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Trucks and cars have much in common mechanically as well as ancestrally. One link between them is the steam-powered fardier Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who built it in 1769. Unfortunately for him, steam trucks were not really common until the mid 1800's. While looking at this practically, it would be much harder to have a steam truck. This is mostly due to the fact that the roads of the time were built for horse and carriages. Steam trucks were left to very short hauls, usually from a factory to the nearest railway station. In 1881, the first semi-trailer appeared, and it was in fact towed by a steam tractor manufactured by De Dion-Bouton. Steam-powered trucks were sold in France and in the United States, apparently until the eve of World War I. Also, at the beginning of World War II in the United Kingdom, they were known as 'steam wagons'.
There are certain characteristics of a truck that makes it an "off-road truck". They generally standard, extra heavy-duty highway-legal trucks. Although legal, they have off-road features like front driving axle and special tires for applying it to tasks such as logging and construction. The purpose-built off-road vehicles are unconstrained by weighing limits, such as the Libherr T 282B mining truck.
DOT officers of each state are generally in charge of the enforcement of the Hours of Service (HOS). These are sometimes checked when CMVs pass through weigh stations. Drivers found to be in violation of the HOS can be forced to stop driving for a certain period of time. This, in turn, may negatively affect the motor carrier's safety rating. Requests to change the HOS are a source of debate. Unfortunately, many surveys indicate drivers routinely get away with violating the HOS. Such facts have started yet another debate on whether motor carriers should be required to us EOBRs in their vehicles. Relying on paper-based log books does not always seem to enforce the HOS law put in place for the safety of everyone.
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.
Business routes generally follow the original routing of the numbered route through a city or town. Beginning in the 1930s and lasting thru the 1970s was an era marking a peak in large-scale highway construction in the United States. U.S. Highways and Interstates were typically built in particular phases. Their first phase of development began with the numbered route carrying traffic through the center of a city or town. The second phase involved the construction of bypasses around the central business districts of the towns they began. As bypass construction continued, original parts of routes that had once passed straight thru a city would often become a "business route".
The Federal-Aid Highway Amendments of 1974 established a federal maximum gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg). It also introduced a sliding scale of truck weight-to-length ratios based on the bridge formula. Although, they did not establish a federal minimum weight limit. By failing to establish a federal regulation, six contiguous in the Mississippi Valley rebelled. Becoming known as the "barrier state", they refused to increase their Interstate weight limits to 80,000 pounds. Due to this, the trucking industry faced a barrier to efficient cross-country interstate commerce.
Some trailers can be towed by an accessible pickup truck or van, which generally need no special permit beyond a regular license. Such examples would be enclosed toy trailers and motorcycle trailers. Specialized trailers like an open-air motorcycle trailer and bicycle trailers are accessible. Some trailers are much more accessible to small automobiles, as are some simple trailers pulled by a drawbar and riding on a single set of axles. Other trailers also have a variety, such as a utility trailer, travel trailers or campers, etc. to allow for varying sizes of tow vehicles.
Light trucks are classified this way because they are car-sized, yet in the U.S. they can be no more than 6,300 kg (13,900 lb). These are used by not only used by individuals but also businesses as well. In the UK they may not weigh more than 3,500 kg (7,700 lb) and are authorized to drive with a driving license for cars. Pickup trucks, popular in North America, are most seen in North America and some regions of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Although Europe doesn't seem to follow this trend, where the size of the commercial vehicle is most often made as vans.