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Truck Driver Job Description


Trucker sitting in semi-truck
Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty Images

Truck driving jobs make up over three million jobs nationwide. In an intermodal system, 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. 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 pickup 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.

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.

Work environment: Truck driving is hard work. There are no two ways about it. 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, but it can be rewarding all at the same time.

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. So having said that, you may wonder why I also said it can be rewarding. If you think about the fact that without you, the driver, then consumers around the world would not be able to have ready access to what they want, or need. Some drivers haul non-essential products such as candy, tobacco or soda pop. Other drivers may haul essential products such as medical equipment, water and nutritious food stuffs.

During natural weather events such as floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, it is the truck drivers who are often first on scene with trailer loads of life saving product. It is a noble and necessary profession.

And fortunately for many, it is a profession in growing demand. The days of anyone being able to drive truck are past. With the onset of CSA, 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 in order 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), there were over three million truck driving jobs in 2008. Fifty-six percent of those involved heavy trucks. The BLS predicts a nine percent growth from 2008 to 2018. The BLS states that the median wage for heavy truck drivers, as of May 2008, was $17.92. My personal experience is that the wage for drivers is not consistent across the board. Some companies pay drivers by the hour, others pay by the load, and for that reason, it is hard to really state with any certainty what you can predict to make per hour. On average, the annual wage is around $60-$75,000. And it may be worth noting that the more you are willing to work (longer hauls, overnight routes, etc.) the more money you are likely to make.

Truck driving is a good career. It is an important function to the economy. Give honest consideration to it as your career choice.

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