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What Does A CDL Driver Do?

A CDL driver is responsible for the transportation of goods from the manufacturing warehouse to specific store locations. CDL drivers' duties include inspecting the items before and after the delivery to ensure that the orders are correct with the right quantity, providing proof of delivery from the receiving customers, following the delivery schedule and report any delays immediately, monitoring the vehicle's engine for efficiency, and escalating concerns of incorrect deliveries and defective items. A CDL driver must have excellent time-management and multi-tasking skills, following safety procedures and road rules at all times.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real cdl driver resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Conduct Pre-Trip inspection on bus.
  • Operate a commercial property carrying motor vehicle in compliance with FMCSA.
  • Study GPS routes to judge the best way to reach the destination.
  • Transfer over to OTR due to shortage to of OTR drivers in the company.
  • Deliver Walmart surveillance equipment and do general OTR driving with 53 foot dry van.
  • DOT compliance, accident investigations, training of new hires, retraining/certification for current drivers.
  • Fuel and maintain truck, and equipment, interact with computers, and GPS equipment.
  • Report all accidents or incidents, properly maintains a driver's log in accordance with FMCSA and company requirements.
  • Obtain and maintain proper delivery authorization and pickup documentation.
  • Insure refer maintain proper temperature from pickup to delivery.
CDL Driver Traits
Hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination describes being skilled in using your hands when it comes to physical activity.
Physical health refers to the condition that one's body is in.
Visual ability is a strength of people who are able to picture ideas or thoughts.

CDL Driver Overview

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a cdl driver is "should I become a cdl driver?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, cdl driver careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a cdl driver by 2028 is 99,700.

A cdl driver annual salary averages $51,962, which breaks down to $24.98 an hour. However, cdl drivers can earn anywhere from upwards of $36,000 to $73,000 a year. This means that the top-earning cdl drivers make $37,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a cdl driver, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a truck driver-over-the-road, tractor-trailer driver, truck driver class a, and over the road driver.

CDL Driver Jobs You Might Like

CDL Driver Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 17% of CDL Drivers are proficient in DOT, Cdl-A, and Customer Service. They’re also known for soft skills such as Hand-eye coordination, Physical health, and Visual ability.

We break down the percentage of CDL Drivers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • DOT, 17%

    Conducted periodical reviews of veteran drivers to address potential problem areas in following DOT laws, customer service and safety procedures

  • Cdl-A, 14%

    Job duties - Drive CDL-A fuel transportation vehicles to fuel terminal fill fuel order onto vehicle.

  • Customer Service, 14%

    Added exceptional customer service and exception communication when asked for certain construction material needed for jobs.

  • OTR, 7%

    Gained my Class A CDL license and did two months of OTR training with loaded and empty reefer trailer

  • Hazmat, 7%

    Maintain Class A CDL with endorsements for HAZMAT, doubles/triples, tankers.

  • Safety Rules, 3%

    Practice precautionary driving to ensure safety of students.

Some of the skills we found on cdl driver resumes included "dot," "cdl-a," and "customer service." We have detailed the most important cdl driver responsibilities below.

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a cdl driver to have happens to be hand-eye coordination. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers must be able to coordinate their legs, hands, and eyes simultaneously so that they will react appropriately to the situation around them and drive the vehicle safely." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that cdl drivers can use hand-eye coordination to "manage inventory -write orders - driving safely and following dot regulations skills used organization, time management, customer service and coordination"
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform cdl driver duties is the following: physical health. According to a cdl driver resume, "federal regulations do not allow people to become truck drivers if they have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, which may interfere with their ability to operate a truck." Check out this example of how cdl drivers use physical health: "maintain cdl with air brake certification and dot physical card. "
  • Cdl drivers are also known for visual ability, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a cdl driver resume: "truck drivers must be able to pass vision tests" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "operated a commercial passenger bus provided customer service maintained a safe driving record ability to visual inspect vehicle"
  • See the full list of cdl driver skills.

    The cdl drivers who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied business and criminal justice, while a small population of cdl drivers studied general studies and general education, specific areas.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a cdl driver. We've found that most cdl driver resumes include experience from Hartt Transportation Systems, Waste Management, and Knight Transportation. Of recent, Hartt Transportation Systems had 5,529 positions open for cdl drivers. Meanwhile, there are 1,454 job openings at Waste Management and 1,150 at Knight Transportation.

    Since salary is important to some cdl drivers, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Dollar General, Lowe's Companies, and Marubeni America. If you were to take a closer look at Dollar General, you'd find that the average cdl driver salary is $82,584. Then at Lowe's Companies, cdl drivers receive an average salary of $82,361, while the salary at Marubeni America is $79,385.

    View more details on cdl driver salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Schneider National, Knight Transportation, and Werner Enterprises. These three companies have hired a significant number of cdl drivers from these institutions.

    The industries that cdl drivers fulfill the most roles in are the transportation and retail industries. But the highest cdl driver annual salary is in the transportation industry, averaging $57,618. In the hospitality industry they make $54,953 and average about $54,410 in the retail industry. In conclusion, cdl drivers who work in the transportation industry earn a 21.7% higher salary than cdl drivers in the construction industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious cdl drivers are:

      What Truck Driver-Over-The-Roads Do

      A truck driver-over-the-road (OTR) is a professional driver who specializes in hauling items such as heavy freight, machinery, or construction materials from a home terminal to delivery points. OTR truck drivers usually spend more time on the road due to the long distances they are required to reach. To avoid vehicular breakdowns and delays, OTR drivers are required to inspect their trucks and review shipping and transport documents. They are also responsible for unloading freights and collect charges from customers.

      In this section, we compare the average cdl driver annual salary with that of a truck driver-over-the-road. Typically, truck driver-over the roads earn a $13,629 higher salary than cdl drivers earn annually.

      Even though cdl drivers and truck driver-over the roads have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require dot, customer service, and otr in the day-to-day roles.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a cdl driver responsibility requires skills such as "cdl-a," "pickup," "osha," and "job sites." Whereas a truck driver-over-the-road is skilled in "cdl," "over-the-road," "fmcsa," and "on-time delivery." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Truck driver-over the roads receive the highest salaries in the transportation industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $72,104. But cdl drivers are paid more in the transportation industry with an average salary of $57,618.

      The education levels that truck driver-over the roads earn is a bit different than that of cdl drivers. In particular, truck driver-over the roads are 0.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a cdl driver. Additionally, they're 0.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Tractor-Trailer Driver?

      A tractor-trailer driver is responsible for picking up and delivering goods and services from distribution centers and warehouses to different locations across the country as required. Tractor-trailer drivers manage the best route planning to prevent delays. They should also have extensive knowledge of the mechanical industry, inspecting the vehicle's condition regularly, repairing any inconsistencies, and replacing defective components to ensure smooth operations. A tractor-trailer driver must have excellent communication and organizational skills, responding to the clients' inquiries and concerns and escalating complaints to management for immediate resolution.

      The next role we're going to look at is the tractor-trailer driver profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $3,878 higher salary than cdl drivers per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Cdl drivers and tractor-trailer drivers both include similar skills like "dot," "customer service," and "otr" on their resumes.

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, cdl driver responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "cdl-a," "pickup," "osha," and "dexterity." Meanwhile, a tractor-trailer driver might be skilled in areas such as "cdl," "fmcsa," "tractor trailer," and "gvw." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      It's been discovered that tractor-trailer drivers earn higher salaries compared to cdl drivers, but we wanted to find out where tractor-trailer drivers earned the most pay. The answer? The retail industry. The average salary in the industry is $62,958. Additionally, cdl drivers earn the highest paychecks in the transportation with an average salary of $57,618.

      In general, tractor-trailer drivers study at similar levels of education than cdl drivers. They're 0.1% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Truck Driver Class A Compares

      The responsibilities of a Truck Driver Class A mainly revolves around driving heavy vehicles and ensuring that all transported goods meet the expected delivery deadlines and quality. The Driver needs to have a Class A license and be emotionally and physically healthy to qualify. Among the duties of a Truck Driver Class A will also revolve around securing and monitoring the quantity and quality of items, maintaining the vehicle in good condition, abide by the traffic rules and regulations, adhere to the company standards and policies, and have precise coordination with every workforce involved.

      The truck driver class a profession generally makes a higher amount of money when compared to the average salary of cdl drivers. The difference in salaries is truck drivers class a making $10,260 higher than cdl drivers.

      By looking over several cdl drivers and truck drivers class a resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "dot," "customer service," and "otr." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from cdl drivers resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "cdl-a," "osha," "dexterity," and "paperwork." But a truck driver class a might have skills like "cdl," "perseverance," "mile radius," and "ltl."

      Truck drivers class a make a very good living in the retail industry with an average annual salary of $71,616. Whereas cdl drivers are paid the highest salary in the transportation industry with the average being $57,618.

      Truck drivers class a are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to cdl drivers. Additionally, they're 0.3% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of an Over The Road Driver

      Over the road, (OTR) drivers are the truckers driving the big semi-trailer truck that hauls all types of goods to their destinations across the states. Their journey typically begins with loading the freight onto the trailer, requiring them to lift heavy materials and load the cargo properly to avoid shifting while in transit. They often sleep in the sleeper berth at a truck stop to eat, freshen up and refuel. They are allowed to go on a 30-minute break after an eight-hour drive.

      The fourth career we look at typically earns higher pay than cdl drivers. On average, over the road drivers earn a difference of $7,513 higher per year.

      According to resumes from both cdl drivers and over the road drivers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "dot," "customer service," and "otr. "

      Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a cdl driver might have more use for skills like "cdl-a," "pickup," "osha," and "job sites." Meanwhile, some over the road drivers might include skills like "cdl," "ltl," "federal motor," and "fmcsa" on their resume.

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The manufacturing industry tends to pay more for over the road drivers with an average of $70,959. While the highest cdl driver annual salary comes from the transportation industry.

      In general, over the road drivers reach similar levels of education when compared to cdl drivers resumes. Over the road drivers are 0.4% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.