FAQs By Drivers

How old does a driver need to be to work as a truck driver?
Truck drivers must be at least 21 in most cases, especially when drivers must cross state lines.

How often do truck drivers get to come home?
Truck drivers work in a variety of situations, some driving longer distances than others. In most cases, truck drivers are home every week or every other week. This all depends on the type of job they take, however. If the driver is traveling across the country, he or she she is home less time than if they were making deliveries within their home county.

What do professional truck drivers earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the average earnings for a truck driver each year are about $38,000. Additionally, some truck lines pay an additional fee per mile. Drivers who have spent longer with the company tend to make more money as the years go on.

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A driver has a DUI. Can they still use my commercial driver's license?
A DUI is a very serious offense, and commercial drivers do suffer because of them. If somebody has been operating a vehicle under the influence while carrying a commercial driver's license, the consequences are often very severe -- even if the driver is operating a personal vehicle at the time. The driver's license may be suspended, even for work.

A driver has a police record with past convictions. Can they still become a trucker?
The DMV will run the driver's record when they apply for a commercial driver's license. In most cases, simply having a record is not enough to disqualify somebody from earning a driver's license.

A driver has a felony on their record. Can they still become a trucker?
Certain offenses may disqualify somebody from earning a commercial driver's license, at least for a federal position. For instance, drivers may not obtain a CDL after they have used a commercial vehicle to commit a felony or if the driver has committed vehicular manslaughter. Other disqualifying felonies may include vehicular misconduct, operation of a vehicle with a blood alcohol level higher than .08%, extortion or kidnapping.

On a state level, drivers may have to consult with local laws. Some states may be more lax than others.

A driver has an outstanding warrant. Can they still work as a commercial truck driver?
In most cases, warrants related to traffic incidents will not stop somebody from getting a commercial driver's license. Unfortunately, these warrants may prevent the driver from getting a job. Because of the warrant, some employers may consider the driver to be a high risk.

What will student drivers learn during classroom training for a commercial driver's license?
In training for a CDL, student drivers will become acquainted with safety issues and laws for driving straight trucks and tractor-trailers. The program is fairly comprehensive, offering tips for navigating such a large truck. Drivers-in-training will learn about keeping adequate logs and about federal regulations for truckers. The course also covers types of loading and unloading, as well as reading road signs adequately.

What will drivers learn during the CDL behind-the-wheel training?
Behind-the-wheel training is an important component that will help each driver pass their skills exam and obtain a commercial driver's license. In the training, drivers will learn how to maneuver the truck safety, whether they are stopping at a light or changing lanes. Student drivers will learn how to start, stop and park the truck as well as how to use the controls and switches on the dashboard. The course also teaches the difference between driving on local roads and on the highway.

How long does the commercial driver's license program take?
Most trucking programs require about 40 hours per week for efficient training. It is essentially a full-time program for up to seven weeks, depending on the type of CDL the driver intends to receive.

What is the difference between the Class A and Class B CDL programs?
The Class A program tends to take longer, closer to seven weeks. The Class B license, on the other hand, takes about one week. This is because the Class A license requires that drivers learn how to drive a wider variety of vehicles. Class B is designed to drive small loads and dump trucks.

What is the first step to getting my CDL?
The first step to obtaining a CDL is to find a truck driving school in the area. Read reviews and check the curriculum to ensure that their standards meet up with the things drivers need to learn. Drivers may also want to check with local trucking companies to ensure that they hire people who have attended the school he or she has been considering.

Does trucking come with medical benefits?
Yes. Each company has its own plan for medical benefits, so it is important that drivers check out their options before making a decision. These plans also offer benefits for families.

How often do truckers get paid?
Most truckers get paid once per week, but different companies have their own payment schedules. It is important that each driver checks with each the company they sign on with first if the schedule is crucial to their lifestyle.

What skills does a truck driver need to be successful?
Good truckers come in all forms. A strong desire to learn about trucking and the laws of the road is important. Everything the driver needs to know will be taught in the classroom or behind-the-wheel training. Additionally, drivers will also find that critical thinking and good judgment are important factors in how successful they will become on the job.

How much does it cost to go to school to drive trucks?
The classroom and behind-the-wheel training for driving a truck will differ from school to school. The average appears to be about $4,000, but it will depend on the location and the length of the program.

Can drivers take the CDL test again if they don't pass the first time?
Yes. If a driver contacts the training program after the failed exam, they may be able to receive guidance in those areas they did not do so well in at first.

What is a dry van driver?
Dry van drivers are those that transport dry materials, typically non-perishables. This is a great choice for beginners, especially because it does not typically involve unloading the truck.

What do flat bed drivers transport?
Flat bed drivers may transport a variety of items. They range from vehicles (even military vehicles) and oversized loads. For this reason, drivers of flat bed trucks need to have knowledge to secure these items.

What special skills does a tanker driver need to have?
Tanker drivers have a difficult job, as they must know how to handle a spill of hazardous liquid in many cases. Of course, some tanker drivers do drive non-hazardous materials as well. No matter the case, transporting liquid of any kind can be a difficult job.

What special skills do refrigerated freight drivers need to have?
Refrigerated trucks are unique, requiring the driver to have several special skills. These include knowing how to set the truck to a specific temperature. These trucks may contain medicine and food (including meat), so setting the truck correctly is crucial.

What can somebody drive with a Commercial Class A license?
A driver with a Class A CDL can drive any type of commercial vehicle suitable for the road.

What can a trucker drive with a Class B CDL?
Drivers with a Class B license are allowed to drive a bus without a trailer or another vehicle with three axles and a weight of 6,000 pounds or more. Class B drivers can also operate farm labor vehicles and Class C noncommercial vehicles.

What can truckers drive with my Commercial Class C Driver's License?
Class C drivers can transport hazardous materials with the proper placards.

Can somebody become a truck driver if they have gaps in their employment history?
Most trucking companies will look as far back as 10 years in a driver's employment history if they already have trucking experience. Bad work history within the last 10 years can reflect poorly. If the driver is new to the industry, they can expect the company to look back as far as three years. Without solid work history, drivers should be expected to provide an explanation as for why they were not working.

How much education does one need to work as a truck driver?
In most cases, truck driving companies want to know that their drivers have a high school diploma or a GED. Many truck driving schools want to see this education as well.

Is a driver allowed to bring guests into the truck with them?
Yes, in many cases. Most trucking companies do allow drivers to bring along one adult passenger, and some allow children who are family members so long as they are older than 10 or 12. Each company has its own age requirements to consider.

Can a driver get a CDL without going to school for truck driving?
Technically, drivers can obtain a commercial driver's license without going to trucking school. The only problem is that trucking companies will not be inclined to hire a driver if they do not see that this person has attended a reputable school.

When is the best time to start applying for trucking jobs?
The best time to apply for a truck driving job is as soon as the driver knows when they will finish their education at the truck driving school. Drivers may be eligible for a pre-hire position, which means that they will be approved for work as soon as they complete the school and get a CDL.

What is the CLP?
The CLP, Commercial Learners Permit, allows drivers to practice with a qualified driver with a CDL on public roads. In order to get this permit, drivers must pass a written knowledge test. It is after this that drivers go on to take the behind-the-wheel exam.

What kinds of truckers make more money?
Truck drivers who transport hazardous materials and gas are more likely to be higher earners than others. Drivers who have been with the same company for years will also have a higher annual wage.

How much time do truck drivers spend on the road each day?
As a truck driver, one may spend 12 hours or longer on the road in one day. Deadlines are very tight, and drivers are often behind the wheel for long stretches at a time to meet them.

Where can a driver get a copy of the Commercial Driver's manual?
The Commercial Driver's manual is available for free at the local DMV. Drivers may also find a digital copy on each state's DMV website. Either way, this handbook is the key to passing a CDL exam. It has all the information necessary, supplementing classroom learning.

What types of bonuses are available for truck drivers?
Truck drivers are allowed several opportunities to earn bonuses. These include extra incentives for safety, fuel and consistent service. Of course, each trucking company will have its own bonuses and incentives.

What types of truck driving schools are available?
Potential truck drivers have three types of driving schools to choose from. These include private schools, which are for-profit. Drivers may also consider a company-paid training program through a motor carrier. Public institutions are also available, many of which are partially funded by the government. Some programs are available through community and state colleges.