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A semi-trailer is almost exactly what it sounds like, it is a trailer without a front axle. Proportionally, its weight is supported by two factors. The weight falls upon a road tractor or by a detachable front axle assembly, known as a dolly. Generally, a semi-trailer is equipped with legs, known in the industry as "landing gear". This means it can be lowered to support it when it is uncoupled. In the United States, a trailer may not exceed a length of 57 ft (17.37 m) on interstate highways. However, it is possible to link two smaller trailers together to reach a length of 63 ft (19.20 m).

In American English, the word "truck" has historically been preceded by a word describing the type of vehicle, such as a "tanker truck". In British English, preference would lie with "tanker" or "petrol tanker".

A boat trailer is a trailer designed to launch, retrieve, carry and sometimes store boats.

Prior to the 20th century, freight was generally transported overland via trains and railroads. During this time, trains were essential, and they were highly efficient at moving large amounts of freight. But, they could only deliver that freight to urban centers for distribution by horse-drawn transport. Though there were several trucks throughout this time, they were used more as space for advertising that for actual utility. At this time, the use of range for trucks was quite challenging. The use of electric engines, lack of paved rural roads, and small load capacities limited trucks to most short-haul urban routes.

Alongside the many different trailers provided are motorcycle trailers. They are designed to haul motorcycles behind an automobile or truck. Depending on size and capability, some trailer may be able to carry several motorcycles or perhaps just one. They specifically designed this trailer to meet the needs of motorcyclists. They carry motorcycles, have ramps, and include tie-downs. There may be a utility trailer adapted permanently or occasionally to haul one or more motorcycles.

A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required to operate large or heavy vehicles.

As we've learned the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was crucial in the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Described as an interconnected network of the controlled-access freeway. It also allowed larger trucks to travel at higher speeds through rural and urban areas alike. This act was also the first to allow the first federal largest gross vehicle weight limits for trucks, set at 73,208 pounds (33,207 kg). The very same year, Malcolm McLean pioneered modern containerized intermodal shipping. This allowed for the more efficient transfer of cargo between truck, train, and ships.

Beginning the the early 20th century, the 1920's saw several major advancements. There was improvement in rural roads which was significant for the time. The diesel engine, which are 25-40% more efficient than gas engines were also a major breakthrough. We also saw the standardization of truck and trailer sizes along with fifth wheel coupling systems. Additionally power assisted brakes and steering developed. By 1933, all states had some form of varying truck weight regulation.

In the United States, a commercial driver's license is required to drive any type of commercial vehicle weighing 26,001 lb (11,794 kg) or more. In 2006 the US trucking industry employed 1.8 million drivers of heavy trucks.

The Federal Bridge Law handles relations between the gross weight of the truck, the number of axles, and the spacing between them. This is how they determine is the truck can be on the Interstate Highway system. Each state gets to decide the maximum, under the Federal Bridge Law. They determine by vehicle in combination with axle weight on state and local roads

The interstate moving industry in the United States maintains regulation by the FMCSA, which is part of the USDOT. With only a small staff (fewer than 20 people) available to patrol hundreds of moving companies, enforcement is difficult. As a result of such a small staff, there are in many cases, no regulations that qualify moving companies as 'reliable'. Without this guarantee, it is difficult to a consumer to make a choice. Although, moving companies can provide and often display a DOT license.

The FMCSA has established rules to maintain and regulate the safety of the trucking industry. According to FMCSA rules, driving a goods-carrying CMV more than 11 hours or to drive after having been on duty for 14 hours, is illegal. Due to such heavy driving, they need a break to complete other tasks such as loading and unloading cargo, stopping for gas and other required vehicle inspections, as well as non-working duties such as meal and rest breaks. The 3-hour difference between the 11-hour driving limit and 14 hour on-duty limit gives drivers time to take care of such duties. In addition, after completing an 11 to 14 hour on duty period, the driver much be allowed 10 hours off-duty.

In 1991 the film "Thelma & Louise" premiered, rapidly becoming a well known movie. Throughout the movie, a dirty and abrasive truck driver harasses the two women during chance encounters. Author Michael Dunne describes this minor character as "fat and ignorant" and "a lustful fool blinded by a delusion of male superiority". Thelma and Louise exact their revenge by feigning interest in him and then blowing up his tanker truck full of gas.

The American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) was organized and founded on December 12, 1914. On November 13, 1973, the name was altered to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. This slight change in name reflects a broadened scope of attention towards all modes of transportation. Despite the implications of the name change, most of the activities it is involved in still gravitate towards highways.

Although there are exceptions, city routes are interestingly most often found in the Midwestern area of the United States. Though they essentially serve the same purpose as business routes, they are different. They feature "CITY" signs as opposed to "BUSINESS" signs above or below route shields. Many of these city routes are becoming irrelevant for today's transportation. Due to this, they are being eliminated in favor of the business route designation.

Unfortunately for the trucking industry, their image began to crumble during the latter part of the 20th century. As a result, their reputation suffered. More recently truckers have been portrayed as chauvinists or even worse, serial killers. The portrayals of semi-trailer trucks have focused on stories of the trucks becoming self-aware. Generally, this is with some extraterrestrial help.

Driver's licensing has coincided throughout the European Union in order to for the complex rules to all member states. Driving a vehicle weighing more than 7.5 tons (16,535 lb) for commercial purposes requires a certain license. This specialist licence type varies depending on the use of the vehicle and number of seat. Licences first acquired after 1997, the weight was reduced to 3,500 kilograms (7,716 lb), not including trailers.

Heavy trucks. A cement mixer is an example of Class 8 heavy trucks. 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 6×4 and 4x2 tractor units. Road damage and wear increase very rapidly with the axle weight. The axle weight is the truck weight divided by the number of axles, but the actual axle weight depends on the position of the load over the axles. 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 over 50 tons (49 long tons; 55 short tons).

With the ending of World War I, several developments were made to enhance trucks. Such an example would be by putting pneumatic tires replaced the previously common full rubber versions. These advancements continued, including electric starters, power brakes, 4, 6, and 8 cylinder engines. Closed cabs and electric lighting followed. The modern semi-trailer truck also debuted. Additionally, touring car builders such as Ford and Renault entered the heavy truck market.