I’ve never driven a truck larger than class 6. I think. It might have been class 5. Wait, did it weigh 26,000 pounds or 26,001? I’m not sure and it doesn’t matter. Because what does matter is that you know the different classes, and how they affect interstate and government regulations. For example, your community could receive greater consideration for infrastructure improvement such as highways and bridges due to the amount of freight shipped on your roads by larger trucks. So, what is the top of the trucking class?

The FAST Act

One example of why it’s important to understand freight classifications and how they might impact your city or town is the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act). “The FAST Act authorizes $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for highway, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology, and statistics programs. The FAST Act maintains our focus on safety, keeps intact the established structure of the various highway-related programs we manage, continues efforts to streamline project delivery and, for the first time, provides a dedicated source of federal dollars for freight projects. With the enactment of the FAST Act, states and local governments are now moving forward with critical transportation projects with the confidence that they will have a federal partner over the long term.” — FHWA (Federal Highway Association) FAST Act.

Why is the Weight Gross?

Okay, you’ve heard of truck classifications but don’t know the difference between a Class 3 and a Class 12 (it might be because there is no Class 12). It’s simple, because it all has to do with weight, but not only what the truck weighs (curb weight) but also the weight of what it carries – passengers, freight, and trailers

“GVWR can be used to calculate many things like payload and towing capacity. Payload capacity is calculated by taking a truck’s GVWR and subtracting the weight of the truck from it. An example would be a truck with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds and when set on a scale the truck weighs 7,500 pounds – meaning the payload capacity of the truck would be 2,500 pounds.” — Real Truck Guide

“The GVWR is a safety standard used to prevent overloading. The vehicle manufacturer determines the maximum acceptable weight limits by considering the combined weight of the strongest weight bearing components, i.e. the axles, and the weaker components, for example, the vehicle body, frame, ​suspension, and tires.” — The Balance: Commercial Vehicle Classification.

Is it High Class?

Trucks range from class 1, which are ½ ton pick-ups such as a Toyota Tacoma or a Dodge Dakota, to Class 8 — tractors & trailers, and everything in-between. So, does your truck have class? Yes it does, and here are the classifications.

Light Duty

  • Class 1 — 0-6000 pounds – Example: Toyota Tacoma
  • Class 2 — 6,001 to 10,000 pounds – Example: Ford F-150
  • Class 3 — 10,001 to 14,000 pounds Example: GMC Sierra

Medium Duty

  • Class 4 — 14,001 to 16,000 pounds – Example: Dodge Ram 4500
  • Class 5 — 16,001 to 19,500 pounds – Example: International MXT
  • Class 6 — 19,501 to 26,000 pounds – Example: Ford F-650

Heavy Duty

  • Class 7 — 26,001 to 33,000 pounds – Example: GMC C7500
  • Class 8 — 33,000 pounds – Example: all tractor trailers

*compiled from Wikipedia.

Why’s it Important to Know the Top of the Trucking Class?

It’s important to know the top of the trucking class because truck classifications affect taxes and regulations as well as road maintenance.

Specialized drivers licenses are required to drive higher classified trucks, and if you don’t think that’s important consider this. The trucking industry is short of drivers. Therefore, for what might be the first time ever here are, empty-seaters, trucks without drivers. So, if this continues you might have to wait, longer and pay more for food, medical supplies, and fuel.

And as I stated earlier heavy trucks using your local highways could impact federal grants for infrastructure projects.

So, take a minute review the list of classifications, and remembers trucks have class!