Employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. As the demand for goods increases, more truck drivers will be needed to keep supply chains moving.
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.
When planning routes, drivers must take into account any road restrictions that prohibit large trucks. Certain cargo requires drivers to adhere to additional safety regulations.
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.
Truck transportation44%Wholesale trade12Self-employed workers8Manufacturing7Construction6Working as a long-haul truck driver is a lifestyle choice because these drivers can be away from home for days or weeks 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. Most companies require their truck drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
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.
During this time, they drive a truck accompanied by an experienced mentor- driver in the passenger seat. 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. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website has a full list of medical conditions that disqualify someone from driving a long-haul truck.
In May 2019, the median annual wages for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the hours that a long-haul truck driver may work.
Motor vehicle operators Total, all occupations Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers Employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. 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. In addition, many truck drivers are expected to retire in the coming years, creating even more job opportunities.
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.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. 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. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.
Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.
To drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) and be hired by a professional company, you will need to meet certain requirements. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all professional truck drivers who drive across state lines to be at least 21 years old.
Check out your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website to become familiar with commercial driving rules and regulations. To earn a CDL, you will have to attend a truck driving school, pass a drug and alcohol test, undergo a physical and more.
Truck drivers provide an essential service to industrialized societies by transporting finished goods and raw materials over land, typically to and from manufacturing plants, retail and distribution centers. Truck drivers are also responsible for inspecting all their vehicles for mechanical items or issues relating to safe operation.
There are also ones that lease a truck from a company and make payments on it to buy it in two to five years. Auto haulers work hauling cars on specially built trailers and require specific skills loading and operating this type of specialized trailer.
Dry van drivers haul the majority of goods over highways in large trailers. They have specialized trailers that allow them to use pressurized air to unload their product.
LTL drivers (Location-to-Location) or “less than truck load” are generally more localized delivery jobs where goods are delivered by the driver at multiple locations, sometimes involving the pulling of double or triple trailer combinations. Reefer drivers haul refrigerated, temperature sensitive or frozen goods.
These areas may include crossing state lines, but drivers usually return home daily. Household goods drivers, or bed buggers, haul personal effects for families who are moving from one home to another.
A container truck (cab-over design) Regional drivers may work over several states near their homes. Team drivers are two drivers who take turns driving the same truck in shifts (sometimes spouses), or several people in different states that split up the haul (line haul) to keep from being away from home for such long periods.
Tanker drivers (tank truck drivers; in truck driver slang tanker Yankees “talkies”) haul liquids, such as gasoline (petrol), diesel fuel, milk, & crude oil, and dry bulk materials, such as plastics, sugar, flour, & cement in tanks. This is especially true for food grade tankers, which do not contain any baffles and are a single compartment (due to sanitation requirements).
Dray age drivers move cargo containers (aka “piggybacks”) which are lifted on or off the chassis, at special intermodal stations. The term bull rack comes from a double-deck trailer used strictly to haul cattle.
A trucker and his vehicle. In Australia, drivers of trucks and truck and trailer combinations with gross vehicle mass greater than 12 tonnes (11.8 long tons; 13.2 short tons) must rest for 15 minutes every 5.5 hours, 30 minutes every 8 hours and 60 minutes every 11 hours (includes driving and non-driving duties). In any 7-day period, a driver must spend 24 hours away from his/her vehicle.
Truck drivers must complete a logbook documenting hours and kilometers spent driving. In Canada, driver hours of service regulations are enforced for any driver who operates a truck, tractor, trailer or any combination of them that has a gross vehicle weight in excess of 4,500 kg (9,921 lb) or a bus that is designed and constructed to have a designated seating capacity of more than 24 persons, including the driver “.
However, there are two sets of hours of service rules, one for above 60th parallel north, and one for below. Below latitude 60 degrees drivers are limited to 14 hours on duty in any 24-hour period.
Receipts for fuel, tolls, etc., must be retained as an MTO officer can ask to see them in order to further verify the veracity of information contained in a driver's logbook during an inspection. After 4.5 hours of driving the driver must take a break period of at least 45 minutes.
The daily driving time may be extended to at most 10 hours not more than twice during the week. In addition to this, a driver cannot exceed 90 hours driving in a fortnight.
The first period must be at least 3 hours of uninterrupted rest and can be taken at any time during the day. When a daily rest is taken, this may be taken in a vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.
The maximum driving time for a two-man crew taking advantage of this concession is 20 hours before a daily rest is required (although only if both drivers are entitled to drive 10 hours). Whether these second drivers could claim the multi-manning concession in these circumstances would depend on their other duties.
On a multi-manning operation the first 45 minutes of a period of availability will be considered to be a break, so long as the co- driver does no work. Where a driver accompanies a vehicle that is being transported by ferry or train, the daily rest requirements are more flexible.
Alternatively, a driver can take a reduced weekly rest period of a minimum of 24 consecutive hours. Where reduced weekly rest periods are taken away from base, these may be taken in a vehicle, provided that it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.
Provided that road safety is not jeopardized, and to enable a driver to reach a suitable stopping place, a departure from the EU rules may be permitted to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of persons, the vehicle or its load. Drivers must note all the reasons for doing so on the back of their tachograph record sheets (if using an analogue tachograph) or on a printout or temporary sheet (if using a digital tachograph) at the latest on reaching the suitable stopping place (see relevant sections covering manual entries).
Emergency services drivers can exceed work hours when attending priority calls. In the United States, the hours of service (HOS) of commercial drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are limited to 11 cumulative hours driving in a 14-hour period, following a rest period of no less than 10 consecutive hours. Drivers employed by carriers in “daily operation” may not work more than 70 hours within any period of 8 consecutive days.
Drivers must maintain a daily 24-hour logbook record of duty status documenting all work and rest periods. The record of duty status must be kept current to the last change of duty status and records of the previous seven days retained by the driver in the truck and presented to law enforcement officials on demand.
An FMCSA ruling mandated use of EBR's, also known as Electronic Logging Device (ELD), to begin on December 18, 2017. A shortage of truck drivers has been reported in the United States.
These include salary, hourly, and a number of methods which can be broadly defined as piece work. Piece work methods may include both a base rate and additional pay.
Base rates either compensate drivers by the mile or by the load. A company driver who makes a number of “less than truckload” (LTL) deliveries via box truck or conventional tractor-trailer may be paid an hourly wage, a certain amount per mile, per stop (aka “drop” or “dock bump”) or per piece delivered, unloaded or tailgated (i.e., moved to the rear of the trailer).
The main advantage of being paid by the mile may be that a driver is rewarded according to measurable accomplishment. The main disadvantage is that what a driver may accomplish is not so directly related to the effort and, perhaps especially, the time required for completion.
Household good drivers deal with the most complexity and thus are typically the highest paid, potentially making multiples of a scheduled freight-hauler. Calculations are generally limited to no more than 3–5% above the estimates of mileage by the carrier before red flags appear, depending on the generosity of the carrier or how it rates the mileage estimation capabilities of the software used.
“Out of route” miles of any incentive are provided by the driver to the carrier for free. Many of the largest long haul trucking companies in the United States pay their drivers according to short miles.
Short miles are the absolute shortest distance between two or more zip codes, literally a straight line drawn across the map. These short miles rarely reflect the actual miles that must be driven in order to pick up and deliver freight, but they will be used to calculate what the driver will earn.
An extreme (but not unheard of) example would be a load that picked up in Brownsville, Texas, and delivered in Miami, Florida. The short routing however would believe the distance to be only 750, as though the truck could drive across the Gulf of Mexico.
Another extreme example would be a load that picked up in Buffalo, New York, and delivered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, not giving any consideration that three of America's Great Lakes lie between that load's origin and destination. Some trucking companies have tried to alleviate some of these discrepancies by paying their drivers according to “practical miles”.
Trucking companies practice this method in order to attract and retain veteran drivers. Household goods (HOG) miles, from the Household Goods Mileage Guide (aka “short miles”) was the first attempt at standardizing motor carrier freight rates for movers of household goods, some say at the behest of the Department of Defense for moving soldiers around the country, long a major source of steady and reliable revenue.
Rand McNally, in conjunction with the precursor of the National Moving & Storage Association developed the first Guide published in 1936, at which point it contained only about 300 point-to-point mileages. Today, the 19th version of the Guide has grown to contain distances between more than 140,000 cities, zip codes, or highway junctions.
In this type of pay structure, the owner-operator will be paid a percentage of the gross load revenue. This percentage varies depending on the services provided by the company.
For example, an owner operator who receives 95% of the load revenue may only be provided with dispatch services and nothing else. An owner-operator who receives 65% of the load revenue may have a company provided trailer, insurance, or other benefits.
While not common, company drivers can also be paid by percentage of the load. Companies such as Dupe Logistics, that traditionally paid by the mile have switched to hourly wages.
Certain special industry driving jobs such as oilfield services like vacuum, dry bulk, and winch truck drivers, can receive a $22.00 or higher hourly wage. A December 2020 survey found the average truck driver in the United States works 70–80 hours per week and earns between $.28 cents to $.40 per mile.
In Australia heavy vehicle licenses are issued by the states but are a national standard; there are 5 classes of license required by drivers of heavy vehicles: A Light Rigid (LR class) license covers a rigid vehicle with a gross vehicle mass (GYM) not more than 8 tons, with a towed trailer not weighing more than 9 tons GTM (Gross Trailer Mass).
Also, buses with a GYM up to 8 tons which carry more than 12 adults including the driver. A Medium Rigid (MR class) license covers a rigid vehicle with 2 axles and a GYM of more than 8 tons, with a towed trailer not weighing more than 9 tons GTM.
A Heavy Combination (HC class) license covers semi-trailers, or rigid vehicles towing a trailer with a GTM of more than 9 tons. D1+E Combinations of vehicles where the towing vehicle is in subcategory D1 and its trailer has a MAM of over 750 kg, provided that the MAM of the combination thus formed does not exceed 12000 kg, and the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle.
Acquiring a CDL requires a skills test (pre-VIP inspection and driving test), and knowledge test (written) covering the unique handling qualities of driving a large, heavily loaded commercial vehicle, and the mechanical systems required to operate such a vehicle (air brakes, suspension, cargo securement, et al.), plus be declared fit by medical examination no less than every two years. Many major trucking companies require driver applicants to be at least 23 years of age, with a year of experience, while others will hire and train new drivers as long as they have a clean driving history.
A CDL can also contain separate endorsements required to operate certain trailers or to haul certain cargo. These endorsements are noted on the CDL and often appear in advertisements outlining the requirements for employment.
Specifically, the five-axle tractor-semitrailer combination that is most commonly associated with the word truck requires a Class A CDL to drive. Truck weights are monitored for limits compliance by state authorities at a weigh station and by DOT officers with portable scales.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) division of the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) regulates the length, width, and weight limits of CMOS used in interstate commerce. The National Network consists of (1) the Interstate Highway System and (2) highways, formerly classified as Primary System routes, capable of safely handling larger commercial motor vehicles, as certified by states to FHA.
Prior to the 2010 HOS changes it was common for 4–8 hours to elapse during this evolution. CSA addressed this and incorporated legal methods for drivers and trucking companies to charge for this excessive time.
A major problem for the long-haul trucking industry is that a large percentage of these drivers are aging, and are expected to retire. Very few new hires are expected in the near future, resulting in a driver shortage.
Trucking (especially the long-haul sector) is also facing an image crisis due to the long working hours, long periods of time away from home, the dangerous nature of the work, the relatively low pay (compared to hours worked), and a driver last” mentality that is common throughout the industry. To help combat the shortage, trucking companies have lobbied Congress to reduce driver age limits, which they say will reduce a recruiting shortfall.
Under current law, drivers need to be 21 to haul freight across state lines, which the industry wants to lower to 18 years old. Employee turnover within the long-haul trucking industry is notorious for being extremely high.
In the 4th quarter of 2005, turnover within the largest carriers in the industry reached a record 136%, meaning a carrier that employed 100 drivers would lose an average of 136 drivers each year. There is a shortage of willing trained long distance truck drivers.
Part of the reason for the shortage is the economic fallout from deregulation of the trucking industry. Michael H. Better is an internationally recognized expert on the trucking industry, especially the institutional and economic impact of deregulation.
He is an associate professor, in the economics department at Wayne State University. He is the author of Sweatshops on Wheels: Winners and Losers in Trucking Deregulation (Oxford University Press, 2000).
“ argues that trucking embodies the dark side of the new economy.” “Conditions are so poor and the pay system so unfair that long-haul companies compete with the fast-food industry for workers.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote: “The cabs of 18-wheelers have become the sweatshops of the new millennium, with some truckers toiling up to 95 hours per week for what amounts to barely more than the minimum wage. Due to the nature of the job, most drivers stay out longer than 4 weeks at a time.
This is the average for OR (Over The Road) Line Haul and Regional drivers. Most tractors are equipped with sleeper berths that range from 36" to as large as 86" in length.
While there are larger sleepers that get up to 144” in length, these are not seen in the mainline segment of trucking. Those are usually seen in the specialized and household moving segments, where the load is either permitted for overweight or oversize or is very light yet bulky.
From 1992 to 1995, truck drivers had a higher total number of fatalities than any other occupation, accounting for 12% of all work-related deaths. In 2016 alone, 475,000 crashes involving large trucks were reported to the police: 0.8% were fatal and 22% resulted in injury.
Among crash fatalities generally, 11.8% involved at least one large truck or bus. In 2016, property damages resulting from truck and bus crashes cost several billion dollars.
Truck drivers are five times more likely to die in a work-related accident than the average worker. Highway accidents accounted for a majority of truck driver deaths, most of them caused by confused drivers in passenger vehicles who are unfamiliar with large trucks.
The unsafe actions of automobile drivers are a contributing factor in about 70 percent of the fatal crashes involving trucks. More public awareness of how to share the road safely with large trucks is needed.
A violation out of service is defined by federal code as an imminent hazard under 49 U.S.C. National statistics on accidents published in the FMCSA Analysis and Information online website provides the key driver LOS categories for the year 2009 nationally: 17.6% are log entry violations, 12.6% are speeding violations, 12.5% drivers record of duty not current, and 6.5% requiring driver to drive more than 14 hours on duty.
In a November 2005 FMCSA report to Congress, the data for 33 months of large truck crashes was analyzed. While the truck and car in two vehicle accidents share essentially half the burden of the accidents (not 70 percent as stated above), the top six driver factors are essentially also the same and in approximately equivalent percentages: Prescription drug use, over the counter drug use, unfamiliarity with the road, speeding, making illegal maneuvers, inadequate surveillance.
This suggests that the truck driver makes the same errors as the car driver and vice versa. This is not true of the vehicle caused crashes (about 30 percent of crashes) where the top failure for trucks is caused by the brakes (29 percent of the time compared to 2% of the time for the car).
Sometimes these are in secluded areas or dangerous neighborhoods, which account for a number of deaths due to drivers being targeted by thieves for their valuable cargo, money, and property, or for the truck and trailer themselves. Drivers of trucks towing flatbed trailers are responsible for securing and strapping down their cargo (which often involves climbing onto the cargo itself), and if the load requires taping necessitates climbing on the load to spread out tarps.
Drivers spend long hours behind the wheel, which can cause strain on the back muscles. Some drivers are responsible for unloading their cargo, which can lead to many back strains and sprains due to overexertion and improper lifting techniques.
If the cab of the truck is not appropriate for the driver's size, the driver can lose visibility and easy access to the controls and be at higher risk for accidents. This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information.
Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. One challenge of finding truck parking is made difficult perhaps not because there are insufficient parking spaces “nationwide”, but where the majority of those spaces are not located, and most needed; near the most densely populated areas where demand for trucked goods is greatest.
As urban areas continue to sprawl, land for development of private truck stops nearby becomes prohibitively expensive and there seems to be an understandable reluctance on the part of the citizenry to live near a facility where many trucks may be idling their engines all night, every night, or to experience the associated increase in truck traffic on local streets. Exacerbating the problem are parking restrictions or prohibitions in commercial areas where plenty of space exists and the fact that shippers and receivers of freight tend to prefer to ship and receive truckloads in the early and late portions of the business day.
The end result is an increase in truck traffic during the morning and evening rush hours when traffic is most dense, commuters exhibit the least patience, and safety is compromised. A driver can only become familiar with locations of public and commercial parking spaces and their capacity and traffic by visiting them.
Commercial diesel-fueled vehicles with a OVER greater than 10,000 pounds are subject to the following idling restrictions effective February 1, 2005. Idle the vehicle's primary diesel engine for greater than five minutes at any location.
A truckdriver's “DAC Report” refers to the employment history information submitted by former employers to Hire Right & USES Commercial Services Inc. (formerly called DAC Services, or “Drive-A-Check”). It will also indicate whether the company stored drug and alcohol testing information with USES.
When a trucking company reports negative information about a truck driver, it can ruin the driver's career by preventing him or her from finding a truck driving job for several years or more. It is widely known that trucking companies often abuse this power by willfully and maliciously reporting false information on truckers’ DAC reports, either in retaliation for seeking better paying trucking jobs elsewhere or for any number of other fraudulent, anti-competitive reasons.
As long as truck drivers can be threatened with a false DAC report for standing up to management or leaving their company for a better job elsewhere, working conditions at truck driver jobs will not improve. Truck drivers in the United States are on the frontline delivering essential goods to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many truck businesses may refuse to take assignments that travel to areas experiencing active outbreaks, such as New York City. They also found great difficulty in obtaining gas and sustenance as many travel stops have closed.
The categories are: 1)- Unsafe Driving, 2)- Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance, 3)- Driver Fitness, 4)- Controlled Substances and Alcohol, 5)- Vehicle Maintenance, 6)- Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance, and 7)- Crash Indicator. The HM and crash indicators are not currently publicly available.
There have been improvements, such as the combining of the original Inspection Selection System (ISS) and the Motor Carrier Safety Status Measurement System (SafeS tat) to create ISS-2 in 2000 but many issues remained unsolved. A 2012 FMCSA rule change addressed issues but still presented many problems including the Hours of Service rules for those drivers falling under the required “record of duty status” (RODS).
There have long been truck driver and trucking industry members concerns over the scoring, the bias, especially to smaller carriers according to a General Accountability Office report, associated with the scoring when non-preventable accidents are included, the public posting of the scoring, and a lack of state mandatory procedures ensuring that a citation that was not prosecuted, or that ended favorably for the driver or carrier, was retracted from the national database because it is flawed, artificially raising the driver or carrier scores, and the insurance industry uses these scores to assess risks on insurance. The FMCSA had released a report that the CSA scoring works.
The hours of service rules has been changed several times since 2010 and is a concern to carriers and drivers. Drivers need to be aware that along with the ELD rule is a mandate to carry a paper log book and verify that the ELD manual and instruction sheet is in the truck.
A driver must be able to email or fax the data if directed by a DOT officer. If an ELD malfunctions a driver must create a paper log to comply with the seven or eight day requirements, as well as recording the vehicle inspection.
Congress has mandated the system to be overhauled and proposed FMCSA rules were scrapped as a result. New rules being proposed and testing includes a new Item Response Theory (IRT) model to replace the current relative rankings' system began being tested in September 2018 with changes due in 2019.
During February 2016 an independent survey on the driver shortage was carried out by a UK freight exchange. Over a third of all drivers who participated in the survey felt that they were not being treated well by the companies they drove for.
If the AVL unit is connected to a Mobile data terminal or a computer it also allows the driver to input the information from a bill of lading (BOX) into a simple dot matrix display screen (commonly called a Qualcomm for that company's ubiquitous MITACS system). The driver inputs the information, using a keyboard, into an automated system of pre-formatted messages known as macros.
This system also allows the company to track the driver's fuel usage, speed, gear optimization, engine idle time, location, the direction of travel, and the amount of time spent driving. Instead of keeping track of working hours on a traditional pen and paper based logbook, the driver informs the company of his status using a macro.
During the short times while they are in heavily polluted urban areas, being inside the cab of the truck contributes much to avoiding the inhalation of toxic emissions, and on the majority of the trip, while they are passing through vast rural areas where there is little air pollution, truck drivers in general enjoy less exposure to toxic emissions in the air than the inhabitants of large cities, where there is an increased exposure to emissions from engines, factories, etc., which may increase the risk of cancer and can aggravate certain lung diseases, such as asthma in the public who inhabit these cities. Other conditions affecting the health of truck drivers are for example vibration, noise, long periods of sitting, work stress and exhaustion.
For drivers in developing countries there are additional risks because roads are in appalling conditions and accidents occur more frequently. Truck driver fatigue is defined by the US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as being caused by “physical and/or mental exertion, resulting in impaired performance”.
Factors that increase truck driver fatigue include lack of sleep (quantity and quality), long work hours, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and general stress. These sleep experiences have been linked to cognitive deficits, fatigue, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
A contributing factor to truck driver fatigue is the stress associated with managing compliance to FMCSA's hours of service (HOS) regulations. In addition, they are limited to the number of hours they can drive during any consecutive 7-day or 8-day period, depending on their employer's operations.
There are also reset rules, break requirements, and sleeper berth and short-haul exceptions. Failure to produce a driver's log upon request by an enforcement official or non-compliance with HOA regulations, results in a driving penalty or fine.
Better electronic methods for maintaining and managing drivers' logs are needed to help reduce truck driver stress. The FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted an extensive study from April 2001 to December 2003 investigating the causes of large truck crashes.
Researchers reported that in thirteen percent of the crashes resulting in fatalities or injuries, truck driver fatigue was present. Another FMCSA study published in 2011 reported that large truck crashes were increasingly associated with driving times greater than 7 hours, which is when fatigue begins to affect performance.
The FMCSA also reported that in 2016 truck driver fatigue was a larger contributing factor than alcohol and drugs in fatal truck crashes. Sleep disorders and deprivation Truck drivers are also sensitive to sleep disorders because of the long hours required at the wheel and, in many cases, the lack of adequate rest.
Traffic fatalities are high and many of them are due to driver fatigue. Drivers with obstructive sleep apnea have a sevenfold increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.
2014–150) states: Most drowsy driving crashes or near misses occur during: 0400 and 0600, 0000 and 0200, and 1400–1600 hours and drivers are at the highest risk of a sleep-related accident. 391.41(b) A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person (5) has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with his/her ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.
Question 1 states that a motor carrier is responsible for ensuring drivers are medically qualified for operating CMOS in interstate commerce. The FMCSA published a proposed guidance for sleep apnea testing in April 2012.
Carriers began requiring drivers be tested for the disorder using neck circumference and Body Mass Index (BMI). For a male anything above 17" and for a female 15" was the minimum criteria with drivers above that having to be tested.
Health care professionals had to be registered with the FMCSA after May 21, 2012, to give certifications, and carriers started to require checking. A new law was passed in Australia requiring that all “over the road” drivers carry their medical information with them when they “are on the clock”.
According to a 2007 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 86% of the estimated 3.2 million truck drivers in the United States are overweight or obese. A survey conducted in 2010 showed that 69% of American truck drivers met their criteria for obesity, twice the percentage of the adult working for population in the US.
Eighty percent of truckers have unhealthful eating patterns as a result of poor food choices and food availability at truck stops is partially to blame. Research suggests that drivers value quality and taste much more than nutrition when selecting food.
Another issue is the pattern of extensive and irregular snacking while on the road and consumption of one large meal at the end of day. The daily meal is often high in calories and may be the highlight of the trucker's day.
Lack of exercise is another contributing factor to the obesity epidemic in the truck driver population. This is largely determined by long work hours and tight deadlines, the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of a place to exercise.
However, there are many parking restrictions and safety concerns in trying to incorporate exercise into the daily routine. Studies have found the risk of obesity increases in high demand, low control jobs, and more so in jobs with long work hours; the truck driving industry falls under these categories.
Also, daytime sleepiness and night disturbances are associated with obesity, and are, therefore, common among truck drivers. Long haul drivers have tight schedules, so they tend to drive longer and get less sleep.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does have Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. These regulations were modified in 2011; but the new rule only permits drivers to work up to 70 hours in 7 days.
Fines for companies which allow work beyond 11 hours are up to $11,000 and for drivers up to $2,750. Obesity prevalence is affected by access to care for truckers.
Moreover, truckers have difficulties making an appointment on the road and often do not know where to stop for assistance. Some are able to be seen at doctor's offices or private clinics while a large percentage depend on emergency rooms and urgent care visits.
The Department of Transportation has Convenient Care Clinics across the U.S., but those are hard to find and are few and far between. Health care costs are substantially higher for overweight and obese individuals, so obesity in the truck driver population puts a greater financial demand on the industry.
A study of 1,600 truck drivers from 2014 found that truckers in the US smoke at twice the rate of other working adults in the United States; 51% of truckers reported that they smoked in a 2010 survey. 61% of truckers in the same survey reported having two or more risk factors, which were defined as high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, no physical activity, or sleep deprivation (6 or fewer hours of sleep per 24 hours).
In another study from 2015, more than 91,000 truck drivers were surveyed and similar types of morbidity were found. Truck drivers also suffer from musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, and stress at higher rates.
I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, find that: Drug use is having serious adverse effects upon a significant proportion of the national work force and results in billions of dollars of lost productivity each year; The Federal government, as an employer, is concerned with the well-being of its employees, the successful accomplishment of agency missions, and the need to maintain employee productivity; The Federal government, as the largest employer in the Nation, can and should show the way towards achieving drug-free workplaces through a program designed to offer drug users a helping hand and, at the same time, demonstrating to drug users and potential drug users that drugs will not be tolerated in the Federal workplace; The profits from illegal drugs provide the single greatest source of income for organized crime, fuel violent street crime, and otherwise contribute to the breakdown of our society; By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America deeming such action in the best interests of national security, public health and safety, law enforcement and the efficiency of the Federal service, and in order to establish standards and procedures to ensure fairness in achieving a drug-free Federal workplace and to protect the privacy of Federal employees, it is hereby ordered Sec. Excerpt of Reagan's Executive Order 12564 September 15, 1986 In the 1980s the administration of President Ronald Reagan proposed to put an end to drug abuse in the trucking industry by means of the then-recently developed technique of urinalysis, with his signing of Executive Order 12564, requiring regular random drug testing of all truck drivers nationwide, as well as employees of other DOT -regulated industries specified in the order, though considerations had to be made concerning the effects of an excessively rapid implementation of the measure.
Making sudden great changes in the infrastructures of huge economies and the industries crucial to them always entails risks, the greater the change, the larger the degree. Because of the U.S. economy's strong dependence on the movement of merchandise to and from large metropolitan population centers separated by such great distances, a shortage of truck drivers could have far-reaching effects on the economy.
After the 1929 stock-market crash, for example, the chain reaction of reduction in sales due to consumers' prioritizing and reducing purchases of luxury items, with companies responding by reducing production and increasing unemployment, exacerbating the cycle of reduction or elimination of production, sales, and employment, had the ultimate result of plunging the nation's economy into the Great Depression. Even the 1974 nationwide speed-limit reduction to 55 mph, which merely slowed the movement of merchandise, was followed by the recession of the late 1970s.
In the years and decades following Executive Order 12564, efforts to begin random drug testing and pre-employment drug screening of truck drivers were not expedited, leaving the change to occur gradually, out of concern for the dangers of excessively rapid change in economic infrastructure. Since then, many tractor-trailer operators have left the industry in search of other employment, and a new generation of drivers has come in.
After the measure it became extremely difficult for truck drivers to engage in drug abuse and remain undetected. On 12/10/2015, The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to draft a proposed plan to address the use of synthetic drugs among truckers.
The NTSB also issued a call to pro-trucking bodies to educate their members about the dangers associated with truckers’ use of synthetic drugs, and to come up with a way to prevent their use while behind the wheel. Truck drivers once had a highly elaborate and colorful vocabulary of slang for use over their CB radios, but with the high turnover in the industry in recent decades, this has all but vanished.
Most of the newer generation of drivers in the U.S. today speak to one another over their CB radios (or other similar communication devices) in more or less standard English (as understood in the various regions of the country), although a few of the slang words and phrases have remained, and many of these have passed into use in the colloquial language of the public. “Smokey” and “bear” are still used to refer to police officers, especially state patrolmen, and sometimes “diesel bear” for a DOT officer, though many new-school drivers merely say “police”, “policeman” and “cop”.
One form of unspoken communication between drivers is to flash headlights on or off once or twice to indicate that a passing truck has cleared the passed vehicle and may safely change lanes in front of the signaling vehicle. The passing driver may then flash the trailer or marker lights to indicate thanks.
The truck blocks the view of drivers behind it, hence a distinction must be made between “Thanks for letting me pass” and “Danger in front, I may brake hard!” Turning on the left-turn signal (in a right-hand traffic country) when a vehicle behind attempts to overtake means “Back off; lane not clear”, and turning on the right-turn signal means “Go ahead; lane clear”.
Though not official, two consecutive flashes indicate a police patrol, whereas a rapid series of flashing indicates DMV or other law-enforcement agency that only controls truck drivers. During the day time, the latter is sometimes accompanied by the signaling driver making a circle with both hands (as if holding a tachograph ring).
Flashing headlights to the vehicle in front (intended for the other driver to see in their mirror) has two meanings. Long flashes are used to signal a truck driver that they are clear to return to the lane.
A series of rapid flashes generally means “You're doing something stupid or dangerous” as in “Do not move in front, trailer not clear!” Truckers also use their 4 ways flashing up a steep hill, mountain roads and on ramps on expressways to let others know that they are traveling at a slow speed and to be cautious approaching them.
Or a shorter version is to simply extend the fingers while still keeping the palm in contact with the steering wheel. Truck drivers have been the subject of many films, such as They Drive by Night (1940), but they became an especially popular topic in popular culture in the mid-1970s, following the release of White Line Fever, and the hit song Convoy by C. W. McCall, both in 1975.
In 1977, another film Smokey and the Bandit, was released, which revolves around the escapades of a truck driver and his friend as they transport a load of bootleg beer across state lines. One episode of Cowboy Bebop, “Heavy Metal Queen”, also features space faring truck drivers.
^ It is to be noted that Michigan has some of the highest gas prices, but that those taxes are not spent on highways, but are diverted into the state's general fund. ^ “National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Fatigue Management”.
^ “Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations (FOR/2005-313)”. ^ “Rules on Drivers' Hours and Tachographs Goods vehicles in GB and Europe” (PDF).
“New Official Household Goods Transportation Mileage Guide 19 is Now Available!” CS1 main: archived copy as title (link) ^ a b “Commercial Driver's License Program”.
“Michigan road funding: Proposal to cut truck weight limits fails in state Senate”. “Effect of Michigan Multi-Axle Trucks on Pavement Distress” (PDF).
^ “Pavement Comparative Analysis Technical Report Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study” (PDF). “Experts weigh in on how much Michigan's heavy trucks damage the state's roads”.
“Fixing Michigan's crumbling roads: What about the heavy trucks?” “The U.S. Truck Driver Shortage: Analysis and Forecasts” (PDF).
Truck driver turnover reaches record level”. “Facing A Critical Shortage Of Drivers, The Trucking Industry Is Changing” (Audio).
Sweatshops on Wheels: Winners and Losers in Trucking Deregulation (Hardcover). The Washington Post ^ Personal experience 15 years in the industry.
“Fatalities and Injuries Among Truck and Taxicab Drivers” (PDF). ^ “Safety and Health Topics: OSHA Assistance for the Trucking Industry”.
^ “FHA Report on Truck Parking Facilities Shows Adequate Supply Nationwide”. ^ Truck Parking Areas, Highway Special Investigation Report, Adopted May 17, 2000” (PDF).
^ Yvette Killian, “'Everything just changed so drastically': Veteran trucker describes 'chaos' after coronavirus”, “Yahoo Finance”, April 8, 2021 ^ “Andrea Manning”, “Independent Women’s Forum” ^ Perry Chiaramonte, “Truckers keep on trucking during coronavirus pandemic”, “Fox News”, March 31, 2021 ^ Christian Coroner, “Truckers are the unsung heroes of this pandemic”, “MAN”, March 23, 2021 ^ “SMS BASIC Scores”. North Dakota State University (DSU) Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.
“CSA scoring is faulty, unfair for small carriers, GAO report says”. “CSA Scores And Their Impact On Carrier Insurance Costs”.
“CSA works and is not biased against small carriers, FMCSA report concludes”. “Complying with Congressional statute, FMCSA submits plan to reform CSA”.
^ “Latest HPV Driver Shortage Facts, Figures And Perspectives”. “Lung cancer in heavy equipment operators and truck drivers with diesel exhaust exposure in the construction industry”.
^ “Diesel Exhaust Exposure Early in Life Doubles Asthma Risk”. Work and sleep among transport operators: Disparities and implications for safety.
^ “Quick Sleep Tips for Truck Drivers” (PDF). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
^ Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration & National Sleep Foundation. “DOT withdraws rule to set sleep apnea screening criteria for truckers”.
“A Burdensome Regulation Screening Truck Drivers for a Sleep Disorder”. ^ Bieber, W., Robinson, C., Birdseye, J., Chen, G., Hitchcock, E., Lincoln, J., & Sweeney, M. (2014).
“Barriers to Truck Drivers' Healthy Eating: Environmental Influences and Health Promotion Strategies” (PDF). CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b Jacobson, P. W.; Gleiwitz, A., & Lukasz, J.
CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b c Gill, P.; Wick, K. (2004). “Case study of a healthy eating intervention for Swedish truck drivers”.
CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b Colin, C (23 December 2011). “New hours of service rule reduces driver workweek”.
CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Martin, B.; Church, T., Donnell, R., Ben-Joseph, R., & Ronstadt, T. (2009). “The Impact of Overweight and Obesity on the Direct Medical Costs of Truck Drivers”.
CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Bieber WK, Robinson CF, Birdseye J, Chen GO, Hitchcock EM, Lincoln JE, Dakota A, Sweeney MH (June 2014). “Obesity and other risk factors: the national survey of U.S. long-haul truck driver health and injury”.
^ These, M. S., Soffit, G. J., Wazowski, R. N., Kale's, S. T., Porter, R., & Hermann, K. (2015). Repeated Cross-Sectional Assessment of Commercial Truck Driver Health.