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The intention of a trailer coupler is to secure the trailer to the towing vehicle. It is an important piece, as the trailer couple attaches to the trailer ball. This then forms a ball and socket connection. It allows for relative movement between the towing vehicle and trailer while towing over uneven road surfaces. The trailer ball should be mounted to the rear bumper or to a drawbar, which may be removable. The drawbar secures to the trailer hitch by inserting it into the hitch receiver and pinning it. The three most common types of couplers used are straight couplers, A-frame couplers, and adjustable couplers. Another option is bumper-pull hitches in which case draw bars can exert a large amount of leverage on the tow vehicle. This makes it harder to recover from a swerving situation (thus it may not be the safest choice depending on your trip).
In 1999, The Simpsons episode Maximum Homerdrive aired. It featured Homer and Bart making a delivery for a truck driver named Red after he unexpectedly dies of 'food poisoning'.
Another film released in 1975, White Line Fever, also involved truck drivers. It tells the story of a Vietnam War veteran who returns home to take over his father's trucking business. But, he soon finds that corrupt shippers are trying to force him to carry illegal contraband. While endorsing another negative connotation towards the trucking industry, it does portray truck drivers with a certain wanderlust.
During the latter part of the 20th century, we saw a decline of the trucking culture. Coinciding with this decline was a decline of the image of truck drivers, as they became negatively stigmatized. As a result of such negativity, it makes sense that truck drivers were frequently portrayed as the "bad guy(s)" in movies.
The American Trucking Associations initiated in 1985 with the intent to improve the industry's image. With public opinion declining the association tried numerous moves. One such move was changing the name of the "National Truck Rodeo" to the "National Driving Championship". This was due to the fact that the word rodeo seemed to imply recklessness and reckless driving.
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 the United States, commercial truck classification is fixed by each vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). There are 8 commercial truck classes, ranging between 1 and 8. Trucks are also classified in a more broad way by the DOT's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The FHWA groups them together, determining classes 1-3 as light duty, 4-6 as medium duty, and 7-8 as heavy duty. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has its own separate system of emission classifications for commercial trucks. Similarly, the United States Census Bureau had assigned classifications of its own in its now-discontinued Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS, formerly known as the Truck Inventory and Use Survey).
As the American Interstate Highway System began to expand in the 1950's, the trucking industry began to take over a large market share. That is, a large share of the transportation of goods throughout the country. Before this era, trains had been relied on to transport the bulk of the goods cross country or state to state. The Interstate Highway System was influential as it allows for merchandise to travel door to door with ease. Since then, truckload carriers have taken advantage of the interstate system, especially when performing a long distance move. Typically, they bring the merchandise from one distribution center of the country to another part of the country. The increase in truckload freight transportation has reduced the time it takes to transport the goods. Whether the freight was manufactured or produced for the different areas internationally, the time it takes to transport goods has decreased dramatically.