Hundreds of thousands of delivery trucks traffic the roads of America at all times, and millions cover the roads of the world. Without them, the world’s economy would come to a screeching halt and the standard of living for most of the world would be greatly changed. Think about all of those employed by the trucking industry. Truck drivers earn their living by transporting goods across country from manufacturing plants to retail and distribution centers around the globe. As of May, 2005, there were over 3,000,000 truck drivers in the United States alone, and though their jobs may appear to go unnoticed, their services provide the world with all of its found necessities.
Two basic types of truck drivers exist in the United States, company drivers and owner operators. Company drivers are employed by particular trucking companies who provide all overhead costs and most often include training, while owner operators essentially have their own business. Owner operators own the trucks they drive and lease their trucks through contract with a trucking company, or they transport loads for more than one company, similar to a freelance operation. Though the situations of these two types of drivers are very different from a business perspective, all drivers are required to abide by the same laws, limiting the amount of time they can drive. The purpose of this is to prevent exhaustion or fatigue behind the wheel, as it is the cause of a large percentage of accidents each year. Presently, the maximum drive time for truck drivers is 11 hours with a ten hour break following.
All truck drivers are divided into different categories. Local drivers operate within the limits of hometowns, counties or nearby cities and return home every night, while regional drivers cover several states near their homes. For example, a regional driver might cover Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. This may cause them to be away from their homes and families for several days at a time. Those who are away from home the most are called “over the road” drivers. These drivers cross thousands of miles for weeks at a time. When such large distances are necessary to cover, many companies organize driver teams, such as a husband and wife team or people in different states that break up the driving. Though the area covered by a driver is one way to distinguish what category he/she falls into, drivers are also known by the kinds of loads they carry. Auto haulers do just that…haul automobiles. They use trailers specifically designed to transport cars and trucks, and so they also possess specific skills in loading and operating this kind of equipment. Those pulling basic large trailers containing mostly non-perishable goods are known as Dry Van drivers, while Reefer drivers transport those goods that need refrigeration. There are also flat bed drivers that move large bulky items and tanker drivers moving liquids such as oil and gasoline, and for those jobs that need “less than a full truckload”, LTL drivers fill in for local delivery jobs and usually load and unload in many nearby locations.
Possibly the most important thing about truck driver training is obtaining the license required to operate the appropriate machinery and drive on public roads. Truck Drivers are required to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in the United States, and Federal law distinguishes the different classes and requirements to obtain the CDL. The government takes truck driving very seriously as it is a fundamental building block to the American economy as well as a potentially dangerous situation for public roads. Good truck drivers are imperative to our standard of living, which is why some people have made a great living transporting goods where they need to go.
About the Author:
Aubrey Allen Smith is a veteran over the road trucker with 29 years of experience in the truck driving industry and is an expert in areas of trucking and truck driving schools. For more information, please visit our website.