Different Types of Truck Driving Jobs Explained

Different Types of Truck Driving Jobs:  The trucking industry is an indispensable part of any and every economy. Every industry of every scale depends on an efficient and active trucking system for its growth & development. Trucks deliver the raw materials to the factories and take the finished products from the factories to the markets and ports for export.

Types of Truck Driving Jobs

If you look around you, almost every item of use is somehow or the other dependant on the trucking system. From your cell phone to the chair you’re sitting on, from your laptop to the coffee you are drinking –none of these would have probably reached you if the ever-dependable trucking network was absent. Truck drivers work tirelessly round-the-clock, ably supported by their competent backend support team, to reach you every item of daily need – in both your professional and personal lives.

Have you ever considered what may happen if the trucking industry ceased working? Here are a few scary statistics:

  • Within 3 days we would face a shortage of perishable commodities
  • Within 15-20 days, we would run out of packaged drinking water
  • Within 2-3 days, ATMs would run dry
  • Within 24 hours, hospitals would be left without their food supply
  • Huge job losses amounting to hundreds of thousands

That’s scary, indeed. Rail freight might be cheaper, but it lacks the wide reach that the trucking industry has. So, the trucking sector is not only here to stay – but flourish and prosper with every day.

The trucking industry in the USA

The truck drivers – 3.5 million of them (source)– constitute the American trucking industry. This huge workforce, sometimes not accorded their due importance, is the backbone of the Great American Economy. Every item of usage – industrial and domestic – can reach the intended destination only because of the enviable effort and dedication of these people, 24 x 7 x 365.

More than 80% of this huge nation is dependent on the truck drivers for the timely delivery of products. That gives an idea of the size & scale of the country’s trucking system. The industry stands valued at $800 billion – and it’s growing at a steady pace. And to keep pace with this growth, it’s important for technological innovations in this industry as well. Otherwise, service levels would take a hit and that will spell disaster for the industry.

Some such innovations that have come to the aid of the truck drivers are:

  • Trucking appsthese apps assist the drivers with a wealth of information regarding weather and road conditions, availability of motels, parking facilities, and other civic amenities, nearby gas stations, mechanics, and lots more. They also help to play different kinds of music to ease the frayed nerves of the drivers. 
  • Semi self-driven trucks – from time to time, this technology helps the drivers to take a break while the vehicle is still on the move. This is a boon to the drivers without taking their jobs away. 
  • Dash Cams – this helps the drivers and fleet owners to monitor their fleet and related activities. 

Truck driving jobs in the USA

The demand for trucking services is on the rise in keeping with the growth of the business. But the trucking industry in the USA is a sort of efficient driver. That has a negative effect on the service delivery standards from time to time. The job of a truck driver comes with a good and stable salary and opportunities to earn a decent bonus – along with the opportunity to become an entrepreneur within some years. There is a steady demand for truck drivers. So, it’s time for you to take a look at this lucrative career option.

Types of Truck Driving Jobs: 

Different types of trucks ply on the roads. The selection of a particular type by the client depends on the type of cargo being transported. Each type of truck is different from the other, thus requiring some specific skills from the drivers. Thus, with a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL),  you can opt for the following types of truck driving jobs that best suit you:

1) Dry Van Drivers

Driving a dry van is how most truck drivers start their careers in the trucking industry. They drive a 53-foot single trailer that is stuffed with dry and non-perishable goods. In most cases, the drivers themselves would require to unload the cargo. However, some employers might do otherwise. 

2) Tanker Drivers

Tanker drivers are among the most in-demand among all in the trucking industry. It’s not easy to transport liquid cargo. And liquid cargo also involves transporting of hazardous stuff like petroleum, chemicals, etc. In the event of any emergency, the drivers would need to show the presence of mind and act fast. 

3) Auto/Car Haul Drivers

These drivers transport automobiles from one point to another.  This cargo is extremely valuable, sometimes running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hence, the responsibility of the driver to transport it safely is much higher. These drivers would need to be extra cautious while driving and also select truck stops carefully. And with this higher responsibility, often comes higher pay for these truck drivers.

4) Refrigerated Freight Drivers

Many items like fruits, seafood, medicines, etc. are perishable. It’s extremely critical that these goods should reach their intended destination on time. The temperature of the containers in which such products are carried needs to be set to a specific point. This point would vary from commodity to commodity.

The drivers of such trucks need to be knowledgeable about the product that they are carrying and also be adept at regulating the temperatures. This is a job that entails the highest levels of responsibility and also comes with high pays.

5) Flat-bed Truck Drivers

To understand what is Flatbed truck, let put in this way: Oversized cargo that doesn’t fit in a standard container needs to be transported in flat-bed trucks. It is important that these types of cargo be fastened securely to prevent mishaps. The drivers need to be fully aware of such procedures. Steel beams, lumber, military equipment, excavation tools, etc. are some examples of this type of cargo.

6) LTL Freight Drivers

LTL means Less Than Load cargo. These are smaller sized shipments that don’t fill up a container all by themselves individually. So, the transporting company fills up the container with LTL shipments of different shippers. As an LTL driver, you would be making several stops during your drive and also drive comparatively short distances. You would need to unload the container yourself.

7) Local Truck Drivers

As the name suggests, here you would drive over a short distance. This would be within your city or on the outskirts. You would be back home every night. Mostly, the pay would be by the hour. 

8) Oilfield Truck Drivers

Some trucking companies specialize in driving equipment related to oilfield exploration and drilling. Prior to driving such a truck, you would be given extensive training as this type of driving involves transporting highly specialized equipment.

9) OTR Truck Drivers

OTR stands for “Over The Road.” This generally involves trucking over longer distances like interstate or cross-country (from the USA to Canada/Mexico and back).  The cross-country drives might last few weeks. These drivers clock huge miles every year and are generally paid by the mile.

Thus, as you can see, a range of truck driving jobs awaits you. Some of these drivers are owner-operators, meaning they drive the truck of their own company. Yes, you would spend long hours away from home in most of these roles – but you will be rewarded with high pay, a stable job, and good career growth prospects. Here’s wishing you all the best for your truck driving job!

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