There are over 1.7 million men and women currently working as long-haul truck drivers. They drive large loads across the country, spend hours in isolation and face constant hazards on the road. It’s a hard job, but increasingly important in the days of Prime shipping and overnight deliveries. Many statistics back the importance of truck driving, claiming it indicates the country’s economic health.
While there has been much publicity surrounding a truck driving shortage, it still is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. It’s a needed and constantly growing field, projected to see a 36.6 percent growth by 2028. It’s also a field that won’t be going anywhere—unaffected by automation. It’s also a great way to earn a steady income, with the average truck driver earning $54,000 each year.
Truck driving is a rapidly growing field seeking to employ millions of Americans for a good wage. For many truck drivers who never finished high school or college, they could be making an above average salary for their education level. But what does it truly take to become a truck driver?
Truck drivers are responsible for every aspect of their vehicle while on the road. They must make sure their rigs are operated safely and are always in good working condition. They are responsible for a vehicle weighing around 30,000 pounds and must follow the rules of the road while ensuring safe interactions with cars and pedestrians. Semi-trucks especially can be very difficult to drive and have several blind spots that force them to maintain a higher diligence when sharing the road with smaller vehicles.
Many truck drivers work up to 70 hours over eight days. This is followed by a required 34 hour break before they are allowed to drive again. In December of 2018, the U.S. government required all truck drivers to use an electronic logging device so their supervisors can ensure they don’t drive more than 11 hours during a 14 hour period. After 11 hours of driving, truck drivers are then required to take a 10 hour break.
Most truck drivers are paid by the mile. In these cases, they won’t truly know how much they’re making until the end of the year. Truck drivers paid by the mile are heavily affected by traffic delays or live unloadings at the delivery site. Both situations could lose the drivers 3-5 hours of mileage as they wait for traffic to clear or for the delivery to be unloaded. However, on an average day, a truck driver will usually cover 500 miles.
In the United States, any truck driver must carry a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). Requirements for the CDL include:
- Large vehicle operation knowledge
- Annual classroom training sessions
- Bi-annual physical exams
- Clean driving records
In most cases, drivers adhering to long-haul regulations operate their vehicles safely and effectively. These rules are put in place to protect the truck drivers and others on the road. However, accidents do happen, especially when drivers are encouraged to work longer hours to finish all their deliveries in a timely manner. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident with a truck driver, contact a truck accident lawyer in Abingdon, VA today as you may be eligible for compensation.
Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into personal injury claims and accidents with long haul trucks.