There are several options for commercial truck driving jobs. The long-haul eighteen-wheel rigs you see on the highways requires extensive training and a Class A license. Some trucking companies prefer to train new drivers themselves, while others require a Class A upon application.
For ‘straight trucks’, buses, and similar vehicles, this requires a Class B license. There are also different endorsement options available for those who would like to pursue various careers. For example, a passenger endorsement is required to drive buses while a hazmat (hazardous materials) endorsement is required to haul dangerous cargo.
The average salary for a first-time truck driver is around $40,000 but it increases every year, and some companies also offer bonuses. The more dangerous the job, the higher the pay, but the greater the risks while working. Truck drivers can earn more money if they get certifications and training for driving these types of loads:
- Flatbed Trailers
- Refrigerated Trailers
Dangers of Long Haul Truck Driving
Some of the risks involved in working as a truck driver include long hours in a sitting position which can cause pain and injury over time. Since the work is quite sedentary it can also promote an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity. Some trucking companies are attempting to combat these issues by implementing exercise programs and diet trackers with Fitbits. Road food has never been healthy, but with the recent boom in health foods becoming available in truck stops and convenience stores everywhere, these problems may soon become a thing of the past.
For long-haul truckers, things like highway hypnosis and exhaustion can be a real problem. Not only is this dangerous for the drivers, but for the other travelers on the highway. Highway hypnosis or white-line fever is when a driver pilots their vehicle great distances with no memory of having done so. This type of sleeping with the eyes open can be very dangerous and also frightening for the driver. Companies looking to get the most out of their drivers, and drivers trying to make as much money as possible, do a disservice to themselves by working to the point of exhaustion. This is also changing within the industry as awake and aware workers are more productive and safer than exhausted ones.
Many trucking companies do not necessarily require applicants to have experience in advance of application. This is because they prefer to train new employees themselves in order to promote familiarity with the vehicles they use. Some companies even have schools which will award the CDL upon completion, with the agreement that drivers will work for them until the cost of education has been paid off. This is a good option for the inexperienced truck driver who is looking to make the next step in their career since the contract guarantees a job for successful students.
Truck drivers who choose to become self-employed can buy or lease their own trucks. This gives them the flexibility of becoming an owner operator and the option to choose their own loads.
There is a shortage of commercial truck drivers at present, and it is a rewarding job for many people. The opportunity to see the country for those interested in long-haul, or just to provide for their family at a decent wage for those interested in the Class B straight truck option, makes truck driving a good choice for people who like both solitude and travel. The positives far outweigh the negatives and acquiring a CDL means that there will always be jobs available since everyone needs drivers of all kinds to deliver various goods around the nation.