What Is a Bob Tail Truck?

A bobtail truck refers to a semi truck without a trailer attached. This is a general term for a truck that is used to transport cargo.


A bobtail truck may carry bulk liquid, pressurized gas, vehicles, valuables, cash, concrete, livestock, logs and many other things that need a powerful engine to haul. Truck drivers choose which items they are willing and not willing to haul. Refrigerated bobtail trucks are specifically designed to keep cargo at a cool temperature for transporting food and other temperature-sensitive items.


Certain jobs, like logging and construction jobs, require drivers to travel narrow mountain roads. In a large bobtail truck, this can become very difficult and even life threatening under certain conditions. Other truck drivers, such as tow truck drivers, work hard hours and stay on call all day and night. They never know when someone will need to be towed from an accident scene or pulled out of a ditch. Any of these extreme conditions may provoke a bobtail truck driver to refuse certain jobs or cargo.

Driver Responsibilities

Drivers for these heavy duty vehicles must have a separate truck driver’s license in order to get behind the wheel of a bobtail truck. In addition to the driver’s license, truckers must maintain and operate this big rig. This includes loading and unloading, keeping a log book with trip details, navigating hazardous roads and performing weight calculations.