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What is a Bobtail Truck?

What is a Bobtail Truck?

The term “bobtailing” originates from the bobtail cat which is a breed of cat with a naturally bobbed tail. These trucks are often used by the drivers to pick up their cargo at the beginning of a shift, or dropping their cargo off at the end of the shift.Therefore, you should not confuse the term with ‘deadheading’ which refers to trucks having attached trailers that are empty.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


 

In this article, we will answer all your questions related to bobtail trucks. What are the various types of bobtailing? Where did the bobtail truck get its name from? What is the cost of a bobtail truck? Why can bobtail trucks be dangerous? 

 

How Did The Term ‘Bobtail’ Come About?

There are two assumptions about how the term “Bobtail” originated for the trucks. 

  •  In the 19th-century song “Jingle Bells” composed by James Pierpont, the famous line “Bells on Bobtails ring,” is often connected to the origin of the Bobtailing term. 

          In the song, the term refers to the tail of the horse which is cut down to avoid getting tangled in the sleigh drawn by horses.

 

  • Another belief is that “bobtailing” originates from a type of cat having a short, bobbed tail. The bobtail truck without a trailer is similar looking to these cats. 

 

What Are The Specifications Of A Bobtail Truck?

Bobtail trucks are approximately 24 feet long, 13′4″ high, 96″ wide excluding the mirrors. The weight of the truck is about 20,000 pounds. The steer axle weighs approximately 10,000 pounds and the drive axles weigh around 8,500–9,000 pounds.

 

The trailer is roughly 15,000 pounds including the refrigeration unit on the front. The total weight of the cargo can be up to 44,000 pounds. It is to mention the maximum legal vehicle weight including the cargos can be up to 80,000 pounds.

 

What is a Bobtail Truck Used For?

A Bobtail truck is generally used for various cargo deliveries to homes, businesses, and over long distances, unlike traditional cargo trucks. These trucks are also great for transporting heavy objects, such as machinery and vehicles up to a certain weight. 

 During the 90s, people began to switch to industrial trucks in place of bobtails. But within a few years, such trucks proved to be unreliable and many issues started arising in terms of the quality and performance leading to discomfort for the driver and poor performance of the truck. 

Due to these alarming situations, people started switching back to the more durable Bobtail trucks.

 

What are the types of Bobtail trucks?

Small Bobtail Truck:

The size of these trucks ranges from small to medium and all their axles are connected to the same chassis. When these trucks are without trailers, they are called small bobtail trucks. 

Due to its size, the applications of these trucks are limited. The allowed weight for small bobtails ranges from lighter to medium-weighted objects such as transportation of bakery products, egg transportation, etc.

Straight Propane Truck:

 These trucks are modified small bobtail trucks. They have a tank on the rear side and are specially designed to carry propane and thus the name “Straight” propane truck. 

 

These tanks are round in shape and are designed in a way to maintain a desirable temperature and pressure while delivering propane. The tanks have a storage capacity ranging from 1000 to 5000 gallons. These types of trucks have air horns and are used extensively to deliver propane or gasoline to various industries and farms. 

 

Semi-Truck (also called Running Bobtail Truck):

There are two components of a semi-truck: the tractor unit and a trailer. A Running Bobtail truck is a smaller-sized semi-truck that does not have a trailer. The trailer is connected to the semi-truck by attaching a hitch to the tractor part of the vehicle.

 

Why Are Bobtail Trucks Considered Dangerous?

A lot of people believe dangers related to trucks are mainly because of the overload. While this is a significant point, bobtail trucks can be dangerous while driving because of many other reasons.

 

  • The speed of a bobtail can even exceed full loaded trucks which increases the chances of accidents and can be risky for the drivers.

 

  • The braking system of Bobtail trucks is a major concern as its power is limited due to lesser weights on the rear wheels. This is problematic as in general, the truck’s braking system works mainly on the rear wheels as its designs are concerned with loaded conditions. 

This is a major disadvantage for bobtail trucks and can lead the trucks to turn around the front wheels if the driver presses the brake hardly. 

  • Driving bobtail trucks can be extremely dangerous on wet roads as the frictional force between the tires and the road can decrease.

This can make the trucks skid and can lead to accidents.

 

 

  • The spring suspension is sometimes not compressible due to a lack of freight.
  • In industrial trucks, the front wheels have less load for providing proper control over the vehicle.

In the case of Bobtail trucks, the load configuration gets reversed and the load is more on the front wheels which makes it more difficult for the driver to control the vehicle.

  • Less weight on the rear wheel of the truck compromises the frictional force while riding on the road and can lead the truck to overturn while taking sharp turns.

 

Why Some Drivers Don’t Prefer Bobtail Trucks?

Truck drivers are given high security, bobtailing is still allowed by the law. Also, Bobtailing practice does not generate any revenue for truckers which can become stressful to them. Initially, truck drivers do not have enough skills and experience to drive bobtail trucks which generally requires more expertise due to its complex configurations.

As a result, there is always a higher risk of collision and a chance of an accident. It is especially difficult to drive these trucks on wet roads as friction reduces significantly, which can be exhausting for the drivers.

What Are The Rights of the Citizens After a Bobtail Truck Accident?

Although bobtail trucks are difficult to drive, it is still the driver’s responsibility to operate the truck safely and avoid any kinds of accidents.

 

The trucking company should also make sure their drivers are trained enough to operate these types of trucks. If anyone is injured due to the driver’s carelessness, they can file charges against both the driver and the authority owning the truck. In case of shared fault, the injured person can still charge the truck driver. Truck accidents can cause severe injuries and citizens have the right to be compensated for their medical expenditures and loss in earning capability. 

Insuring A Bobtail Truck – Everything You Need To Know

The trucking industry is a very important part of our economy. Businesses and individuals depend on truckers to deliver goods. The dependency on this industry is only growing over the years. Without trucking, no products will be transported leading to unavailability of goods for businesses and personal use.

Most trucks have a trailer attached to them for delivering products. But, sometimes the drivers are operating trucks without a trailer, this is called bobtailing.

Bobtail insurance is liability insurance for drivers that provides protection when you are driving bobtail trucks. It covers any accident costs and provides a sense of safety to you.

Who Needs Bobtail Truck insurance?

 

You need insurance if you are driving a bobtail truck. If the truck is under someone else’s authority, the carrier's insurance offers some protection. If you are hauling a trailer, you need individual insurance while driving.

 

You should take bobtail insurance in the following cases:

  • You want to prevent huge expenses and lawsuits in case of accidents.
  • You are driving a truck under someone else’s authority 
  • Your carrier asks you to carry the insurance

 

How Much Does Bobtail Insurance Cost?

 

The cost of bobtail insurance varies due to different factors. While providing the insurance coverage, insurance companies review various factors like driving history, frequency of trucks used, etc.

 Bobtail insurance roughly costs between $20 and $50 per month. Many insurance companies provide various endorsements to businesses for insurances. 

Some other factors that affect bobtail insurance are the history of claims, whether you are new in the industry or an experienced business, your annual receipts, how many trucks are under your name, how many employees you have, how are the driving records of your employees, etc. Your insurance premiums can vary due to these reasons. A bobtail insurance policy can vary for different insurance companies as well. Many companies specialize in bobtail coverage only and can provide you special rates. 

 

Here at Cash Car Buyers we also purchase old and damaged Bobtail trucks that are no longer capable of being used in the transport industry. Contact us today for a quote on your used Bobtail truck. 

 

The Bottom Line

In the rapidly growing trucking industry, Bobtailing has become an integral part of the industry. A semi-truck without a trailer is an important part of the transportation of goods between businesses and consumers. Without it, businesses will not be able to transport their products and consumers will not be able to receive their daily needs. 

 

Truck drivers usually load or unload trailers at some point of their rides and so almost every truck driver Bobtails for some duration of time.

 

But not everyone has the skills to drive these kinds of trucks at the beginning which can lead to accidents. Bobtail trucks are also more difficult to manage than other industrial trucks due to their structure which sometimes leads to accidents.

Thus many drivers do not prefer driving such trucks.

 

It is the best practice to have insurance for the drivers to provide them safety and also prevent unnecessary hassles in case of accidents.

 

Common Questions

Q.What is a bobtail truck?

A semi-truck without a trailer is called a bobtail truck. These are the trucks that are extensively used to deliver cargo to businesses, houses, etc. 

 

They are often confused with deadheading due to their similar looks but are different as bobtail trucks have no trailer while deadheading has an empty trailer.

 

Q.Why is it called a bobtail truck?

 

The bobtail truck got its name from the bobtail cats which are a type of cat breeds having short tails.

 

Another belief is the origin of the bobtail term came from the famous line “Bells of the Bobtail rings” of the 19th-century song named “Jingle Bells”.

This was later used to refer to the semi-trucks used for delivering objects.

 

Q.How much does a bobtail truck weigh?

The weight of the truck is around 20,000 pounds. The steer axle weighs around 10,000 pounds and the drive axles weigh around 8,500–9,000 pounds.

 

The trailer is roughly 15,000 pounds including the refrigeration unit on the front. The total weight of the cargo can be up to 44,000 pounds.

 

Q.What is bobtail insurance?

Bobtail insurance is liability insurance for drivers that provides protection when you are driving bobtail trucks. 

It covers any accident costs and provides a sense of safety to you. It is needed for anyone driving these trucks.

If you are driving the truck without a trailer under someone else’s authority, your employer’s insurance is enough for you but you might need personal coverage in some cases.

 

  1. How much does it cost to insure a bobtail truck?

 

Bobtail insurance roughly costs between $20 and $50 per month. Many insurance companies provide various endorsements to businesses for insurances. 

Some other factors that affect bobtail insurance are the history of claims, whether you are new in the industry or an experienced business, your annual receipts, how many trucks are under your name, etc. It also depends on the insurance company that is providing you the coverage.