Driving trucks for a living can allow you to earn plenty of money while doing a job that you love. As a truck driver, you’re able to make an impact on the economy by making deliverers that keep commerce going.

More than anything else, it’s essential that you get excellent training that lets you operate legally, while also getting better at your craft. So what kind of training do truck drivers have to receive?

And just as importantly, what areas of training are currently lacking in the trucking industry? We’re happy to steer you in the right direction.

Read below to learn more about the training truck drivers must undergo, in addition to potential areas of deficiency within the trucking industry.

Truck Drivers Must Pass Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training and Testing

Before anything else, anyone looking to drive trucks must go to trucking school and receive their commercial driver’s license (CDL). This is a special license that allows you to get behind the wheel of a big truck and to operate it in a professional capacity.

This initial training allows you to navigate the highways legally, in addition to learning about things like changing traffic patterns, maneuvering your truck, and the industry as a whole.

These licenses are issued by your state of residence after satisfying the required number of classroom hours and passing both a written exam and a driving test. You need to be at least 18 to get a CDL, though many companies only hire drivers that are 21 and older.

The truck driving school will also require you to pass an exam to get your commercial driver’s permit (CDP) so that you can drive with an instructor in the vehicle with you. Make sure to bring all of your ID and documentation with you, and be prepared to submit to a background check.

From here, you’ll need to consider the type of CDL that you’re getting. These licenses are broken down into Class A, Class B, and Class C, which differentiates between types and sizes of vehicles that you’d operate.

Drivers Typically Stick to Certain Specialties in the Trucking Industry

It’s important to recognize that the type of training you need will also depend on your truck driving specialty. This is important to note since there are several different specialties that drivers can stick to.

Some examples of truck driver specialties include freight haulers, flat bed truckers, less than truckload (LTL) drivers, full truckload (FTL) drivers, and dry van haulers.

Think about the type of impact that you would like to have on the industry and what kind of expertise will come with the territory.

It’s Necessary to Keep Up With Department of Transportation (DOT) Standards and Regulations

Keeping up with Department of Transportation (DOT) standards, regulations, and requirements is as big a part of the job as anything else. For example, DOT regulations allow no more than 60 hours on duty per week and caps drivers’ shifts at 11 hours of active driving.

Drivers are required to keep accurate and thorough logs of their work to make sure that they’re operating safely and within the confines of these regulations.

When you get your CDL, you’ll also need to make sure that you apply for DOT permits and decals that you can post on your vehicle. As you travel, you will need to check in with different DOT regulated inspection and weigh stations to make sure that your truck is still doing well and maintained in a way that is street legal.

Consider Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Protocols

It’s important to recognize that a big part of the truck driving job also deals with materials handling. You might be responsible for loading and unloading lots of inventory during your hauls.

If you have to load up your truck during your travels, you might also be subject to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protocols that come with the territory. This way, you will know how to handle these materials safely and in accordance with the law.

Drivers Should Have Basic Maintenance and Truck Operation Training

When you operate a large semi-truck, you have to understand the way that it works and how to  get the most from it. While this doesn’t mean that you need to become a repair professional, it pays to have at least a basic understanding of the important parts and how the truck works.

This way, you will also be able to provide the best maintenance steps for the truck, in addition to the safest ways to operate it. Having some knowledge on caring for your truck will be helpful in case you happen to break down, blow a flat, or otherwise end up stranded on the side of the road.

Truck Drivers Must Take on Continued Education Opportunities

Right now, there’s a skills gap with certain truck drivers in the industry. When you can bridge this gap, you’ll open the door to new and different opportunities in this career.

Professionals that climb the ladder in the trucking industry are constantly taking on continued education opportunity and training so that they remain skilled and able to do their job. The more training opportunities that you take on, the easier it’ll be to grow your skills and increase your earnings potential.

Learn as Much as You Can About Commercial Trucking

The tips above are helpful to truck drivers looking to learn more about the industry. This is a potentially lucrative industry that you will appreciate when you strive to get the most that you can out of it.

Check out our other posts related to the trucking industry, and get in touch online or by calling (225)269-5175 when you need any legal representation or information.