Truck drivers are responsible for delivering a wide range of goods throughout the country. All drivers who operate vehicles that carry over 26,000 pounds or transport hazardous or over-sized loads must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the state in which they live. Licensed truck drivers have a variety of job options available to them, and their choice may be affected by whether they prefer an interstate or local driving route.
Long Haul Drivers
Long haul drivers usually drive trucks that hold over 26,000 pounds. Their routes can span several states, and some may travel to Canada and Mexico. Long haul drivers typically plan their own routes and determine the best course to get their cargo to its destination on time. They must keep logs of the driving that they do because they are subject to federal regulations which limit the amount of hours that they can drive without resting. In some cases, long haul drivers work in teams, so one can drive while the other rests. Long haul drivers are often paid by the mile, though they may receive bonuses if they are able to save money for their company. According to Simply Hired, the average annual salary for long haul truckers was $29,000 as of July 2010.
Local/Delivery Truck Drivers
Local or delivery truck drivers make deliveries to homes and businesses in a specific area or neighborhood. They may work for national package delivery companies or local stores or businesses. Some delivery drivers load their truck once in the morning and make many deliveries throughout the day. Others may return to the warehouse or store throughout the day and carry multiple loads. Some delivery truck drivers have assistants who help them with loading and unloading. They may also be responsible for having customers sign delivery confirmations or proofs of receipt. Some delivery drivers may also collect payment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wages for delivery truck drivers were $13.27 as of May 2008.
Specialized Truck Drivers
Specialized truck drivers carry over-sized or unusual loads. This may include cars, liquids or hazardous materials such as chemical waste. In addition to a CDL, specialized truck drivers must also receive a special endorsement, which requires drivers to submit to a background check and fingerprinting by the Transportation Security Administration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, specialized freight drivers had average annual wages of $38,870 as of May 2009.
In addition to driving responsibilities, route drivers, also known as driver/sales workers, have sales duties as well. They typically deliver goods to grocery and convenience stores, and speak with store managers in an attempt to convince them to try new products or increase their orders. Some route drivers may also be responsible for securing new customers on their route. The median hourly wages for route drivers, including commissions, were $10.70 as of May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.