Follow a Typical Day For a Truck Driver

Truck driver working on laptop computer inside cab of semi truck

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Truck driving jobs make up over three million jobs nationwide. There are four primary types of shipping: air, rail, ships, and trucks. Of these four shipping modes, trucks are the most versatile, therefore the most crucial and most prominent. With small exception, nearly every product sold spends at least a portion of its transportation time a commercial motor vehicle.

The truck driver is employed to either pick up freight or deliver it. In some cases, shipments may need to be unloaded by hand by the driver, although this is usually not the case. At all times a commercial motor driver must follow all Department of Transportation laws and regulations and all truck drivers must possess a commercial driver's license.

The Life of a Truck Driver

It is a driver's job to know what road he or she can travel, and not all roads are truck routes. Also, while it is reasonable to assume that such roads would be clearly marked as non-truck routes, that is not always the case. Therefore, a driver must take time in preparation of his or her route to determine which roads they can use.

Truck driving is hard work. A driver spends up to 11 hours each day sitting alone behind a steering wheel, dealing with customers, vendors, other truck drivers, and non-commercial drivers. It can be grueling and can even take a toll on your health. Drivers also spend long periods of time away from their homes and families. They are required to work at night, on the weekends and on holidays at times.

During natural weather events such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, it is the truck drivers who are often first on the scene with trailer loads of life-saving products. 

Demand for Truck Drivers

The trucking industry has a growing demand for truck drivers, and many companies are having difficulty finding licensed drivers. With the onset of the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program, only safe drivers are allowed on the roads these days. And there is a strong need to replace drivers who have been taken off the road for repeated safety violations.

A truck driver is a skilled profession. Meaning, all drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) require a commercial driver's license (CDL). Therefore, a truck driver must obtain the necessary training to receive a CDL. Some drivers will opt for a truck driving school, others may learn at a vocational school, and there are some companies that will provide on-the-job training.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the trucking and freight industries are expected to grow about three percent over the next decade. The national average annual salary for a driver as of May 2017 was $42,470, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $27,510, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $64,000. Wages can vary widely depending on the location. Some drivers are not salaried and instead are paid by the hour or by miles traveled. The more you are willing to work the less appealing hauls, such as overnight routes or holiday shipments, the more money you are likely to make.

Truck driving is a good career in the sense that it is stable, the industry is growing, and that it provides a family with a steady income.