Truck driver

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Common questions about being a truck driver

What are the different types of truck driver?

Truck drivers can be divided into two primary groups: owner-operators and company drivers.

Owner-operators:

  • Earn a higher gross salary
  • Decide who can ride along and choose the truck to buy and drive
  • Have greater independence and schedule flexibility
  • Have to finance the vehicle themselves
  • Deal with more expenses: buying and maintaining the truck, taxes, paperwork and medical insurance

As a result of higher expenses, the higher gross salary owner-operators earn may not actually mean higher income.

Company drivers:

  • Enjoy benefits offered by employers such as medical, dental, life insurance, vision, retirement plans, paid vacation and holidays.
  • Generally avoid costs of vehicle purchase and maintenance
  • May have a more advantageous tax situation
  • May have less independence and schedule flexibility

As a result, company drivers may take home more net pay, however they have less flexibility and less job security.

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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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What does it mean to have CDL Endorsements?

An Endorsement is an authorization to an individual’s CDL required to permit the individual to operate certain types of Commercial Vehicles. Drivers who operate or expect to operate the type of motor vehicle described in the endorsement shall take and pass specialized tests. (eg. Tanker Endorsement)

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How long does CDL training last?

The CDL training usually takes about four to six weeks.

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How can I earn more as a truck driver?

Truck drivers get different bonuses or benefits: referral and signing bonus, safety bonus, detention pay, layover pay, fuel-efficiency bonus, clean-DOT inspections bonus, monthly mileage bonus.

Ice road truck drivers, oversized load and hazmat truck drivers get a higher salary due to the high level of skill and specialization necessary to operate the vehicles. Over the road, or OTR, truck drivers earn a higher salary too. OTR truck drivers travel long hours all over the country and they have to respect road regulations in different states. OTR drivers can go back home anywhere from a couple of times a week to once every 4-8 weeks, depending on the job.

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Can I bring my family or my pet on the road with me?

Many companies have rider policies that allow for one or more riders. Most will have age or time frame restrictions, which vary by company.

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What else do you want to know?

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