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      Truck: Truck: Truck Design - UNITED STATES & CANADA
    Posted on Wednesday, October 20 @ 22:16:55 UTC by Cars
      Truck, Trucks UNITED STATES & CANADA With the stepping up of the Interstate highway network during the 1950s and '60s road transport overtook rail freight in America. In the late '30s the railways dominated freight movement but over 35 years that has been reversed. Road improvements enabled larger and more efficient trucks to be introduced. Many states allowed "doubles" outfits with two 12.2m/40ft trailers on a total of nine axles. These could gross over 60 tons and had high-power engines to maintain the 32kph/ 20mph minimum speed limit. Gasoline engines remained popular in America long after most countries had switched to diesel. The fuel crisis of the early "70s led to the decline of big, thirsty gasoline engines. A 16.8m/55ft length limit applied in many states while axle weights and bridge formulas, which stipulate minimum legal outer axle spreads, vary from state to state. In some cases truck and trailer combinations have very long drawbars to achieve the required outer axle spread. Michigan is noted for its liberal weight laws where rigs with 11 axles can gross over 74 tons, These have earned the nickname "centipedes".

    While the majority of big Class 8 trucks are typical five-axled eighteen-wheelers, there are other types popular in certain states. One of these is the dromedary outfit, which consists of an artic with a very long tractor with its own van body. Such tractors can have three or four axles. Trucks engaged on long hauls must conform to the regulations in each state they enter or cross. Such are the variations in laws that the truck industry is geared to custom building. Unlike those in the UK and Europe, American manufacturers do not list standard specifications, but offer a wide choice of available options. This is generally referred to as a "modular build" approach. East Coast rigs are generally workmanlike outfits. Mack and Volvo being popular makes, while the West Coast is dominated by glamorous long-nosed conventionals from Kenworth, Peterbilt and Western Star. The vast distances and extreme climatic variations encountered by long U-haul truckers in the States put extra demands on both driver and truck. To cope with this, must long-haul rigs have vvell-appointed sleepers that are like motor homes compared to the cramped sleeper cabs seen in Europe. The American trucker has long been regarded as the modern-day cowboy-a resourceful free spirit upholding the legends of the great pioneers. This glamorous association, particularly true on the West Coast, has reached far beyond the shores of the United States-many trucks drives in the UK and Europe emulate the "steel cowboy" image that is particularly string in the Netherlands,where truckers takes enormous pride in their rigs. Australia and New Zealand have also developed their own trucking culture along Amercan lines Canada's trucking industry parallels that of the United States to some extend, in that operators are faced with similar legislative differences between one province and another. Over the years trucking has overtaken rail freight. Trucks benefit from greater flexibility especially in accessing remote regions. Operators running to the Northwest Territories face extremely cold conditions and the climate varies greatly over such a huge country. High-powered doubles outfits are a common sight in most parts of Canada, some provinces allowing gross weights of up to 70 tons. Canadian doubles are usually of the B train type, consisting of two semis linked by a fifth wheel, while in the United States A trains, basically artics hitched to drawbar trailers, are more common. In the past two decades there has been a marked increase in the use of dual-steer straight trucks hauling drawbar trailers, especially in British Columbia and the northwest of the United States. Canada is also noted for its four and five-axled concrete mixers. Most impressive of all are the massive logging trucks, particularly evident in British Columbia.
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