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Drivers and Types of Driving Jobs
 PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVERS & TYPES OF DRIVING JOBS

Most individual long haul drivers average from 100,000 miles to 110,000 miles a year, with an average daily run of about 500 miles a day. Regional and city drivers average about 48,000 miles behind the wheel annually. You do not need to buy or lease your own truck for most driver jobs. The vehicle is provided for you and usually maintained by the trucking company.

U.S. professional truck drivers are both men and women, vary in age, race and educational background, and live all over the United States. There are different types of truck drivers, including:

Over the Road / Long-Haul Drivers operate heavy trucks and drive for long periods of time, either interstate (between states) or intrastate (within one state). Some long-haul drivers travel a few hundred miles and return the same day; others are away from home overnight, or for several days or weeks at a time. Some drivers work in teams, including husband and wife teams.

Pick-up and Delivery (P&D) / Local Drivers operate light, medium or heavy trucks and work in route-sales or pick-up-and-delivery operations. These drivers have more contact with customers than over the road drivers and usually make more stops each day. Those P&D drivers often need sales skills in addition to driving skills.

Specialized Trucking involves specialized trucks that handle unusual, oversized or sensitive loads. Drivers cover local and long-distance routes, and need extra training to operate their equipment. Examples of specialized trucking include auto carriers, dry bulk carriers, (permitted) oversized and overweight loads, or double and triple trailers. Other permits may be needed.

Hazardous Materials Drivers need additional training. Drivers need to know about the content of the loads they are hauling, how to handle the loads safely and what to do in an emergency. Drivers who transport hazardous materials must also take a special test when applying for the CDL that certifies them as a hazardous materials driver. Examples of hazardous materials drivers include tank truck, over the road or P&D drivers carrying hazardous materials. Other permits may be needed.

An Owner-Operator or Independent Driver owns his or her equipment, anything from a straight truck to a flat-bed tractor-trailer, and hauls freight on a contractual basis. Husband-and-wife owner-operator teams are very common, especially in the household goods moving industry. It is possible to make a good living as an owner-operator, but like many businesses, the competition is tight and there are many overhead expenses involved – equipment purchases, maintenance, fuel and insurance, to name just a few. Most owner-operators begin their careers as salaried drivers with a motor carrier before starting their own business.

Rates of pay and potential earnings vary considerably within the industry. Most city pick-up-and-delivery drivers are paid by the hour. In long-haul operations, drivers are usually paid a specified rate per mile, or, in some cases, a percentage of the revenue the motor carrier receives for the load hauled.