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What is a bobtail truck and what is it used for?

June 20, 2011 by georgefonti · No Comments · AutoMobile

Truck drivers are famous for using slang to describe many things and their slang have become almost official terms in many instances. The word “bobtail” is just what it means’ an animal with a tail cut short, a bob cat with a shortened tail  or in the present context, a truck without a trailer where only the cab portion is present, making it look as if a part has been axed off. The term “bobtail” somehow got stuck and today truckers who are in the business of transporting and over hauling cargo have adapted the name “bobtail” for any commercial tanker or rig that is short in length. The US energy Department however has a different definition where the bobtail truck is used for transporting propane gas. In this particular instance, the truck does have a trailer but is comparatively shorter than any conventional trailer.

A bobtail truck can carry most anything that requires a powerful engine to haul it. It can be logs or livestock, vehicles or concrete, valuables, gasoline, and even pressurized gas. Some of the cargo carried in such tracks can be extremely hazardous and truck drivers are known to avoid such journeys or reject their tasks outright in view of the risks involved. Even if cargo such as huge logs or concrete beams is generally not regarded as risky, the road the drivers have to travel can make the job extremely dangerous. Narrow mountain roads that are not lit can even endanger the lives of truckers when a large trailer carrying heavy cargo has to be driven round steep corners. There are times when these drivers are called at various hours in the day or night to pull accident victims out of ditches or gorges, tasks that can be better performed by a bobtail truck provided the drivers are willing to do so.

Just any driver is not allowed to drive these vehicles; not even those who have license to drive heavy duty trucks and trailers. A special truck driver’s license is required to get behind the wheel of a bobtail truck and that’s not all. They’re fully responsible for the rig and have to carry out loading and unloading, work out weight calculations, check out the roads they have to navigate and maintain a log book in which all details of their trips are written down. As you may realize, driving a truck without a trailer is quite a different experience that has to be got used to. For those truck drivers who usually drive with a trailer it takes considerable time to get the knack of it and some complain that it’s more difficult than driving with a trailer.

Getting insurance for a bobtail truck is also an entirely different game. Anyone who owns a truck but leases it to another company to pull their trailer is not required to purchase full coverage but should have bobtail insurance to safeguard their truck.  On the other hand, even a bobtail truck has to travel on the road minus the trailer even if it’s to the garage or to his own home. This means he has to insure the cab so that he has insurance coverage as otherwise, any mishap or accident that takes place when the driver is not involved in transporting goods is bound to get him into trouble.

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