Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Career Video
Description: Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). May be required to unload truck. Requires commercial drivers' license.
Excellent driving skills, quick reaction time, good hearing, and accurate vision form the baseline of what it takes to be a truck driver. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most are long-haul drivers with routes spanning several states, though some cover local routes only. Safety is a major concern in this field, as vehicles can weigh more than 26,000 pounds. Drivers must know and follow special regulations for carrying different cargo, such as chemical waste, liquids, or oversized loads. Routes are assigned by a dispatcher, though drivers may use a GPS to help them plan. Truck drivers work for freight and wholesale trade companies, although some own and operate their own trucks. Their demanding schedules can keep them away from home for days or weeks at a time. Work hours, including breaks, are highly regulated, but drivers often work nights, weekends, and holidays. Because of traffic accidents, handling cargo, and long periods of sitting, there is high risk of illness or injury. Drivers must not have any medical conditions that could impair driving. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers usually have a high school diploma and a commercial driver’s license. Many learn their skills at a professional truck driving school. On-duty drivers are randomly tested for drug and alcohol use.