You are on page 1of 3

Being a truck driver isn't easy, believe me, my dad has been a truck driver for 17

years and there is a lot of things you need to know and understand before
becoming one. First, the tests. You have to pass a certain amount of tests before
you can get your CDL, which in other words it is called Commercial Driver's License,
something that is super important and have to get before you even step foot into a
semi, or anything that is a huge commercial vehicle. Truck drivers are responsible for
checking the axle and gross weights of their vehicles, usually by being weighed at a truck
stop scale. Truck weights are monitored for limits compliance by state authorities at a weigh
station and by DOT officers with portable scales.
Commercial motor vehicles are subject to various state and federal laws regarding
limitations on truck length (measured from bumper to bumper), width, and truck axle length
(measured from axle to axle or fifth wheel to axle for trailers).
The relationship between axle weight and spacing, known as the Federal Bridge Gross
Weight Formula, is designed to protect bridges. A standard 18-wheeler consists of three axle
groups: a single front (steering) axle, the tandem (dual) drive axles, and the tandem trailer
axles. Federal weight limits for NN traffic are:

1. 20,000 pounds for a single axle.

2. 34,000 pounds for a tandem axle.
3. 80,000 pounds for total weight.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) division of the US Department of Transportation
(US DOT) regulates the length, width, and weight limits of CMVs used in interstate
commerce. Interstate commercial truck traffic is generally limited to a network of interstate
freeways and state highways known as the National Network (NN). 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 FHWA.
State weight and length limits (which may be lesser or greater than federal limits)
affect only operation off the NN. There is no federal height limit, and states may set their
own limits which range from 13 feet 6 inches to 14 feet. As a result, the height of most
trucks range between 13' and 14'. 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 their vehicles for mechanical items or issues relating to safe operation. Others,
such as driver/sales workers, are also responsible for sales and customer service. Most truck
drivers are employed as over-the-road drivers, meaning they are hired to drive long
distances from the place of pickup to the place of delivery. 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
general public who inhabit these cities. However, the few drivers who are hired to drive only
within urban areas do not have this advantage of spending more time away from toxic
emissions that is enjoyed by over-the-road drivers. 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
on appalling conditions and accidents occur more frequently. Truck drivers are even a high-
risk group for HIV-infection in those countries. Truck drivers are found on every American
interstate and highway.
All products found in a store are delivered by a truck driver. Ocean cruisers, planes,
and trains may ship products to a port or distribution center, but trucks ship these products
to stores. Prior to getting on the highway to make deliveries, truck drivers check fuel and oil
levels, as well as examining the lights, safety equipment, brakes, and windshield wipers on
their trucks. They must also ensure their rearview mirrors are properly adjusted and the
freight they are transporting is securely fastened. Any damaged or improperly loaded freight
must be reported to a dispatcher. The United States Department of Transportation requires
that truck drivers maintain records about their daily work activities, operating conditions of
their trucks, and, if a driver is involved in an accident, a report of the accident details. Truck
drivers who transport loads totaling 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or more are
known as heavy truck or tractor trailer truck drivers. These drivers move livestock,
automobiles, and any other load meeting or exceeding 26,000 lbs GVW. They often travel
long distances, so many companies transport these loads with two drivers so one can sleep
while the other drives. When two drivers work together, they sometimes drive routes that
can last days or weeks. They usually only stop to eat, fill their trucks with gas, and unload
their freight. Certain drivers moving these heavy loads transport freight to one city on a
continual basis, and some drivers transport freight on an unscheduled basis whenever
clients request shipments.
Truck drivers transporting heavy loads far distances spend most their time driving.
These drivers usually are certified to unload the freight they transport. Sometimes when it
does not require special skills to unload freight, drivers hire local employees at their delivery
destinations to unload it. Drivers who transport freight weighing under 26,000 lbs GVW are
known as light delivery service drivers. They usually have assigned delivery routes. They
frequently make deliveries to a city, make a pick up, and deliver the cargo back to the city
their company is based out of. Drivers utilize electronic tracking technology to keep track of
freight, and these drivers are usually responsible for loading and unloading freight. They
usually only hire outside help if they are moving heavy merchandise or have responsibility
for numerous deliveries during the day. Once drivers. complete their shifts, they must turn in
payments, delivery records, and report any truck problems to their supervisors. Driver's
duties and route lengths are usually determined by the type of freight they transport and the
size of their trucks. Local drivers usually service a specific region daily, and the schedules
and routes for drivers who transport merchandise across interstate highways often changes.
Local truck drivers are often assigned customer service and sales duties. Commonly referred
to as driver/sales specialists or route drivers, they sell and deliver their company's
merchandise across set routes. Since these drivers have customer service responsibilities,
the manner in which they deal with a customer can determine whether they keep them as
customers. They usually collect money and take their customers' orders.
The responsibilities of truckers with sales duties depend on the industry they are
employed in and their company's sales policies. They usually deliver products to stores and
distributors and usually do not make deliveries to personal residences. These drivers often
monitor store shelves to determine what items are popular and make recommendations to
their customers. Laundry companies that provide businesses with rented clothes usually
dispatch truckers to pick up dirty laundry. Many drivers are required seek additional
customers when they travel their routes. Once they have finished their routes, drivers
specializing in sales complete their orders for their next shifts according to clients' requests
and merchandise sales.

Many trucking companies monitor their trucks' locations and provide truckers with
weather and traffic conditions using GPS systems or satellite technology. This technology
also enables drivers to coordinate deliveries and report any problems to dispatchers. In
addition, satellite technology also monitors fuel levels and motor performance. Modern
trucks are usually equipped with computerized freight tracking technology. Work
environment. Modern trucks are usually designed for trucker comfort, so the job is not as
tiring as it used to be, but driving all day and unloading and loading heavy freight can be
physically exhausting. Truckers who drive local routes are usually home at night. Truckers
who own their own trucks and make long distance deliveries are away from home a lot.
United States Department of Transportation regulations determine the hours for truckers
making interstate deliveries.
Drivers making interstate deliveries can only work 14 continuous hours, only driving
11 hours. Once they are done working, truckers must have at least 10 hours off. Drivers are
also restricted from driving after working 60 hours during a week or 70 hours in an 8 day
period. They may continue their work after resting for at least 34 consecutive hours.
Truckers must record their hours in logbooks. Since they are often paid per mile or hours
driven, truckers usually work as many hours as they are permitted by law. Most truckers
must work evenings, weekends, and holidays, so many struggle with loneliness and
exhausting. Truckers driving local routes usually spend 50 or more hours working every
week. Truckers delivering food or products to grocery stores often work very long shifts
beginning in the early mornings or late evenings. Truckers usually make their deliveries on
standard routes, but some truckers routes change daily. Drivers with local routes and sales
responsibilities usually load and unload merchandise, so these workers can fatigue quickly
from lifting heavy loads.