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What does a Truck Driver do?

Truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a total weight exceeding 26,000 pounds for the vehicle, passengers, and cargo.

Some truck drivers have one or two routes that they drive regularly, and other drivers take many different routes throughout the country. In addition, some drivers have routes that include Mexico or Canada.

Some long-haul truck drivers, also called owner-operators, buy or lease trucks and go into business for themselves.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Working as a Truck Driver

Depending on their roles, qualifications, specialization and years of experience, a truck driver may:

  • Report any incidents encountered on the road to a dispatcher
  • Secure cargo for transport, using ropes, blocks, chains, or covers
  • Inspect their trailers before and after the trip and record any defects they find
  • Maintain a log of their working hours, following all federal and state regulations
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate people
  • Keep their trucks and associated equipment clean and in good working order
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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How much does a Truck Driver make in the United States?

Average base salary

Average $1,553
Low $866
High $2,782
Non-cash benefit
View more benefits

The average salary for a truck driver is $1,553 per week in the United States. 394.3k salaries reported, updated at September 27, 2023

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Where can a Truck Driver earn more?

Compare salaries for Truck Drivers in different locations
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How much do similar professions get paid in United States?


Job openings

Average $18.24 per hour

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How do Truck Drivers rate their jobs?


Based on 31,549 reviews


Hard work, but decent pay with Job Security

Written by CDL Driver D-Bay (Former Employee) at PepsiCo - San Antonio, TX – September 9, 2015

For those with a CDL finding a job that gets you home every single night, and has weekends off is the golden ticket. And that ticket can be punched at Pepsi. Worked as a side bay driver, internally called D-bay driver.

The pay is base plus commission. Drivers are paid weekly. Schedule is Monday through Friday. For CDL drivers you cannot drive more than 60 hours per week, which is nice compared to the 70 hour rule that applies to nearly everyone else.

During your training, which can take up to four weeks, you will be paid hourly, within 40-50 hours worked per week. The work is physical. 16-20 stops per day. 500-600 cases, 300-400 cases in the winter. Up to 75 cases per stop.

The job is very demanding. Not only are you a truck driver, but you lump your own load and have to be on top of your customer service game. Customers can and will be extremely picky at times.

Benefits are decent and are available on day one. No 60 or 90 day waiting period. Day one benefits and they are affordable.

Bottom line is that you are going to work your butt off for Pepsi. But you will be home every night and won't work more than 60 hours a week.

Challenging Workplace C.R. England/Swift Transportation

Written by Professional Truck Driver (Former Employee) at C.R. England - Fontana, CA – March 16, 2015

A typical day at work is in a semi tractor trailer on the road. My Skills i acquired are Proper operation of a 73 foot semi tractor trailer in rural, urban, and open road environments, proper operation of on board computer for load details,safe driving habits,DOT compliance laws,Mapping and load trip planning from state to state. Management was very punctual on returning questions for loads,weather forecasts, and weekly training, as well as friendly and respectful.
co-workers were helpful well prepared. The hardest part of this job is being away from you family for months at a time. The most enjoyable part of the job is being on the open road, site seeing, busy every day of the week and the benefits.


Challenging, fun, busy


time away from home

Good start for new driver

Written by Professional Truck Driver (Former Employee) at C.R. England - Salt Lake City, Ut – August 12, 2015

Typical day at work was driving 8-9 hours with a few breaks in between. Learning was for the most part was very good, training and counseling was always available in numerous States. Management always made themselves readily available. Co-workers were team players, willing to lend a helping hand. The hardest part of the job was often sharing the truck with a stranger/new driver. The most enjoyable part of the job was you were never alone, someone was always there with you.


Must be a people person


Lack of healthcare benefits

Productive work place. Hard work and much hustling during the day.

Written by Truck Driver (Current Employee) at FedEx - Grayslake, IL – July 28, 2019

You will be assigned to a daily route. This may become mundane to many. You will work hard n fast and efficient. You will also have scheduled pick ups at a assigned time daily. You must work round your delivery schedule to make your pick ups happen.

It is for some people, no supervision

Written by Truck Driver (Former Employee) at Schneider - Green Bay, WI – May 12, 2015

Drive 10 hr shift, deal with docks alot.

I am not an over the road trucker.

The dispatcher were understanding but firm, if you had a problem with delivery time or a load they were usually there to help

Teamed with my husband

the hardest part was that you never went home from the work. Cramped quarters and no bathroom (lol)

Seeing the country.


Traveled the country, your basically own boss


Always driving, now showers or bathrooms. never home

Common questions about for a Truck Driver

How long does it take to become a truck driver?

If attending a full-time training program, you can most likely get your commercial driver's license (CDL) in an average of 7 weeks.

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What is an over-the road (OTR) truck driver?

OTR refers to drivers who transport materials over long distances, as opposed to local routes. These drivers are away from home for longer periods at a time and they usually sleep in their truck.

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How can I get my CDL A?

You can get a Class A CDL permit by passing a series of written exams. In most states, the written tests to get a Class A CDL permit include General Knowledge, Air Brakes and Combination vehicles. A CDL driving test must be passed in which the driver completes a 3-part exam that includes a pre-trip inspection test, basic control skills test, and driving test at either a state CDL test site or approved 3rd party test site in the testing State.

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Is it hard to become a truck driver?

What does it mean to have CDL Endorsements?

What's the difference between a truck driver and an owner-operator?

How long does CDL training last?

Do you get paid for CDL training?

What licenses are needed to become an owner-operator?

Is it easy to become a truck driver?

What are the different types of truck driver?

Is driving a truck hard?

Is truck driving hard to learn?

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