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Truck Driver Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: September 27, 2023

A Truck Driver, or Transporter, is responsible for transporting goods from one location to another. Their job duties include loading their vehicles, abiding by traffic laws and ensuring safe unloading and delivery at their destination.

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Truck Driver duties and responsibilities

Some Truck Drivers deliver the same goods to the same places daily, and others deliver a variety of goods to a variety of places. Common truck driver duties can include:

  • Long-distance driving
  • Communicating and coordinating with dispatchers
  • Obeying and following applicable traffic laws
  • Securing cargo and properly arranging and balancing it within the vehicle
  • Maintaining a detailed log of working hours in compliance with state and federal regulations
  • Ensuring any mechanical issues with the vehicle are corrected before driving
  • Planning routes and meeting delivery schedules
  • Complying with truck driving rules and regulations
  • Reporting defects, accidents and violations
  • Performing daily maintenance of truck (refueling, cleaning, etc.)
  • Loading and unloading box trucks with forklifts and pallet jacks
  • Interacting with customers in a professional manner
  • Performing pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection reports
  • Recording cargo deliveries
  • Verifying loads for accuracy
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Truck Driver Job Description Examples

What does a Truck Driver do?

Truck drivers typically work for a shipping company or for a large corporation that manages its own supply chain and delivery. Truck Drivers often drive long distances, either in state or cross-country. Truck Drivers must possess a commercial driver’s license, and they must be trained in safe driving best practices. Truck Drivers often assist with loading and unloading their vehicle. Truck Drivers are responsible for ensuring that their goods arrive safely and on schedule.

What does an entry-level Truck Driver do?

An entry-level truck driver is responsible for safely operating a commercial truck to transport goods from one destination to another. They drive long distances while adhering to strict federal and state regulations governing commercial vehicle operation. This includes following hours of service limits, maintaining vehicle standards, and ensuring compliance with rest periods. Additionally, entry level truck drivers with a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) are trained in safe driving practices. Depending on the company, they may also handle loading and unloading, inspecting cargo for damage, and completing necessary paperwork.

Truck Driver skills and qualifications

Truck drivers require a wide variety of skills, including:

  • Strong knowledge of safety regulations, to be familiar with not just traffic laws but rules regarding how often they are required to rest, maximum miles driven and the like
  • A clean driving record, or they can have their license suspended or revoked
  • Physical fitness, since Truck Drivers are required to pass a physical exam every two years
  • Hand-eye coordination, since they must coordinate their hands, legs and eyes to maintain a fast reaction time on the roads
  • Visual and hearing acuity, in accordance with federal regulations which mandate that truck drivers have to hear a forced whisper at 5 feet, have at least 20/40 vision, a 70-degree field of vision and the ability to distinguish the colors of traffic lights

Truck Driver salary expectations

A truck driver makes an average salary of $60,429 per year. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Truck Driver education and training requirements

Most companies who hire truck drivers require a high school diploma or GED. Beyond this, most prospective truck drivers seek education at professional truck driving academies where they can learn the skills needed to maneuver large vehicles, the federal laws governing truck driving and other skills. Truck drivers must also possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The qualifications for this vary from state to state. Usually, they require both practical driving and written knowledge tests.

Truck Driver experience requirements

Experience isn’t strictly required to become a truck driver, but experienced candidates are more likely to perform better. Truck drivers with experience have demonstrated the ability to maintain a clean driving record, to stay physically and mentally fit and to meet the other qualifications and skills required to handle driving a big rig in dangerous situations.

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Frequently asked questions about Truck Drivers

What makes a good Truck Driver?

Truck drivers should have certain skills and training to help them perform their jobs well. Driving for many hours at a time requires consistent and unwavering focus for the safety of the Truck Driver, their truck and others on the road. Additionally, great Truck Drivers have substantial physical stamina and fitness to effectively load and unload their cargo without injury. Finally, outstanding Truck Drivers possess excellent spatial awareness, which helps them navigate narrow roads and complicated intersections with ease and success.

What's the difference between a Truck Driver and a Delivery Driver?

While Truck Drivers and Delivery Drivers share a number of similar tasks, responsibilities and objectives, the scope of their work differs tremendously. In most cases, Truck Drivers transport large amounts of cargo over extremely long distances. They usually drive cargo trucks, which require a special commercial driver’s license to operate. Delivery Drivers, by contrast, might drive a company truck or their own personal vehicle. They make local deliveries rather than driving long distances.

What are the daily duties of a Truck Driver?

Most days for Truck Drivers include a single task — driving their truck. Depending on how far they’re driving, Truck Drivers might load their vehicle in the morning, drive for several hours and unload their vehicle at their destination on the same day. In other cases, it might take several days to reach their destination. There are rules and laws governing how many hours Truck Drivers can safely stay on the road and the amount of break time they require before resuming their drive to keep themselves safe and to keep others on the road safe.

Do Truck Drivers have different responsibilities in different industries?

Truck Drivers can have different responsibilities depending on the type of truck they drive and the cargo they’re transporting. For example, if the Truck Driver is transporting a perishable item like food or plants, they’ll likely have a tighter delivery schedule and may have to perform additional cargo and maintenance checks than if they were transporting non-perishable goods. Additionally, different types of vehicles require different training and management. For example, Truck Drivers who transport vehicles will likely need specialized training that other Truck Drivers may not require.

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