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What Does A Truck Driver Do?

The truck driver transports goods and materials by land from and to manufacturing factories or retail businesses and distribution centers with the use of heavy trucks or tractor-trailers. Truck drivers assist and supervise the safe unloading of cargos to the destination. They must always check their cargo if complete and secured with cables, rope, or other materials. They should keep their truck clean, neat, and inspect prior the trip and ensure to be in good working condition to operate safely. It is very important that they follow with all appropriate safety procedures and comply with federal and state regulations. They must also be knowledgable and comfortable in using maps or GPS to navigate the safest and most efficient routes.

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

  • Manage operational maintenance of bus, effectively operate on board communication equipment and respond appropriately to escalate and emergency situations.
  • Complete proper amount of OTR hours and training including school training to become CDL-A certify.
  • Flatb loads including steel and specialty metals, pipe, refractory brick, commercial building materials, lumber and equipment.
  • Follow all HAZMAT regulations while transporting hazardous materials.
  • Utilize appropriate PPE at all times.
  • Have experience with paper logs and the QUALCOMM.
  • Used proper PPE and safety equipment when need.
  • Use of forklift which require OSHA certification are gained during time of employment.
  • Follow applicable MSHA standards as pertaining to job safety and haul truck operation.
  • Follow all rules and regulations pertaining to hours of service under the FMCSA.
Truck Driver Traits
Hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination describes being skilled in using your hands when it comes to physical activity.
Hearing ability
A person's hearing ability allows them to detect sounds and noises.
Physical health refers to the condition that one's body is in.

Truck Driver Overview

Between the years 2018 and 2028, truck driver jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a truck driver?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of truck driver opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 99,700.

On average, the truck driver annual salary is $51,066 per year, which translates to $24.55 an hour. Generally speaking, truck drivers earn anywhere from $33,000 to $78,000 a year, which means that the top-earning truck drivers make $45,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a truck driver, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a cdl class a driver, company driver, class b driver, and line haul driver.

Truck Driver Jobs You Might Like

Truck Driver Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 48% of Truck Drivers are proficient in CDL, OTR, and DOT. They’re also known for soft skills such as Hand-eye coordination, Hearing ability, and Physical health.

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

  • CDL, 48%

    Operate combination tractor-trailer requiring CDL under DOT regulations and company policy's.

  • OTR, 11%

    Graduated with my CDL from Truck Driver Institute in Sanford, FL with continuing training and OTR training with Con-Way Truckload.

  • DOT, 10%

    Observed DOT qualifications in accordance with Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations.

  • Hazmat, 4%

    Maintained HAZMAT designation which required successful completion of background investigation conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigations.

  • Customer Service, 4%

    Route delivery and planning under deadlines; Daily inspections; Constant communication with supervisor and dispatcher and provide excellent customer service.

  • Pickup, 3%

    Completed delivery and pickup paperwork promptly and accurately, returning said paperwork to the appropriate facility personnel.

Most truck drivers list "cdl," "otr," and "dot" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important truck driver responsibilities here:

  • Hand-eye coordination can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a truck driver to have. According to a truck driver resume, "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." Truck drivers are able to use hand-eye coordination in the following example we gathered from a resume: "clean driving record skills used developed hand-eye coordination when throwing and/or placing a tire above my head establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships"
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many truck driver duties rely on hearing ability. This example from a truck driver explains why: "truck drivers need good hearing." This resume example is just one of many ways truck drivers are able to utilize hearing ability: "provided clients with transportation to their medical appointments including therapy, dentistry, hearing and dialysis. "
  • Physical health is also an important skill for truck drivers to have. This example of how truck drivers use this skill comes from a truck 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" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "maintain physical fitness; pmcs vehicles; hazmat certified; cerf-p decontamination unit ups. "
  • In order for certain truck driver responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "visual ability." According to a truck driver resume, "truck drivers must be able to pass vision tests" As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "established and maintained excellent customer relations.clean driving record.defensive driver training.comprehensive visual memory.reason for leaving: moved to nevada. "
  • See the full list of truck driver skills.

    Those truck drivers who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or general studies degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for truck drivers include criminal justice degrees or general education, specific areas degrees.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a truck driver. We've found that most truck driver resumes include experience from U.S. Xpress, YRC Freight, and Ashley Furniture Industries. Of recent, U.S. Xpress had 8,927 positions open for truck drivers. Meanwhile, there are 5,306 job openings at YRC Freight and 1,988 at Ashley Furniture Industries.

    Since salary is important to some truck drivers, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Woody's, Ascent, and Reddaway. If you were to take a closer look at Woody's, you'd find that the average truck driver salary is $104,029. Then at Ascent, truck drivers receive an average salary of $101,779, while the salary at Reddaway is $98,064.

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

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a truck driver include Uber Technologies, Lyft, and Schneider National. These three companies were found to hire the most truck drivers from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    For the most part, truck drivers make their living in the transportation and retail industries. Truck drivers tend to make the most in the manufacturing industry with an average salary of $63,060. The truck driver annual salary in the transportation and retail industries generally make $61,401 and $57,241 respectively. Additionally, truck drivers who work in the manufacturing industry make 29.7% more than truck drivers in the construction Industry.

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

      What CDL Class A Drivers Do

      A CDL Class A driver is a driver with a Class A commercial driver's license. A commercial driver's license is necessary to operate large, heavy, and placarded vehicles. There are several classifications of a commercial driver's license, and Class A is for a car towing a trailer with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds (5 t). Drivers with this type of license are entitled to operate a commercial motor vehicle such as passenger buses, tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and dump trucks. They have the choice to add endorsements to their CDL, which allows them to operate particular types of commercial motor vehicles.

      In this section, we compare the average truck driver annual salary with that of a cdl class a driver. Typically, cdl class a drivers earn a $3,127 lower salary than truck drivers earn annually.

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

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a truck driver responsibilities require skills like "cdl," "pickup," "post-trip inspections," and "clean driving record." Meanwhile a typical cdl class a driver has skills in areas such as "reefer," "twic," "federal motor," and "worksite." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Cdl class a drivers receive the highest salaries in the manufacturing industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $65,159. But truck drivers are paid more in the manufacturing industry with an average salary of $63,060.

      Cdl class a drivers tend to reach similar levels of education than truck drivers. In fact, cdl class a drivers are 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Company Driver?

      A company driver helps an organization with all transport-related duties and ensures that these are carried out on time. Company drivers transport and deliver goods, equipment, products, and staff members to locations required by the organization. They maintain the cleanliness of their vehicles and are responsible for informing the organization about repairs and maintenance. Company drivers must also obtain the appropriate licenses and should have clean driving records with no accidents and traffic violations.

      Now we're going to look at the company driver profession. On average, company drivers earn a $5,217 higher salary than truck drivers a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Truck drivers and company drivers both include similar skills like "cdl," "otr," and "dot" on their resumes.

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real truck driver resumes. While truck driver responsibilities can utilize skills like "clean driving record," "heavy equipment," "mechanical problems," and "dump truck," some company drivers use skills like "company vehicle," "reefer," "cocoa," and "fmcsa."

      It's been discovered that company drivers earn higher salaries compared to truck drivers, but we wanted to find out where company drivers earned the most pay. The answer? The retail industry. The average salary in the industry is $71,357. Additionally, truck drivers earn the highest paychecks in the manufacturing with an average salary of $63,060.

      On the topic of education, company drivers earn similar levels of education than truck drivers. In general, they're 0.8% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent in the field in the next 3-5 years?

      Don Lefeve

      President & Chairman of the Board, CVTA

      Technology is changing very fast, which is great news for trucking (and all transportation) as it's making vehicles safer. The next 3-5 years will see the expansion of electric vehicles, better safety systems, and greater efficiency in transportation networks. While autonomous technology is advancing rapidly, it will not replace humans anytime soon. Certainly not in the next 3-5 years. There's a lot of testing, security concerns, and limitations that need to be worked out. Beyond the next five years, as technology continues advancing, and jobs will change and be enhanced, but driving jobs will not be replaced by machines. Like airline pilots, the technology relies upon humans, and the human will retain a central role in the control of the truck because we possess the fastest, most capable computers of all -- our brains. I think driver training will always be required, and in fact, it will likely expand to cover not only the fundamentals but also incorporate more technical training centered around autonomous systems and how to operate them.Show more

      How a Class B Driver Compares

      A Class B driver is responsible for operating vehicles with weight requirements, usually used for commercial and industrial purposes. Class B drivers are typically employed as a school bus driver, delivery truck driver, public transit driver, ensuring that they meet a clean driving record. They should also have excellent knowledge of the mechanical industry, especially on inspecting the vehicle's engine condition and set maintenance repairs as necessary. A Class B driver must adhere to the safe road regulations at all times to prevent accidents and avoid delays in operation.

      The third profession we take a look at is class b driver. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than truck drivers. In fact, they make a $14,451 lower salary per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several truck drivers and class b drivers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "cdl," "dot," and "hazmat," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from truck driver resumes include skills like "otr," "appropriate safety procedures," "routine maintenance," and "state regulations," whereas a class b driver might be skilled in "class b license," "osha," "safety procedures," and "company standards. "

      Class b drivers make a very good living in the manufacturing industry with an average annual salary of $46,312. Whereas truck drivers are paid the highest salary in the manufacturing industry with the average being $63,060.

      Class b drivers typically study at similar levels compared with truck drivers. For example, they're 1.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Line Haul Driver

      A line haul truck driver is in charge of transporting heavy materials using large vehicles such as tractor-trailers, ensuring timeliness and efficiency. Their responsibilities typically revolve around securing documents or invoices, adhering to specific routes, driving for long durations, liaising and building positive relationships with companies, and ensuring the safety and quality of all cargo. Furthermore, as a line haul truck driver, it is essential to abide by all the traffic laws and perform regular vehicle maintenance checks to ensure a safe and productive work environment.

      Line haul drivers tend to earn a lower pay than truck drivers by about $1,896 per year.

      While both truck drivers and line haul drivers complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like cdl, otr, and dot, the two careers also vary in other skills.

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "clean driving record," "mechanical problems," "dump truck," and "straight truck" are skills that have shown up on truck drivers resumes. Additionally, line haul driver uses skills like line haul, ltl, local regulations, and federal motor on their resumes.

      In general, line haul drivers make a higher salary in the retail industry with an average of $61,212. The highest truck driver annual salary stems from the manufacturing industry.

      The average resume of line haul drivers showed that they earn similar levels of education to truck drivers. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 0.7% more. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.3%.