What do the truck drivers get for their trouble? They get little time at home and a lot of headaches. The pay when compared to the hours worked is not great and living on the road is extremely expensive.
CDL Trucking Jobs
In order to get a truck driver's job you must complete a training program and then take both a written and a driving test. The course will usually last for about three to five weeks, for several hours a day, and include many hours in the truck, training on a driving course.
In order to pass the driving test a student must pass a 108-point pre-trip inspection. This is an inspection you are required to do on your vehicle before every trip and at various points thereafter.
Once you have completed the required training and received your commercial driver's license or CDL you are ready to scout companies.
The trucking industry is suffering a severe lack of truck drivers. Older drivers are beginning to retire, owner operators are quitting because of rising fuel prices and the younger generation is not interested.
These changes in the industry put you and many others in a great position. Lack of drivers has led to companies hiring more women and minorities than ever before. They also have to revamp the way they do business so that drivers are less inconvenienced.
Changes in the Trucking Industry
The first change that many companies are undergoing is adopting paperless logs. New computers called QUALCOMM have been installed in many company trucks across the nation. These allow direct communication with dispatch, load information, and automated logs. These logs will tell the company when you have run out of driving hours, the computer will give you a fifteen minute advanced warning on your log hours giving you an opportunity to find a place to park. With the installation of these computers companies have to stand behind the ‘no logbook violation' that they all claim is important.
With the drivers keeping the logbooks that showed where they had been and how many hours they had been on the road, the logbooks were easy to fudge. Not so with paperless logs.
Wages are another issue that is being discussed as the driver shortage increases. What this means is that there will be many companies wanting to hire you, and competition could drive up your starting wage. This will especially be true once you have at least a year of over the road experience. You will get offers from companies you have never heard of.
Owner Operator Trucking Jobs
Owner operators are truck drivers who drive their own trucks. They consistently make better wages than company drivers. But they are also responsible for the upkeep of the truck as well as for the fuel cost for running the truck, which in the last couple of years has been substantial.
Many drivers have pulled their trucks off the road and put them up for sale. This too has affected the industry creating yet another gap that needs to be filled. As fuel prices begin to come down it could be an excellent time to purchase a truck in order to get an owner operator trucking job. Wages will be competitive and fuel surcharges should be significant.
Truck drivers are in the position to create better working environment than ever before. The amount of freight that needs to be moved annually looks to increase by 38% in the next eight years. This means that drivers who are already in short supply are going to be stretched even thinner.
What better time to demand a good home time policy? Currently CDL truck driver jobs only offer the equivalent of one-day home for every seven worked. That equals drivers being gone nearly a month before they get a weekend at home with their families.
Trucking companies are offering more dedicated and regional runs than they have before to entice new drivers. This is an important benefit especially for families. What is the point of making good money if you never see your children?
The time is right for drivers to affect change in the trucking industry. Demanding better pay, more home time, and safer schedules is not too much to ask. As the shortage increases it is a sure bet that the benefits of the job are going to outweigh the disadvantages. Otherwise, we are all going to be out of business. The time has never been better to begin a career in the trucking industry.