Truck driving is one of the important jobs in the country. Truck drivers are responsible for moving 71% of all freight in the United States. They work hard and around the clock. Unfortunately, truck driving is sometimes given a bad reputation. We’re here to set the record straight. Explore our 7 truck driver facts below.
7 Truck Driver Facts
1. Driver Shortage/Job Availability
Are claims of a truck driver shortage myth or fact? It is actually true that there is a shortage of drivers in the trucking industry. Many Baby Boomer truckers are reaching retirement age, and younger drivers are needed to fill the positions they're leaving behind. Also, amid the recent pandemic, retailers are spending 30% more to move goods via truck. The truck driving market for America right now is valued at $800 million.
It is true that truck driving is among the most hazardous jobs in America. However, it is not because of recklessness or incompetence on the part of the driver. To obtain a commercial driver's license, a person needs to go through extensive training that involves both practical vehicle handling and classroom instruction. Driving professionals can lose their jobs and perhaps their commercial drivers license (CDL) for breaking the law, so most truck drivers take safety and compliance very seriously.
3. Sleep/Rest Requirements
Truckers are not required to drive for consecutive days at a time. Even if trucking companies allowed or encouraged this, there are federal laws requiring truck drivers to take breaks after long hours driving. Specifically, they must take at least a 30-minute break after eight cumulative hours of driving. After 14 hours on duty, during which only a maximum of 11 hours can be spent driving, truckers must take a 10-hour break.
4. Personal Time
Another misconception about truck drivers is that they do not get much time to spend with family and friends. For one thing, truckers often make friends with one another on the road, so they get a chance to socialize. It is true that long-haul truckers spend a lot of time away from home, but it is easier to keep in touch than ever with communication channels like video chat. Furthermore, not all trucking jobs are long-haul. There are plenty with a regional or local focus that don't require days away from one's family.
5. Physical/Mental Demands
Many people mistakenly think that driving a truck is just about sitting around all day. However, truck drivers may also participate in loading and unloading cargo from the trucks. Additionally, driving a truck takes intense mental focus on the road and the conditions, as well as upper body strength to maintain control of a truck carrying 50,000 pounds of cargo.
It is true that some groups have been underrepresented in the trucking business, especially racial minorities and women. While it is still true to a certain extent, great strides have been made in recent decades to include more diversity. In part because of the driver shortage, trucking companies have gone to great lengths to attract and retain any qualified and capable driver they can find.
Though women make up only 6% of the 3.5 million long-haul truck drivers in the United States, that still amounts to over 200,000 female truck drivers on the road, not counting those who may drive local and regional trucking job routes.
There seems to be a perception that truckers do not make a lot of money, but that is not true. On average, according the the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a trucker can make $45,260, with the top 10% having a salary of $66,840 per year.
Don’t Let Truck Driver Misconceptions Stop you From a Truck Driving Career
In the past, misconceptions about trucking may have prevented you from pursuing an important and potentially lucrative career path. Fortunately, it is not too late to make the switch, and with truck driver jobs currently in high demand, you should have little trouble taking the first step on your new career path. If you are already a truck driver, you know the truth about the industry and how rewarding the job can be. New and existing truck drivers can find CDL jobs and apply for employment here.