With some 70 percent of the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. traveling by truck, it’s clear that truck drivers play a vital role in the American economy. Is truck driving something that you would excel at? As is often the case when you’re exploring something new, the best way to find out is to ask lots of questions. What questions should you ask? Why not start with the ones found in this truck driver FAQ?
Truck Driver FAQ
What qualities do truck drivers need?
Men and women of all ages can find success as truck drivers if they possess the necessary qualities. While excellent driving skills are an obvious must, truck drivers also need to be responsible, dependable, and able to work independently. In addition, they must be self-motivated and possess a positive attitude.
What training is required?
Being a truck driver doesn’t require a college degree, but most companies prefer that drivers hold at least a high school diploma. In addition, truck drivers are expected to complete a program at a professional truck-driving school and earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL). In some cases, drivers must also earn endorsements that signify their ability to handle specific tasks like haul hazardous materials, drive tankers, or transport multiple passengers.
How much do truck drivers earn?
During their first year on the job, novice truck drivers generally earn between $30,000 and $35,000. With experience, this typically increases to between $40,000 and $55,000, but it’s certainly possible to earn more. In addition to their paycheck, many truck drivers also enjoy benefit packages.
How are truck drivers paid?
While this varies from company to company, most truck drivers are paid by the mile. Some employers pay for practical miles, which means that their drivers are paid for the actual number of miles they drive. Other companies pay for paid miles. This means they pay for a set number of miles for each trip; the actual distance can be very different from the predetermined distance.
How long are truck drivers away from home?
The amount of time spent away from home depends on the type of trucking a driver is doing. Individuals who are doing over-the-road jobs often spend six weeks or more away from home. Truckers who work regional routes typically return home weekly. Drivers who have local routes can often go home every night. Beginning drivers will generally have to accept longer over-the-road jobs, but as drivers gain experience, they are often able to shift into regional or local jobs if they want to do so.
What items should truck drivers bring on the road?
Drivers who spend long stretches on the road can bring at least some of the comforts of home with them in their truck. Personal items, a smart phone, a gaming system or laptop for entertainment during overnight stays, some form of refrigeration, and small microwaves are common picks. Some companies also allow drivers to bring along a pet or a single rider, but this varies from company to company.
What shouldn’t truck drivers bring on drives?
Alcohol, drugs, and firearms are prohibited in virtually every situation. Trucking companies often have other restrictions, so it’s best to review a company’s policy before hitting the road.
Do truck drivers have time for sightseeing?
Since truck drivers are paid by the mile, it’s unsurprising that the bulk of their time is spent driving from point A to point B. However, the number of hours that truck drivers can operate a vehicle before taking a mandated rest period is strictly regulated. Drivers who have learned how to manage their time effectively can generally fit time to explore the area into their schedule.
We couldn’t answer every question related to the industry in this truck driver FAQ. So if you find the idea of starting a career as a truck driver intriguing, contact a truck-driving school or speak with someone already working in the field to learn more.
For example, you might want to check out Double “S” Transport, a FedEx Ground contractor based in Springfield, Missouri. We offer team driving, dedicated runs, and extra board runs. All of our runs are drop and hook, and we pay 100% of miles from hub to hub. Our drivers average 50.5 to 52.5 cents per mile (CPM) and can earn as much as $1,650 a week. Plus, we offer tuition reimbursement, health benefits (including dental and vision), vacation days, and 401k plans after 60 days of employment. For more information or to ask more truck driver FAQ, call us today at 417-873-9121 or contact us here.