater danger. Bobtail trucks are riskier since they are more challenging to maneuver and brake. Therefore, truck drivers must exercise extreme caution when operating a bobtail truck to prevent collisions. Trucks are made to tow hefty trailers, which is what they typically do. As a result, the majority of their stopping force is located in the trailer’s rear axle. When a vehicle is configured as a bobtail, there is relatively little weight over the rear axle, which reduces braking power.

Instead, a bobtail truck’s front wheels—whose primary function is steering rather than braking—carry the bulk of the vehicle’s weight. Because of this, bobtail trucks are more likely to skid out when making sharp turns or tight curves. Bobtail trucks, despite weighing less, frequently have a greater stopping distance for the same reason. Operating a bobtail truck is particularly risky on twisting roads and during inclement weather.

The Perils Of Bobtailing

Although “bobtailing” is permitted for vehicles, significant dangers are involved. You might assume that a vehicle without a trailer would be simpler to maneuver since there is less weight and size. However, because of decreased grip on the back wheels, bobtail vehicles are more difficult to control and stop. The brakes on a semi-truck are made to function best when the truck is fully loaded.

How To Prevent A Bobtail Truck Accident

Truck drivers should be able to operate a bobtail truck, especially those with greater expertise. Driving cautiously in bad weather and using the right amount of braking pressure on slippery roads can help you prevent a serious collision. Drivers should slow down and increase the space between them and other oncoming traffic when bobtailing. Keep an eye on your surroundings and avoid driving too closely when a bobtail truck is in the area.

What Rights Do I Have Following a Bobtail Truck Accident?

Bobtail trucks may be more challenging to manage, but it is still the driver’s duty to drive carefully and avoid endangering others. Additionally, the trucking company must ensure that its drivers are well-trained and are not hurried or overworked. Whether the driver was bobtailing or not, if you are hurt in a collision with a truck due to their negligence, you may file a lawsuit against both the driver and their employer. Long-lasting injuries and even lifelong disabilities can result from truck accidents. You are entitled to reimbursement for your medical expenses, missed wages, and diminished earning potential. Additionally, you might be compensated for your suffering.

North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer

Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ truck accident lawyers have experience handling all types of vehicle accidents, including those involving bobtail trucks. If you have been hurt in a collision, our team can help you through the legal system and get the most money possible. Do not hesitate to call our office at (800) 529-0804 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.

Defective components, poor maintenance, and driver errors are just a few of the numerous potential causes of truck accidents. It can be particularly difficult when a truck accident results from driver error and could have been avoided. In addition, following a truck accident, one may have to deal with a challenging rehabilitation process and mounting medical debt from required treatments and therapies.Strong counsel is required for severe injuries. Our lawyers have the knowledge necessary to maintain your rights and safeguard them. Our attorneys will ensure that you receive the greatest compensation possible if you sustained severe injuries due to someone else’s negligence. We’ll put in the utmost effort to ensure you get the best result possible.

Request a call back