How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

Truck Driver Job DescriptionTruck drivers transport goods from location to location. They drive a range of different size trucks, from heavy trucks, tractor-trailers, trucks modified to carry special items, and other large motor vehicles.

Most truck drivers who drive tractor-trailer trucks are long-haul drivers. They operate trucks with gross weights in excess of 26,000 lbs. These drivers travel intercity routes and much further distances, sometimes across several states.

Truck drivers need a certain licence type to drive trucks of different sizes and weight. They can apply for a Commercial Driver’s Licence by passing a written exam, and take a test to prove their proficiency handling a large truck.

Truck Driver Salary

How much do truck drivers make? The average truck driver’s salary is taken by looking at the median recorded wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a median wage of $43,680.

truck drivers salaryThis is a figure at the middle point of the amount half the workers earn more than, and half earn less then. It’s taken across the board for the whole of the US, so it’s worth remembering that salaries vary across different states.

A truck drivers starting salary is around $28,160. This is the figure that the lowest 10% in the profession earn less than. While the highest 10% earn more than $65,260. This reflects how wide the profession is with different industries, types of truck, experience, and level of qualifications.

Tractor-trailer and heavy truck drivers are often paid per how many miles they drive. Along with bonus payments for certain targets or goals. The type of cargo being transported can also have an effect on the rate of pay, with dangerous or hazardous goods offering higher pay.

Truck driver hours are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier safety Administration. This is regulated to ensure drivers are not driving too many hours, making them tired and risking an increased chance of accident.

Drivers cannot work more than 14 hours without a long break. This is broken up into 11 hours driving and 3 hours loading and unloading goods. Drivers are also restricted to a maximum of 60 works work in 7 days, or 70 hours in 8 days. The drivers are responsible for logging all their hours, and can spread their hours over nights, days, weekends, and holiday.

Top 5 Paying States

Flag
State
Employment per 1000 Jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Alaska Flag
Alaska
8.88
$26.00
$54,070
North Dakota Flag
North Dakota
37.75
$24.43
$50,810
Wyomin Flag
Wyoming
24.69
$23.31
$48,480
Massachusetts Flag
Massachusetts
6.85
$23.06
$47,970
New Jersey Flag
New Jersey
10.58
$22.66
$47,120

Top Paying Industries

Industry
Percent of industry employment
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing
0.19
$32.69
$68,000
Wired Telecommunications Carriers
0.01
$29.91
$62,220
Amusement and Recreation Industries
0.02
$28.42
$59,120
Couriers and Express Delivery Services
5.16
$28.20
$58,660
Electric Power Distribution
0.10
$27.21
$56,590

Truck Driver Job Description

what do truck drivers doWhat do truck drivers do? Truck drivers are responsible for driving trucks and transporting goods. There are a range of key duties, and typically includes the following:

• Long-distance driving
• Be aware and responsible for following traffic laws
• Communicate with dispatchers
• Keep records and logs of their work
• Safety check their vehicle and report any faults
• Inspect and maintain their vehicle for smooth operation

Truck drivers use satellite tracking devices to help them plan their routes, and find the most direct routes. They are usually given the end location, and then are responsible for getting their on time.

A driver must be familiar with the types of roads they can use, and any they cannot. They have to plan their journey to incorporate their rest periods and allow for traffic. Some drivers do similar trips over and over and know their routes well. While others have new journeys every time they have some goods to transport.

It’s not uncommon for drivers to cross borders and drive into Mexico or Canada. So being able to travel to these countries and know the local laws is also important. There will be advice provided on these trips, but some travel awareness is a plus.

Some companies use two drivers in the truck. This means they can have less downtime by swapping drivers and sharing the driving. There will be an area for one person to sleep, while the other drives at night.

Throughout a truck drivers career they will typically transport a wide range of goods. This included hazardous material for a lot of drivers. Extra care needs to be taken, usually in the way of wearing protective equipment, driving slower, and extra safety equipment should an accident occur.

Some truck drivers go into business for themselves. Buying or leasing a truck and finding clients in need of drivers. These drivers are called owner-operators, and while they can earn more money doing this, they have all the administration tasks of a self-employed person.

Truck Driver Career Outlook

The outlook for truck drivers is expected to grow about as quickly as the average for all occupations. It’s forecast at 6% growth until 2026.

Demands for goods follow a similar pattern to the economy. As the economy improves, so does the demand for goods, and as a result the need for truck drivers to transport goods. In the US trucks are responsible for transporting most of the freight, so the growth is expected to follow the household spending.

Fuel prices rising can have a negative effect on growth. Companies look at alternative methods of transport when fuel is high, such as rail. Trucks are much more efficient at shorter distance however, and they have a lot more options in regards to routes.

Truck drivers that undertake proper training have more favourable employment opportunities. With the home-life sacrifices many long-haul drivers need to make there is often a demand for skilled long-haul drivers.

Truck Driver Salary by State

Flag
State
Employment per 1000 Jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Alabama Flag
Alabama
16.556
$19.58
$40,730
Alaska Flag
Alaska
8.878
$26.00
$54,070
Arizona Flag
Arizona
9.017
$19.51
$40,580
Arkansas Flag
Arkansas
29.003
$17.47
$36,350
California Flag
California
8.422
$20.86
$43,380
Colorado flag
Colorado
10.767
$21.44
$44,600
Connecticut Flag
Connecticut
7.641
$22.31
$46,410
Delaware flag
Delaware
8.863
$20.52
$42,680
Florida Flag
Florida
9.174
$17.64
$36,700
Georgia Flag
Georgia
12.758
$19.50
$40,560
Hawaii Flag
Hawaii
5.64
$20.95
$43,570
Idaho Flag
Idaho
19.233
$17.91
$37,250
Illinois Flag
Illinois
11.601
$21.90
$45,550
Indiana Flag
Indiana
16.778
$20.37
$42,360
Iowa Flag
Iowa
24.733
$19.93
$41,450
Kansas Flag
Kansas
14.514
$19.91
$41,410
Kentucky Flag
Kentucky
15.462
$19.33
$40,220
Louisiana Flag
Louisiana
12.289
$18.68
$38,850
Maine Flag
Maine
15.631
$18.14
$37,720
Maryland Flag
Maryland
7.674
$20.38
$42,390
Massachusetts Flag
Massachusetts
6.851
$23.06
$47,970
Michigan Flag
Michigan
12.282
$19.15
$39,840
Minnesota Flag
Minnesota
12.317
$20.65
$42,960
Mississippi Flag
Mississippi
20.335
$18.65
$38,790
Missouri Flag
Missouri
14.893
$19.65
$40,860
Montana Flag
Montana
14.51
$21.19
$44,070
Nebraska Flag
Nebraska
27.655
$20.28
$42,180
Nevada Flag
Nevada
8.159
$22.55
$46,900
New Hampshire Flag
New Hampshire
10.662
$19.53
$40,620
New Jersey Flag
New Jersey
10.582
$22.66
$47,120
New Mexico Flag
New Mexico
11.892
$19.62
$40,810
New York Flag
New York
6.15
$22.41
$46,610
North Carolina Flag
North Carolina
12.402
$18.57
$38,620
North Dakota Flag
North Dakota
37.751
$24.43
$50,810
Ohio Flag
Ohio
12.856
$20.13
$41,870
Oklahoma Flag
Oklahoma
15.433
$19.31
$40,150
Oregon Flag
Oregon
12.671
$19.34
$40,230
Pennsylvania Flag
Pennsylvania
12.84
$20.80
$43,260
Rhode Island Flag
Rhode Island
5.975
$19.77
$41,130
South Carolina Flag
South Carolina
12.036
$19.41
$40,380
South Dakota Flag
South Dakota
18.46
$18.70
$38,900
Tennessee Flag
Tennessee
17.68
$19.75
$41,080
Texas Flag
Texas
14.752
$20.02
$41,640
Utah Flag
Utah
15.942
$21.15
$43,990
Vermont Flag
Vermont
12.904
$20.21
$42,040
Virginia Flag
Virginia
10.006
$18.98
$39,470
Washington Flag
Washington
10.371
$21.19
$44,070
West Virginia Flag
West Virginia
15.796
$18.00
$37,430
Wisconsin Flag
Wisconsin
16.892
$19.94
$41,480
Wyomin Flag
Wyoming
24.686
$23.31
$48,480

Top paying metropolitan areas

Area
Employment per 1000 jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
Peabody, – MA – NECTA Division
6.68
$27.52
$57,250
Nassau / Suffolk, – NY – Metropolitan Division
6.98
$26.80
$55,750
Fairbanks, AK
19.73
$26.61
$55,340
Anchorage, AK
8.29
$26.53
$55,170
Casper, WY
22.28
$26.13
$54,350

Top paying nonmetropolitan areas

Area
Employment per 1000 jobs
Hourly mean wage
Annual mean wage
West – Central – North Dakota – nonmetropolitan area
51.34
$27.08
$56,320
Eastern Utah – nonmetropolitan area
40.94
$26.86
$55,870
Far Western – North Dakota – nonmetropolitan area
88.32
$25.94
$53,950
Southeast Alaska – nonmetropolitan area
4.79
$25.01
$52,010
Nevada – nonmetropolitan area
30.42
$24.84
$51,660

Truck Driver Career Video

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Noel Griffith

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