Truck driver using a radio

Driving a Truck: Opportunities, Regulations, and Job Qualifications

There is both a shortage of qualified truck drivers and a demand for new ones. The resulting pressure is only expected to worsen in the coming years. The good thing for drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL), however, is that their earning potential is expected to increase significantly. Prospective drivers can explore the available CDL truck driver job openings to see the opportunities they qualify for.

Employment Opportunities

Truck drivers can choose to work in busy metropolitan areas or in rural areas across the state. In busy cities, they’ll likely work with major trucking and wholesale businesses with distribution outlets. In rural areas, drivers will likely have more specialized work. This can mean delivering newspapers to customers or bringing coal along a railroad.

In general, truck driver positions involve the delivery of freight from one point to another. Drivers are responsible for performing general maintenance on trucks and keeping logs of driving times.

How do people qualify for this job?

Truck drivers are required to follow federal and state regulations. They must have a commercial driver’s license when they are bringing goods with a weight of at least 26,000 pounds.

Physical Requirements

Drivers should demonstrate good hearing, good vision (with or without corrective lenses), and a strong sense of spatial relations. These requirements improve the likelihood vehicles fit into tight spaces without scratches and bumps.

Employers may require their drivers to have good communication, judgment, and customer service skills. They’ll need to adapt quickly to changing driving conditions.

Company Regulations

Trucking companies may require higher standards than those set by the government. For instance, some require their drivers to be able to lift heavy objects, have a few years of experience, and to take annual physical examinations. There is an economic incentive for them to go for the drivers considered less risky. This is because they can improve fuel economy use and reduce liability costs for the company, especially when it comes to safety.

Commercial Driver’s License

Driver showing his licenseDrivers intending to get a CDL need to get a commercial learner’s permit first. They’ll need to know about the rules and regulations of truck driving. Later, they’ll prove their ability to safely operate a commercial truck with a driving test. Some states also require drivers to complete a driving skill and safety course before a CDL is issued to the driver.

Additional Requirements

There is a national databank with information on the driving violations of those with commercial licenses. The state may deny a CDL to a driver who has had their license suspended or previously revoked in any other state. In addition, the driver should be at least 21 years of age and be given a physical examination every two years.

Prior Experience

New drivers often start by driving panel trucks and other similar small trucks. They need to build up experience and demonstrate competent driving skills to their employer. They’ll then be able to move to driving large and heavy trucks, as well as to tractor-trailers. New drivers can also begin as an extra driver, or a substitute for drivers on a sick or vacation leave. They’ll only be given regular assignments once there’s an opening.

Driving jobs vary based on work hours, quality of equipment, and earnings. These can impact the appeal of a job, as well as the type of candidate employers look for.