Keep On Truckin’

Truck drivers hold 44% of all jobs nationwide. They play an integral role in the transportation of produce and goods locally and nationally. Think you’re dependable enough to get the job done? Read on.

Businesses set up contracts with trucking companies to transport, store, pick-up, and deliver merchandise and goods. Drivers are typically permitted to determine their own schedules and routes as long as they can ensure that their load is delivered on time. Being on the road for long periods can be somewhat stressful. To help reduce the stress of long-distance drivers, trucks have become outfitted with TV, refrigerators, and beds.

Trucking Jobs
The trucking industry is a very diverse one with many different opportunities for those interested in a trucking career.

General Freight Trucking – involves the use trucks and tractor-trailers to transport general commodities. This segment of the industry can be divided into two subdivisions: local and long-distance driving. Local drivers typically carry goods within a local metropolitan area and it’s neighboring rural areas. Long-distance truck drivers transport goods to distant areas.

Specialized Freight Trucking – involves the use of specialized equipment such as flatbeds, tankers, or refrigerated trailers to transport freight. The size, shape, and/or weight of the freight being delivered would determine the type of truck a driver would operate. This segment also includes movers, those who transport household, commercial, and institutional furniture. Specialized freight trucking also involves either local or long-distance driving, depending on the situation.

Warehousing and Storage – this segment of the trucking industry is made up of firms that operate warehouses and storage facilities that house refrigerated goods and general merchandise.

Training
Many states allow those that are at least 18 years old to drive within state borders. However, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations implemented by the U.S. Department of Transportation require that truck drivers be at least 21 years of age, have a good driving record, have at least 20/40 vision, good hearing, and be able to read and speak English in order to engage in interstate commerce. They must also have a state commercial driver’s license (CDL), which is acquired after passing a written exam and a skills test operating the type of vehicle they plan to drive.

Wages
Most truck drivers are compensated with an hourly rate or with a rate-per-mile system. Heavy tractor-trailer operators tend to earn more than those who operate light delivery trucks. The median earnings for truck drivers are $15.97 per hour and can include benefits such as performance related bonuses, health insurance, sick time, and vacation.

Outlook
Wage and salaried positions in the trucking industry are expected to grow 23% from 2002 through 2012. Opportunities look favorable for qualified workers at all levels in this industry.

All information is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and can be found here? Interest in a trucking career? Click here!

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