Predictably, there’s no single job description that could encompass a commercial truck driver’s job. With so many types of truck driving jobs available, there are as many job descriptions as there are drivers on the road.
From working as a team to working alone, returning home every night to traveling the country for months at a time, truck drivers can often find a job that perfectly meets their needs. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular jobs in the field of commercial trucking.
Long Haul Drivers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 1.7 million commercial truck drivers in the United States in 2012. That statistic covers all types of drivers, but one of the most popular is the long haul driver. Also known as over the road drivers, this job entails driving heavy trucks for long periods of time. It could be interstate (which means driving through more than one state) or intrastate (put simply: driving only within one state). In some cases a long haul driver will drive a hundred, two hundred – or even more – miles per day and then return to their home that night, while others will stay away overnight or even days and weeks at a time. Some long haul drivers work alone and others work in teams.
You may hear local drivers also referred to as pick-up and delivery or P&D drivers. They can work with light, medium, or heavy duty trucks, and work in either route-sales or pick-up-and-delivery projects. They work more directly with customers than other types of commercial truckers, and generally make numerous stops every day. In many cases, a P&D driver may need sales skills in conjunction with his or her driving skills.
Specialized Truck Drivers
This type of trucking includes drivers who handle oversized, unusual, or otherwise sensitive loads. Routes could be either local or long-distance, but one thing is common to all who work in this sector: extra training is needed to operate this equipment safely and correctly. Some examples of specialized truck driving include:
- Dry bulk carriers
- Oversize/overweight loads
- Double and triple trailers
- Auto carriers
Note that additional permits may be required for these specialized truck driving jobs.
Drivers of Hazardous Materials
This type of commercial truck driver also needs additional training. They need to understand the content of the loads they haul, how to handle these loads in a safe manner, and what to do if an emergency should arise. They must take an additional test when they apply for their CDL. If they pass, then they’re a certified hazardous materials driver. Some examples of hazardous materials drivers include:
- Drivers of tank trucks
- Long haul drivers
- P&D drivers carrying hazardous materials
When a driver owns his or her own equipment, they’re considered an owner/operator, otherwise known as an independent driver. Their equipment could include anything from a flat-bed tractor-trailer to a straight truck. They haul freight on a contractual basis.
It’s common for owner/operator drivers to work in teams, especially if they work in the household goods industry, which generally requires more than one person to load and unload the truck. Like any business, it’s possible to make a great living, but competition can be tight and there can be many overhead expenses including:
It’s common for a truck driver to begin as a salaried driver for a large company and then move on to owning their own business as they learn more about the industry first hand.
100 hours into training with Werner. 200 to go!! Thanks Donja!!!!
Posted by Kent Holcomb on Friday, March 5, 2010
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