A Brief Overview of Trucking History

Semi-trucks keep the US economy moving and are responsible for transporting 71.8% of our nation’s freight. The trucking industry has evolved over the decades and larger shifts have influenced this evolution. In turn, truck driving has played a role in many historical events.

Here is a brief overview of trucking history:

Late 1800s and Early 1900s – The First Semi-Trucks

In 1898, Alexander Winton built the first semi-truck. Winton was a Scottish immigrant and the owner of the Winton Motor Carriage Company in Cleveland. His company sold automobiles, which were called “horseless carriages” at the time. Customers sometimes lived far away from Cleveland, so Winton had to find a way to get their vehicles to them without causing damage or adding mileage.

To solve this problem, he created an early version of a flatbed semi-truck. The horseless carriage would be on a platform and attached to another vehicle in the front. In 1899, Winton sold his first semi-truck.

In 1914, Detroit blacksmith August Charles Fruehauf took semi-trucks to the next level. He used his vehicles for hauling lumber and started the Fruehauf Trailer Company in 1918. The semi-trailer design allowed trucks to haul more types of freight, but railroads were still the dominant method of shipping at the time.

1910s – World War I

During the same time when Fruehauf was manufacturing his first semi-trailers, World War I was raging in Europe. The United States sent semi-trucks overseas and the military used these vehicles for a variety of operations. The war brought about significant improvements in tractor-trailer design, such as air-filled (pneumatic) tires instead of the rough all-rubber tires that were common prior to this time.

1930s – ATA, Motor Carrier Act, and Reefers

By the start of the 1930s, there were over 300,000 semi-trucks in operation in the United States.

In 1933, two organizations (the American Highway Freight Association and the Federation Trucks Associations of America) combined to create the American Trucking Associations (ATA). This organization is still around today and advocates for the interests of the trucking industry.

The Motor Carrier Act of 1935 introduced the first trucking regulations. These included weight limits and caps on hours of service.

Near the end of the decade in 1938, Minnesota trucking executive Harry Werner lost a shipment of chicken due to a truck breakdown. At this time, companies shipped agricultural products with ice and any issues or delays could result in the entire load spoiling. This event prompted Werner to invent the refrigerated truck, more commonly known today as a reefer.

1940s – World War II and Post-War Boom

As was the case during World War I, semi-trucks played a role in World War II. By 1942, there were 125,000 truckers enlisted in all branches, transporting materials for the war effort.

After the war, many Americans had more wealth than ever before and were spending it on luxury goods. Since these items needed to travel across the country, trucking continued to expand. Advancements in the diesel engine and the creation of new roads both helped spur this growth. This is also when the first truck stops began to pop up around the nation.

1950s – 1960s – Highway Construction and the DOT

In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act. This began the creation of a nationwide system of highways. As a result, semi-trucks could travel more efficiently.

With the creation of highways, there was a need for oversight in the trucking industry. The Department of Transportation (DOT) was created in 1967.

1970s – 1980s Trucking in Popular Culture

During the 70s and 80s, trucking became more prominent in popular culture. Movies such as Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Convoy (1978) came out, as well as songs including Alabama’s “Roll On 18-Wheeler” and Eddie Rabbit’s “Driving My Life Away.”

Trucking Today

Truck driving continues to adapt to the times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, truckers continued to deliver freight and keep our nation moving forward. New technology has made semi-trucks more comfortable and safer than ever before and there continues to be a steady demand for new truckers to enter the industry.

Become a Trucker

If you are interested in becoming a professional driver, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help you get started. With our program, you can earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and find a rewarding trucking job.

To learn more about our CDL training, contact us today.

Tips for Trucking With Pets

Trucking is one of the few careers where you can take your furry friends with you on the job. There are many pet-friendly motor carriers that you can work with if this is something you are interested in. While sharing your semi-truck with your dog or cat is a bit of an adjustment at first, it can make life on the open road more enjoyable to have a companion by your side.

Here are some tips for trucking with pets:

1. Know the Rules For Your Company

More and more trucking companies are allowing their drivers to bring pets on the road, but most do have some requirements. There is usually a weight limit. 25 pounds is common, but some companies do allow larger animals. In some cases, there are also breed restrictions. Be sure to read the policy carefully to determine whether dogs and cats are both allowed and whether or not your pet fits all of the guidelines.

Additionally, it is common for motor carriers to require a pet deposit. The amount will vary depending on the company. In many cases, it may be possible to have the deposit deducted from your paychecks in installments to make the cost more manageable.

2. See Your Vet

Before trucking with your pet, take them to see your veterinarian. Make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations and keep a record of their vaccine history with you. If you ever need to drop them off for daycare while on your haul, you will generally need this.

You should let your veterinarian know that you are planning to take your pet on the road with you. They can perform a full exam and make sure they are in good health and ready for the journey. If there is any reason they would not recommend taking your pet with you, they will let you know and you can adjust accordingly.

3. Pack Supplies (& Bring Extra)

There may be some pet stores with semi-truck parking along your route, but these can be difficult to find. Getting pet essentials at truck stops may also be challenging. You don’t want to get caught without anything your pet needs, so make sure you stock up. Keep a little extra of the essentials just in case.

You should pack:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Fresh water (bring enough for yourself as well as your pet)
  • Your pet’s preferred food
  • Toys
  • ID tags (bring more than one in case of any issues)
  • Leashes, collars, and harnesses
  • Doggy bags, or a travel-friendly litter box if you are bringing a cat
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Blankets
  • A comfy bed
  • A crate, if needed
  • Paperwork including vaccination records and registration

4. Let Your Pet Out of the Truck Frequently

Giving your companion some time to get their energy out and take a bathroom break is important. Be sure to take regular stops when traveling with your pet. This can help you get out of the truck and stay active as well.

If you have a cat, this may be less relevant. However, you can always try getting a cat harness and seeing if they enjoy taking a look around at rest stops. It’s a good idea to try this at home first to make sure they like it. Some cats may prefer to stay in the cab.

5. Enjoy the Benefits of Trucking With Your Pet

Many truck drivers find that bringing a cat or dog on the road can help them avoid feeling lonely. If your pet is physically healthy enough and well-suited to a trucking lifestyle, it can be a great way to spend more time together compared to leaving them at home.

The benefits extend beyond your emotional wellbeing. Truckers with pets are often healthier because they get more physical activity during rest stops. Additionally, there is evidence that truckers with pets on board tend to drive more safely.

Want to Start a Trucking Career?

If you are looking for a job where you can bring your dog or cat with you every day, not to mention enjoy great benefits and competitive pay, trucking may be for you! HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help you get started.

To learn more about our commercial driver’s license (CDL) training, contact us today.

Common Truck Driver Interview Questions

After you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there are a variety of job opportunities available to you within the trucking industry. This career can be very rewarding, and truckers can earn more than $69,000 a year. * 

Our job placement assistance team can help you prepare and can find motor carriers that are hiring new CDL graduates. It’s a good idea to be prepared for the most common truck driver interview questions, as well as understanding how the trucking interview process is different from other industries.

The Basic Requirements for a Trucking Job

The trucking industry is regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In order to get a driving job, you will need to meet the basic requirements set by these agencies. This is true no matter which carrier you choose to work for. 

Any company you apply to is required to check your motor vehicle record (MVR) and you should be prepared to explain any accidents or traffic violations. You should also expect a full background check and need to pass a drug test before you can begin safety-sensitive duties, i.e. driving.

It is important that you do not lie at any point during this process. If there is something on your record that is less than ideal, it’s better to be honest and explain how you have learned from it.

The Interview Process

How to Dress

Trucking interviews often have a more casual dress code than is the case for other industries. You will likely feel a bit overdressed in full professional attire, but you should still make an effort to make a good first impression. Business casual is usually a safe bet.

Questions to Expect

Each interview is a little different, but many of the same topics are covered. Although not every truck driver interview question listed here will come up, it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

Some questions to prepare to answer during your interview include:

  • How would you handle/how have you handled an accident?

Emphasize your focus on safety and staying calm, while being honest about any accidents that have occurred in the past.

  • What would you do if you were running late for a delivery?

Discuss how you would effectively communicate any delays and again emphasize your commitment to safety, even when unexpected factors affect your route.

  • What do you know about FMCSA regulations that apply to truck drivers?

You will be expected to understand and follow hours of service (HOS) limits, pre-trip inspection requirements, and other regulations.

  • Why are you interested in this position?

This is a common question for almost any type of job interview, and it helps the interviewer determine whether you are committed to a trucking career.

  • What are your strengths as a truck driver?

Again, this type of question is likely to show up in any type of job interview, so be prepared to explain what you offer to your potential employer.

Questions to Ask

At the end of your interview, the last question is usually whether you have any questions to ask the interviewer.

Here are some questions you can ask during your driver interview:

  • What sorts of routes/hauls are most common for your drivers?

  • Are there opportunities to advance and if so, what are these?

  • What is your home time policy?

  • How are miles calculated (dispatched miles, practical mileage, household good miles, etc.) and what is the pay per mile?

  • What benefits are available?

Driving Test

Many trucking jobs will require you to complete a road test prior to hiring. If this is the case, be sure to do a thorough pre-trip inspection. This is an opportunity to show that will follow all necessary regulations. Throughout the road test, your best to calm your nerves and focus on driving safely.

Prepare For Your Trucking Career

If you love the open road and want to earn high pay as a trucker, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help you get started. Many of our students even have job offers prior to graduation.

To learn more about our CDL programs, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $48,710. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,000 per year according to the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tips for Trucking with a Family

Truck drivers can make over $69,000 a year* and it only takes a few weeks to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and get started. The high earning potential brings many individuals to the trucking industry, including those with families. Over-the-road (OTR) driving is as much a lifestyle as it is a career, and it will affect your loved ones’ lives as well as your own. With some effort on both ends, trucking with a family is definitely possible, and it can be a great way to earn a stable living doing essential and in-demand work.

Here are some tips:

1. Use Technology to Stay in Touch

With modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with your family even if you are far away from home. Try to call at least once a day and video chat a few times a week. This helps you stay up to date with what is going on in everyone’s lives. You can also text during breaks and send photos of interesting truck stops or roadside attractions. Just make sure you don’t text while driving!

2. Involve Your Family in Trip Planning

When you’re planning your route, get your family involved. Let them help you pick out stops and give them a timeline of where you’re going to be at different points of your trip. This gives you something to talk about when you check in since they will know what area you are in. Even if plans change and you don’t follow the route exactly, this can help your family feel like they are a part of your daily life on the road.

3. Take Advantage of Home Time

After spending time on the road, you will want to have some time to relax. While it is important to take the time you need for yourself, you should also make sure you are taking advantage of the time you have with your family. Prioritize the most important events, but also be realistic about when you will and won’t be able to get home. It’s better to surprise your family by being home earlier than you expected or making it to one more event than planned as opposed to missing out on something you said you’d be there for.

4. Consider Taking a Family Member on the Road

Many trucking companies give you the opportunity to bring a passenger on a haul. Consider taking one of your loved ones out on the road for a short trip so they can see what your day-to-day life is like. If you are interested in bringing your child, make sure to check the age requirements for doing so. You should plan ahead and pick a short and relatively easy haul when possible.

5. Discuss Your Goals

It’s important to be on the same page as your partner when it comes to what is best for your family. In many cases, drivers do one year OTR and then transition into a regional or local job that can get them home more frequently. A CDL can open many doors for you, and not all of them require you to spend weeks on the road. However, if you do prefer long-haul, make sure your family is on board with this decision.

Start Your Career with HDS

HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help you earn your CDL in as little as four weeks. Our job placement assistance team can help you find companies hiring new drivers and will look for openings that match your needs and goals.

To learn more about joining the trucking industry, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $48,710. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,000 per year according to the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tips for Safe Trucking

A semi-truck is significantly larger than the typical car or truck and operating one requires care and skill. Safe trucking helps protect you, your freight, and everyone else on the road. Our commercial driver’s license (CDL) program will prepare you to hit the road with a strong foundation. From there, it’s up to you to keep safety in mind at all times.

Here are some tips for safe truck driving:

Perform a Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection

Trucking safety starts before you even hit the road. During your pre-trip inspection, you should thoroughly check your vehicle for issues. If there is anything wrong, make a note and get it fixed to avoid a potential breakdown or another safety issue. You must complete this inspection each day before you start driving in order to stay compliant with federal regulations.

Be a Defensive Driver

Defensive driving involves being constantly aware of changing road conditions so you can respond quickly to any potential hazards. You should be scanning the road to see what is going on 15 seconds ahead of you as well as staying alert to the area immediately in front of your truck. As you drive, you should anticipate possible dangers and make decisions to reduce the risk of an accident. Defensive driving also includes maintaining a safe following distance and checking your blind spots regularly.

Maintain a Safe Speed

Speeding is potentially dangerous in any vehicle, but it can be especially hazardous in a tractor-trailer. Because of its weight, a semi-truck takes longer to come to a stop than a passenger vehicle. Going too fast increases your risk of getting into an accident and can also lead to worse injuries and property damage if an accident occurs. Keep in mind that you may need to go slower than the posted speed limit depending on road conditions, weather, and other factors. When in doubt, it’s better to slow down and take a bit more time than to get inpatient and drive dangerously.

Don’t Drive Distracted

Distractions take your attention off the road and reduce your ability to drive defensively. Never text while driving or do anything else that takes your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. You may be tempted to try to eat lunch or do other tasks while driving to save time, but it’s not worth the risk.

Stay Calm and Be Patient

Trying to rush anything or getting frustrated can be dangerous when you’re handling such a large vehicle. If you’re starting to feel stressed, it can be helpful to take a few deep breaths and refocus on the task at hand. Remember that it’s better to take a little longer to get something done in order to stay safe.

Truck Driver Training in Tucson

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we provide high-quality CDL training. Our skilled instructors will help you learn the basics of safe trucking and our job placement assistance team can help you find openings that match your goals and desires.

To learn more about our truck driving school, contact us today.

Choices You’ll Make During Your Trucking Career

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the first step to entering the trucking industry. After graduation, there are many different paths available to you. There are several choices you will make as you start your trucking career and throughout your time as a driver. You have the ability to select a job that matches your desired lifestyle and goals. While you can always change course later, it’s helpful to consider the options before you hit the road so you can get started with the best possible foundation.

Some choices you’ll make as a trucker include:

Local, Regional, or OTR?

Local jobs allow drivers to come home every night, over-the-road (OTR) driving involves being on the road for weeks at a time, and regional trucking is somewhere in between. If you prefer a stable schedule, a local driving career may be a good fit. However, if you love the freedom of the open road and want to see the country, you’ll probably prefer OTR. Regional is a middle ground and offers some elements of OTR, but with more frequent home time.

What Type of Freight to Haul

Most truckers start out driving a dry van, which is a semi-truck with a standard trailer. However, this is not your only option. You could drive a refrigerated truck (reefer), haul hazardous materials (hazmat), or even transport livestock. Some types of freight require additional endorsements and you may end up needing some experience before moving into more specialized varieties of trucking.

Solo or Team?

Team driving keeps the truck moving more efficiently, which often translates into higher earning potential. If you already know someone else with a CDL, you can team up with them and spend time together while earning competitive pay. Husband-and-wife trucking teams are relatively common, for example. Many companies also offer team matching if you don’t already have a driving partner in mind. On the other hand, some drivers prefer to go solo and have more control over their schedule and how to set up their truck.

Which Company to Work For

Once you’ve narrowed down the type of trucking you are interested in, it’s time to look at which motor carriers are hiring for these roles. You should consider pay, benefits, and company culture when making a decision. Try to talk to current and former drivers from the trucking companies you are interested in as well as researching them online. Keep in mind that opinions are going to vary and that at the end of the day, every motor carrier will have some benefits and some drawbacks.

Advancement Opportunities

After you’ve spent some time in the trucking industry, you’ll be able to choose how you want to advance in your career. You may be interested in saving up for a truck and becoming an owner-operator, or maybe you want to teach the next generation of truckers as a CDL school instructor.

Choose a High-Quality Trucking School

Students at HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) learn the skills they need to succeed in the trucking industry. Our accelerated program can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

If you are interested in starting your trucking career, contact us today to learn more.

Types of Truck Driver Pay

Truck driving is an excellent choice for those seeking a high-paying career. Truckers can make more than $66,000 a year*, but the pay structure is often different for over-the-road drivers than it is for other workers. There are several different types of truck driver pay that you may encounter after you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), and it’s important to understand what these are and when you might receive them.

Base Pay

Base pay is going to make up the bulk of what you earn as a driver. How your base pay is calculated will vary depending on the type of trucking you do.

Some possible types of pay for truckers include:

Pay Per Mile

The majority of long-haul truck drivers are paid per mile that they drive to deliver goods and materials. This can be calculated based on practical mileage, which is the number of miles in the most efficient route from your starting point to your destination. Other methods include household goods (HHG) mileage (measured from zip code to zip code) or hub mileage (includes all miles a truck drives). These rates are given in cents per mile (CPM).

Hourly

Hourly pay is less common in the trucking industry, but local drivers or regional drivers with short routes may be paid hourly instead of by mile. This is more practical if the job often involves non-driving tasks such as loading and unloading or interacting with customers.

Salary

Salaried truck driver jobs offer consistent pay on a weekly or biweekly basis. Like hourly jobs, these are more common for local or regional positions.

Pay Per Load

Pay per load is less common, although it is offered under some circumstances. This type of compensation is more likely for specialized jobs such as gas tankers, livestock, et cetera. This may be a flat rate or as a percentage of the profit for the load. The latter is often reserved for owner-operators and is rare, but sought-after.

Additional Truck Driver Pay

Beyond base compensation, there are other types of pay that may be applicable depending on the situation.

These include:

Per Diem

A per diem is a daily allowance that helps cover meals and other daily expenses a trucker might have while on the road. In many cases, this is added onto CPM. Per diem pay is non-taxable, so it’s important to know what portion of your pay is considered per diem, if any.

Detention, Layovers, and Breakdowns

Things don’t always go as planned in trucking, and these additional types of pay allow drivers to be compensated when unexpected delays occur. Detention is when a driver is stuck at the receiver waiting to drop off a load. Layovers are when truckers are waiting to get a new load. Breakdowns refer to any issues with the semi-truck that require the driver to stop and wait for repairs. Companies offer varying compensation for these circumstances since they impact a driver’s ability to get miles and earn the amount they want.

Stop Pay

Over-the-road truckers often deliver a full truckload to one final customer. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes a load will include two or more stops. In these cases, many companies offer additional stop pay for every drop-off beyond the first.

Bonuses and Incentives

In order to encourage the best performance, many companies offer bonuses. These may include incentives for improving fuel efficiency, practicing safe driving, passing Department of Transportation (DOT) inspections, and more. Additionally, the truck driver shortage has created a high demand for long-haul truckers and some motor carriers offer sign-on bonuses.

Start Your Trucking Career

If you are looking for a job where you can see more of the country and earn competitive pay, truck driving may be the right choice for you. We can help you earn your CDL and offer job placement assistance. Many of our students have offers even before they graduate and can hit the road right away.

To learn more about our CDL training, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $44,500 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm). The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $66,800 per year* according to the 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Guide to Local Trucking

When people think of truck driving, they often think of over-the-road (OTR) jobs first. These careers involve transporting freight long distances and drivers are generally out for several weeks at a time. Although these types of truckers are in high demand, this is by no means the only path available to you once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). One option that is appealing to those who want to stay closer to home is local trucking. These jobs involve different responsibilities and a different lifestyle than OTR and may be a good fit depending on your desires and goals.

Local Driving Basics

In general, a local truck driving job involves transporting goods and materials within a range of 200 miles or less. This may be one city, a metro area, or a portion of a state (e.g. Southern Arizona). These jobs may be pick-up and delivery (P&D) for less-than-truckload (LTL) freight companies, delivery truck driving, or transporting a specialized type of shipment. In any case, local drivers are usually home every day and make multiple stops on their routes.

Pros and Cons of Local Trucking

If you are interested in a local route, it’s important to understand the benefits and potential downsides of these types of jobs.

Pros include:

Home Daily

One of the biggest reasons truckers are drawn to local driving is that it will typically allow you to be home every night.

Consistent Days Off

Many local jobs offer weekends off. Even if this is not the case, you will typically have consistent days off each week to spend time with your family.

Routine and Predictability

Local drivers usually have a stable daily routine. Although not everyone prefers this, those who enjoy a more predictable job will generally enjoy local driving over OTR.

Cons include:

Complicated Driving

Whereas long-haul jobs involve a lot of time on the highway, local driving is typically within cities. Additionally, you will usually be making multiple stops a day, which requires pulling into loading docks or parking at businesses or residences. This type of driving can be more stressful for some drivers, especially those who have less experience maneuvering a large truck.

Lower Pay vs OTR

Although this varies based on the trucking company, local jobs usually pay less than OTR, especially for those who are just starting out. This can sometimes even out as you gain more experience and seniority.

Highly Competitive

Getting a local job can often be more difficult. The truck driver shortage affects mostly OTR routes, whereas local companies often have many applicants for open positions. In most cases, it is easier to get one of these jobs after you have some long-haul experience under your belt. Some companies also hire from warehouse positions within the company, increasing the difficulty of landing an open position. 

The First Step to Local Driving

If you are interested in a local trucking job, the first step is earning your CDL. At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we give our students the skills they need to succeed, whether they are interested in OTR, local, or another type of CDL job.

To learn more about earning your commercial license with HDS, contact us today.

The Different Types of Trucking

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) opens the door to many different career paths. Not all of these have to involve truck driving and you may work as a CDL school instructor, dispatcher, highway maintenance technician, et cetera. Even within the realm of trucking, there is a great deal of variety. Different types of trucking have varying home time, pay, and lifestyles associated with them. There are three broad categories based on the length of routes: local, regional, and over-the-road (OTR).

Local Truck Driving

Local drivers haul freight within a relatively small geographic area. Your workday will usually last between 8 and 10 hours and you will typically be home every night. You may have a dedicated route that you drive every day, or it may vary depending on the customers that need deliveries. Driving can sometimes be more difficult and you will often need to back into loading docks and make multiple stops per day. The major benefit of local truck driving jobs is the consistent home time.

Types of Local Trucking:

Regional Truck Driving

Regional routes are within the radius of a few states. The lifestyle and day-to-day responsibilities are often fairly similar to OTR jobs. Home time will depend on the company, but many regional jobs get drivers home every weekend. This is a good middle ground between local and OTR, both in terms of home time and pay. Dedicated routes are common for regional jobs, which means you will get used to a specific routine of driving. Some drivers consider this a benefit, whereas others prefer more variety.

Types of Regional Trucking:

OTR Truck Driving

OTR is what most people think of when they think of trucking. These drivers are on the road for multiple weeks at a time and travel coast-to-coast. There are some dedicated OTR routes, but it is common to have more variety in what loads you are assigned. These types of trucking jobs have high earning potential and the best truck drivers work hard at becoming more efficient to maximize their pay.

Types of OTR Truck Driving:

Find Your Niche in the Trucking Industr

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), our job placement assistance team can help you determine which jobs would be the best fit for you. We give our students the skills they need to succeed regardless of the type of trucking they pursue.

To learn more about our CDL school, contact us today.

The Future of Women in Trucking

When many people picture a trucker, they automatically think of a rugged man. Although the trucking industry has historically been predominantly male, the number of women in trucking continues to grow. The truck driver shortage has created an increased need for new drivers of both genders, and continuing to welcome more women into trucking is a promising way to meet this need.

More information about women in trucking:

Statistics About Women Truck Drivers

In 2008, 4.9% of over-the-road truckers were female. 2019 data from Freightwaves and the Women in Trucking Association (WIT) indicates that this number has increased to 10.2%. The number of women executives at trucking companies also rose to over 25%.

Why Women Enter the Trucking Industry

There are a variety of reasons women decide to become truck drivers. For the most part, the benefits that attract male drivers also attract female drivers.

Some reasons to enter the trucking industry include:

  • Long-haul drivers can earn more than $66,000 a year.*
  • You can earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks, which is a small amount of training time, especially considering the earning potential.
  • Trucking gives you the opportunity to enjoy the freedom of the open road and see more of the country.

Barriers to Address for Women in Trucking

While truck driving has become more welcoming for women, there are still some barriers. Overall, companies are working to address these and have made significant improvements over the years.

Some barriers and possible solutions include:

  • Traditionally, semi-trucks have been designed for men. Women, who are shorter and smaller on average, may have been less comfortable in these vehicles. Today, more and more companies are considering the needs of women truck drivers and are designing cabs that are more accommodating.
  • Safety can be a concern for female truckers who are traveling alone. Luckily, advancements in security technology, along with the support and advice of women who have dealt with issues in the past, have made it easier for women to feel safe on the open road. Companies are more aware of the unique concerns female drivers and trainees have and are working to improve their experiences. Many truck stops have also updated their facilities to provide more safety and comfort for all drivers, male and female.
  • Some companies still have corporate cultures that are not welcoming to women. The good news is that more and more carriers realize what a valuable asset female drivers are. Like trucking school graduates of both genders, women can benefit from talking to current drivers about the companies they are interested in driving for. This allows them to make decisions using all of the information available.

Our School Welcomes All CDL Students

HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) strives to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all students. We can help you get on the road and earning and we offer job placement assistance to make it easier for you to start your career.

If you are interested in entering the exciting trucking industry, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $46,370. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $66,840 per year according to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Removing the CDL Air Brake Restriction

Earning your class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows you to drive vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more with trailers of 10,000 pounds or more. This includes semi-trucks, but a standard CDL does not permit you to drive every single type of tractor-trailer. There are two different factors that can change which vehicles you can and cannot drive with your license: endorsements and restrictions. Endorsements are added to your CDL and are “extra” qualifications. Restrictions prevent you from driving specific types of vehicles or under certain conditions. The air brake restriction is one example and may reduce the number of jobs available to you after earning your license.

More information about the CDL air brake restriction:

What Are Air Brakes?

Brakes stop a vehicle from moving by converting the energy from motion into heat. Most smaller passenger vehicles have a hydraulic system, which uses fluid to accomplish this. Conversely, large vehicles such as semi-trucks typically use compressed air instead. This is because, unlike brake fluid, air does not need to be refilled for the system to work. Air brakes are also safer for vehicles of this size and there are typically a few different back-ups in place in case there are any issues.

The Two Air Brake Restrictions

Although many people will refer to one air brake restriction, there are technically two different codes that could be placed on your license. Both of them limit your ability to drive vehicles with air brakes, but they are slightly different and you will need to make sure you take the proper steps to remove both.

L Restriction

If you have the L restriction on your CDL, you will not be able to drive a vehicle with any type of air brake system. This will be added to your license if you fail the air brakes portion of the written exam or CDL skills test. You can also have this restriction if you take the skills test using a vehicle that does not use air brakes. To remove it, you will need to pass all sections of the CDL exam relating to air brakes.

Z Restriction

Taking the skills test using a vehicle that has only a partial air brake system will result in the Z restriction being placed on your license. You will be unable to drive semi-trucks with a full air brake system. To remove this air brake restriction, you need to take the skills test with a vehicle that is fully equipped with air brakes.

We Can Help You Earn Your CDL

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we can help you earn your CDL and start on the road to a rewarding trucking career. We work with you to remove restrictions, including those for air brakes, so you have more opportunities available to you after graduation. Our program also includes material for three endorsements: hazardous materials (hazmat), tanker, and doubles/triples.

To learn more about our CDL training programs, contact us today.

Becoming an Over-the-Road Truck Driver

Over-the-road (OTR) truckers transport freight across the country, often traveling coast-to-coast. These jobs are among the highest-paid in the trucking industry and you can earn more than $66,000 a year.* If you are interested in becoming an over-the-road truck driver, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help.

Here are the steps to becoming an OTR truck driver:

1. Determine Whether OTR Trucking is Right for You

As with any career decision, you should take some time to consider whether or not over-the-road truck driving is the right choice for you. If you enjoy the freedom of the open road and like working independently, trucking might be a great option. You will get to see more of the country while earning competitive pay. However, you should also be aware that over-the-road truck drivers typically spend three to four weeks at a time on hauls. It’s a good idea to talk to OTR drivers and discuss this career move with your family to determine whether it will be an ideal match for you. Keep in mind that there are other driving jobs that you can consider such as local deliveries or even highway maintenance.

2. Earn Your CDL

To drive a semi-truck, you need to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This will require you to pass a written exam and a skills test. The written exam covers material from the CDL manual and is in a multiple-choice format. The skills test includes a pre-trip inspection, off-road control exercises, and actual driving. Attending a truck driving school is typically the best way to earn your license and most trucking companies prefer to hire CDL school graduates.

3. Choose a Trucking Company

After you earn your CDL, you can choose a company to work for. There are many factors to consider when deciding on a motor carrier such as pay, benefits, home time, and company culture. Additionally, this is when you will decide what type of freight you would like to haul. Many new over-the-road truck drivers operate dry vans or refrigerated trucks, but you may also be interested in flatbed trucking or another more specialized type of vehicle. Your long-term goals can help you narrow down your options. For example, if you want to become an owner-operator, you may want to consider companies that offer pathways to truck ownership. HDS truck driving school offers job placement assistance and can help you find a company that matches your goals and desires.

High-Quality Truck Driver Training in Tucson, AZ

At HDS truck driving school, you can learn from experienced instructors and start your career with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed. We are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and are also a member of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA).

Start on the Road to a Trucking Career

To learn more about becoming an over-the-road truck driver, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $46,370. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $66,840 per year according to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics.