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 transport on a commercial motor vehicle.
The truck driver is employed to either pick up or deliver freight.
Shipments may need to be hand unloaded by the driver, although this is not always the case. A commercial motor driver must follow all Department of Transportation laws and regulations.
A truck driver must possess a commercial driver's license in most cases.
The Life of a Truck Driver
It is a driver's job to know what road he or she can travel. Not all roads are truck routes. And 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 are the best roads to travel.
Truck driving is hard work. A driver spends up to 11 hours each day sitting 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 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 product. It's an essential position necessary for our economy.
Demand for Truck Drivers
The trucking industry has a growing demand for truck drivers, and many are having difficulty finding licensed drivers. With the onset of the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program, only safe drivers are 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 is approximately $60,000, though that amount can vary widely depending on your location. Some drivers are not salaried and are instead 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 that it is stable, the industry is growing and that it provides a family-sustaining income. It is also an important function for the economy.