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Become A Local Truck Driver

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Working As A Local Truck Driver

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $40,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Local Truck Driver Do

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity of more than 26,000 pounds. These drivers deliver goods over intercity routes, sometimes spanning several states.

Duties

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers typically do the following:

  • Drive long distances
  • Report to a dispatcher any incidents encountered on the road
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws
  • Inspect their trailers before and after the trip, and record any defects they find
  • Maintain a log of their working hours, following all federal and state regulations
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their trucks and associated equipment clean and in good working order

Most heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers’ routes are assigned by a dispatcher, but some independent drivers still plan their own routes. They may use satellite tracking to help them plan.

A driver must know which roads allow trucks and which do not. Drivers also must plan legally required rest periods into their trip. Some drivers have one or two routes that they drive regularly, and others drivers take many different routes throughout the country. Also, some drivers have routes that include Mexico or Canada.

Companies sometimes use two drivers, known as teams, on long runs in order to minimize downtime. On these team runs, one driver sleeps in a berth behind the cab while the other drives.

Certain cargo requires drivers to adhere to additional safety regulations. Some heavy truck drivers who transport hazardous materials, such as chemical waste, must take special precautions when driving, and may carry specialized safety equipment in case of an accident. Other drivers, such as those carrying liquids, oversized loads, or cars, must follow rules that apply specifically to them.

Some long-haul truck drivers, called owner–operators, buy or lease trucks and go into business for themselves. In addition to their driving tasks, owner-operators also have business tasks, including finding and keeping clients and doing administrative work, such as accounting.

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How To Become A Local Truck Driver

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers usually have a high school diploma and attend a professional truckdriving school. They must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Education

Most companies require their truck drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Many companies require drivers to attend professional truckdriving schools, where they take training courses to learn how to maneuver large vehicles on highways or through crowded streets. During these classes, drivers also learn the federal laws and regulations governing interstate truck driving. Students attend either a private truckdriving school or a program at a community college that lasts between 3 and 6 months.

Upon finishing their classes, drivers receive a certificate of completion.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering a requirement that mandates all newly hired interstate truck drivers to take a truckdriving course.

The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) certifies a small percentage of driver-training courses at truckdriver training schools that meet both the industry standards and the U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines for training tractor-trailer drivers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All long-haul truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Qualifications for obtaining a CDL vary by state but generally include passing both a knowledge test and a driving test. States have the right to refuse to issue a CDL to anyone who has had a CDL suspended by another state.

Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL that show their ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle. Truck drivers transporting hazardous materials (HAZMAT) must have a hazardous materials endorsement (H). Getting this endorsement requires passing an additional knowledge test and a background check.

Federal regulations require random testing of on-duty truck drivers for drug or alcohol abuse. In addition, truck drivers can have their CDL suspended if they are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or are convicted of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle.

Other actions can result in a suspension after multiple violations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website has a list of these violations. Additionally, some companies have stricter standards than what federal regulations require.

Training

After completing truckdriving school and being hired by a company, drivers normally receive between 1 and 3 months of on-the-job training. During this time, they drive a truck with a more experienced mentor–driver in the passenger seat. This period of on-the-job training is given so that the new drivers will learn more about the specific type of truck they will drive and material they will transport.

Important Qualities

Hand-eye coordination. 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.

Hearing ability. Truck drivers need good hearing. Federal regulations require that a driver be able to hear a forced whisper in one ear at 5 feet (with or without the use of a hearing aid).

Physical health. 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. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website has a full list of medical conditions that disqualify someone from driving a long-haul truck.

Visual ability. Truck drivers must be able to pass vision tests. Federal regulations require a driver to have at least 20/40 vision with a 70-degree field of vision in each eye and the ability to distinguish the colors on a traffic light.

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Local Truck Driver Career Paths

Local Truck Driver
Oil Truck Driver Lead Driver Transportation Supervisor
Assistant Terminal Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Hauler Transportation Driver Courier Driver
Courier/Independent Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Shuttle Driver Dispatcher
Dispatch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Driver/Owner Operator Tractor-Trailer Driver Driver
Driver Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Yard Jockey Route Driver Driver
Driver/Owner Operator
5 Yearsyrs
Tank Truck Driver Tank Driver CDL Class A Driver
Flatbed Truck Driver
6 Yearsyrs
Shuttle Driver Courier Driver Driver
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Machinist Carpenter
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Tank Truck Driver Tractor-Trailer Driver Driver
Lead Driver
5 Yearsyrs
Dispatcher Logistics Coordinator
Logistics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Driver/Owner Operator Route Driver Truck Driver
Operator And Truck Driver
5 Yearsyrs
Hauler Material Handler/Forklift Operator Route Driver
Route Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Oil Truck Driver Truck Operator Warehouse Lead
Shipping Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Welder Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Shipping Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Welder Electrician Foreman
Superintendent
8 Yearsyrs
Yard Jockey CDL Class A Driver Dump Truck Driver
Tank Truck Driver
7 Yearsyrs
Transportation Driver Shuttle Driver Dispatcher
Transportation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Transportation Driver Company Driver Driver
Transportation Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Dispatcher Operation Supervisor Production Manager
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Production Supervisor Warehouse Manager
Warehouse Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Truck Driver 3.7 years
Semi Truck Driver 3.5 years
Line Haul Driver 3.0 years
Class A Driver 2.9 years
CDL Driver 2.8 years
Commercial Driver 2.6 years
Driver 2.6 years
Tank Truck Driver 2.5 years
Tank Driver 2.3 years
Local Driver 2.2 years
Local Truck Driver 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Local Truck Driver
Truck Driver 23.5%
Driver 8.9%
Top Careers After Local Truck Driver
Truck Driver 21.0%
Driver 11.4%

Do you work as a Local Truck Driver?

Local Truck Driver Demographics

Gender

Male

87.8%

Female

10.7%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Black or African American

12.5%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.3%

Chinese

7.1%

Dakota

7.1%

Russian

7.1%

Carrier

7.1%

Mandarin

7.1%
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Local Truck Driver Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

7.9%

The Academy

7.9%

All-State Career School

6.3%

Kirkwood Community College

6.3%

Fox Valley Technical College

6.3%

Diesel Driving Academy

4.8%

Iowa Central Community College

4.8%

A-Technical College

4.8%

Greenville Technical College

4.8%

New England Tractor Trailer Training School

4.8%

Liberty University

4.8%

South University

4.8%

National Tractor Trailer School Inc

4.8%

El Paso Community College

4.8%

Ashford University

4.8%

Florida Career College - Miami

4.8%

Saint Louis Community College

3.2%

ITT Technical Institute-Charlotte North

3.2%

Moraine Valley Community College

3.2%

Itawamba Community College

3.2%
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Majors

Business

21.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

10.5%

General Studies

9.1%

Automotive Technology

9.1%

Criminal Justice

8.3%

Graphic Design

5.4%

Accounting

5.1%

Computer Science

4.0%

Education

3.6%

Industrial Technology

3.3%

Electrical Engineering

3.3%

Precision Metal Working

2.5%

Management

2.5%

Supply Chain Management

2.2%

Computer Networking

2.2%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Information Technology

1.8%

Culinary Arts

1.4%

Nursing

1.4%

Medical Assisting Services

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

52.8%

Associate

18.4%

Certificate

11.5%

Bachelors

11.0%

License

2.3%

Diploma

2.3%

Masters

1.3%

Doctorate

0.5%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Local Truck Driver?

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Top Skills for A Local Truck Driver

  1. Local Deliveries
  2. Tractor-Trailer Combinations
  3. Safety Regulations
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Do local deliveries of vaults to cemeteries.
  • Follow DOT regulations and complied with safety regulations and hours of services.
  • Provided outstanding customer service during delivery and pick up operations.
  • Operated a day cab as a local truck driver.
  • Performed pre-trip inspections at the start of work shift, during stops and at the end of shift.

How Would You Rate Working As a Local Truck Driver?

Are you working as a Local Truck Driver? Help us rate Local Truck Driver as a Career.

Top Local Truck Driver Employers

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Jobs From Top Local Truck Driver Employers

Local Truck Driver Videos

POV - 1 Day of a Trucker Driver's LIFE

The Paycheck! (How Much Do You Make In Truck Driving)

A Day In The Life Of A Trucker part 1

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