Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. Learn more about heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers by visiting additional resources, including O×NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.
Drive long distances Report any incidents encountered on the road to a dispatcher Follow all applicable traffic laws 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 When planning routes, drivers must take into account any road restrictions that prohibit large trucks.
On these team runs, one driver sleeps in a berth behind the cab while the other drives. Other drivers, such as those carrying liquids, oversized loads, or cars, must follow rules that apply specifically to them.
Some truck drivers travel far from home and can be on the road for long periods at a time. Driving for many consecutive hours can be tiring, and some drivers must load and unload cargo.
Because of the potential for traffic accidents, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the hours that a long-haul truck driver may work.
Drivers learn the federal laws and regulations governing interstate trucking. Many prospective drivers attend professional truck driving schools, where they take training courses to learn how to maneuver large vehicles on highways or through crowded streets.
During these classes, drivers also learn the federal laws and regulations governing interstate truck driving. Students may attend either a private truck -driving school or a program at a community college that lasts between 3 and 6 months.
Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL that show their ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle. Getting this endorsement requires passing an additional knowledge test and a background check.
Federal regulations require CDL drivers to maintain a clean driving record and pass a physical exam every two years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website has a list of these violations.
After completing truck -driving school and being hired by a company, drivers normally receive several weeks of on-the-job training. This period of on-the-job training is given so that the new drivers will learn more about the specific type of truck they will drive and material they will transport.
Drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers must be able to coordinate their legs, hands, and eyes simultaneously so that they will react appropriately to the situation around them and drive the vehicle safely. Federal regulations do not allow people to become truck drivers if they have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, which may interfere with their ability to operate a truck.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the hours that a long-haul truck driver may work. The economy depends on truck drivers to transport freight and keep supply chains moving.
Technological advancements should result in trucks that are more fuel efficient and easier to drive. For example, automatic transmissions, blind spot monitoring, braking assistance, and variable cruise control are all recently developed features that may become more standard throughout the trucking industries within the next decade.
In addition, technological advances may lead to further developments in platooning, which is a method of transport where several trucks form a line and automatically mimic the speed, braking, and steering behaviors of the lead truck. These technologies can help ease driver burden and create a safer driving environment for all vehicles.
Job prospects are projected to be very good for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers with the proper training and a clean driving record. Because of truck drivers difficult lifestyle and time spent away from home, many companies have trouble finding and retaining qualified long-haul drivers.
In addition, many truck drivers are expected to retire in the coming years, creating even more job opportunities. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.
The link(s) below go to YES data maps for employment and wages by state and area. CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area.
There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code. This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.
See How to Become One $33,300Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area. No formal educational credential$28,710Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule.
High school diploma or equivalent$30,010Workers in railroad occupations ensure that passenger and freight trains safely run on time. High school diploma or equivalent$65,020Water transportation workers operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water.
The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.
For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (YES) program, state projections' data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.
Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.
Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.
The virus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person-to-person through respiratory droplets: Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more). Produced when a person who is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Do not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met. Follow CDC recommended precautions and tell your supervisor if you or someone you live with or someone you have had recent close contact with has COVID-19.
Include where to stop, where and how to seek medical advice and treatment, and plans for freight delivery. Use paperless, electronic invoicing for fueling, deliveries, and other tasks, when available.
Contact facilities in advance to make an appointment for unloading of cargo. Pack food, water, and supplies to limit the number of stops.
Do not share personal protective equipment (PPE) (such as vests, safety glasses, hard hats), tools, phones, radios, or other personal items. Don’t touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes while taking off the cloth mask.
Ensure cloth masks do not create a new risk (for example, interferes with driving or vision, or contributes to heat-related illness) that exceeds their COVID-19 related benefits of slowing the spread of the virus. When team driving or ride-alongs are required, wear a cloth mask when sharing the cab with someone who doesn’t live with you and you can’t stay 6 feet apart.
For those with sensory, cognitive, or behavioral issues, cloth masks may be difficult to wear, especially for extended periods of time. CDC provides information on adaptations and alternatives that should be considered when cloth masks may not be feasible.
Clean the following areas on a routine basis or at least daily: In the truck cab (driver door handle, steering wheel, seat belt and buckle, arm and head rest, seat cover, turn signal, wiper controls, dashboard, air ducts, radio, and temperature controls). In the sleeper berth (light switches, mattress tray, temperature controls, and other flat surfaces).
You don’t need to wear gloves if you wash your hands regularly (unless they are already required for your job). Wash your hands at these key times: Before entering and leaving the cab, including deliveries, loading and unloading of cargo, rest breaks, fueling, and other activities.
Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Or take a 15–30-minute nap before continuing if you feel fatigued while driving.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges in the ways many people work and connect with others, which may raise feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. It is important to pay attention to these in yourself and others and be aware of resources available to manage them.