Life as a Truck Driver: Is this for Me?
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a truck driver in the U.S. is currently $49,000. Because of this, many people who have been unable to find viable work in another industry are tempted to make a career change. However, the trucking industry typically has many jobs available, and this is due to the fact that driving a truck for a living requires a specific personality and lifestyle. Therefore, before you rush off to sign up for truck driving school, you should analyze several factors of accepting a position in this industry.
1. Licensing Requirements
Anyone who wants to start a career as a truck driver needs to pay for driving school and obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). Additionally, you will be required to log a specific amount of training miles before you will be qualified to drive on your own. It is also important to note that the state and federal government regulates the trucking industry, and it will be essential to comply with each applicable law. This will have an impact on how many miles you can legally drive per day, and it will also make it necessary for you to study state regulations for each area on your route.
2. Accident Procedures
The standard procedures that are utilized when someone gets into an accident while driving a passenger vehicle are not the same that you will experience if you are involved in a traffic incident while driving a semi-truck. Immediately after an accident, you should call the police and contact your company to file a report. Make sure that you are as detailed as possible, and take photographs of the accident scene if at all possible. However, you should be careful not to say anything regarding the accident to the other party or the police that can be used against you in court, and you should never sign anything unless a law enforcement officer asks you to sign the accident report.
3. Legal Consequences
Tragically, the size of a truck makes it easy to seriously injure or kill someone as the result of an accident. For example, a Missouri woman died on October 4, 2013 after her vehicle was hit by a tractor trailer. Surviving family members in this type of situation have the legal right to obtain an attorney so that they can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver. This can have devastating consequences for the driver, and it is definitely a scenario that everyone should consider before pursuing a career in this industry.
4. Health Issues
Unfortunately, there are several health issues that are associated with truck driving. Most of this is caused by spending extended hours at a time sitting behind the wheel, and it is imperative for drivers to take steps to minimize their health risks. The most common issues are obesity, sleep deprivation, strokes, heart attacks and depression. Truck drivers also have a higher than usual risk of contracting skin, lung, kidney or bladder cancer, and many people in this profession will develop back problems.
Other important considerations include your level of comfort with isolation and the impact that this career choice can have on your personal relationships. Some people make the decision to keep a pet with them while they are on the road, and this can definitely have a positive impact on their mental health. However, being a responsible pet owner will require you to schedule multiple stops into each day so that the animal can exercise and answer the call of nature. As you can see, no one should seek out a career in trucking until they have taken the time to properly consider whether or not it is a good fit for their lifestyle.
Lisa Coleman shares some considerations to be thought of by a person who is contemplating a career as a trucker, including the legalities. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwpkommunikacio/7242426758/
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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwpkommunikacio/7242426758/