For many truck drivers, driving across the country is what the doctor prescribed to manage their wanderlust. However there’s more to truck driving than just getting behind the wheel and following Google Maps directions. Here are a few facts about trucks and truck driving to consider if you’re thinking about becoming a truck driver.
The Benefits of ELDs
To counteract driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate. An ELD allows drivers to log the number of hours they’re behind the wheel, helps minimize accidents and increases road safety. Other benefits of ELDs include improved route management, accurate location tracking, real-time truck diagnostics and reduced fuel waste. With an ELD, drivers don’t have to deal with paper logs.
Licensing for Truck Drivers
Pulling several thousand pounds of freight takes serious skill and effort. To qualify for a commercial driver’s license, drivers will need to complete in-person training and obtain a permit. The three classes of commercial licenses are A, B and C. With a Class A license, an individual can drive any combination truck with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more, such as flatbeds, tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations and more.
Longer Combination Vehicles (LCVs)
These types of vehicles are the only type of rig that can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. The three LCV trailer combinations include Rocky Mountain Double, Triple and Turnpike Double.
An average 18-wheeler gets about 5.9 miles per gallon (mpg). Yes, you read that right. Though the mpg is quite low compared to a standard car, if you take into consideration how much weight the truck is pulling then it makes sense. The following advancements can help make semi-trucks become more economical:
- Automated transmissions
- Better aerodynamics
- Hybrid motors
- Rear trailer door with round caps
- Side skirts that avert wind turbulence
Truck Driver Demographics
In 2018, there were 3.5 million employed truck drivers in the US. One in ten drivers are veterans and the median age of truckers is 46. More than 80 percent of drivers are male. Only 6.6 percent of drivers are female, and are typically under the age of 35, Hispanic and have attained higher levels of education, compared to older generations of drivers.