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How To Become A Truck Driver in 2024?

The post-pandemic world has realized the significance of the transportation industry and how challenging yet interesting a truck driver’s job can be. More and more people are now seeing trucking as a great career option. 

If you have a passion for driving long hauls and want to start an exciting career while enjoying the experience of traveling across locations, the truck driving job can be an ideal choice for you.

If you have decided to embark on a career as a truck driver, you should be well-informed and updated about the things that would help you start your journey in a more organized way. This article will give insights into the skill and training requirements and all the other formalities and procedures you should follow to become a truck driver in 2024. 

Responsibilities of a Truck Driver

As a truck driver, you take charge of your vehicle on the highway. It’s a great feeling. But you also have a lot of responsibilities to handle. The primary responsibility is safely transporting the goods and supplies to the destination within the time

You secure your cargo with proper loading and unloading and maintain your truck in optimum running condition to avoid faults, downtime, and delays. Making an organized route plan, updating records, and maintaining effective communication with other group members is essential to your duties.

Your actions will prove your reliability and accountability and help you develop a strong relationship of trust and confidence with clients and employers. It would facilitate your career path as a successful professional truck driver.

Truck Driving Skills

Truck driving differs from regular driving because of the specialized skill set required. For driving a commercial vehicle, especially heavy-duty trucks, you need to undergo specific training and tests to ensure you gain a standard level of expertise and knowledge. 

Apart from specialized skills, your aptitude and ability to stay focused and quickly assess the potential risks, along with effective coordination, make a lot of difference. 

It’s not only the passion for driving and adventure; your focus on improving your skills would help you operate vehicles with more safety, reliability, and efficiency. 

Your training allows you to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to qualify for the skills test. You can expect to learn the following skills during your workout. 

Operational Knowledge

You must be keen to learn the vehicle operation, control mechanisms, and how to inspect your vehicle before and after the trip. It would ensure that you operate your trucks efficiently with fewer troubles and risks.

Safe Operating Practices

The knowledge of safe operating practices is vital for speed and space management, managing distractions, and analyzing visual indications. As you drive under adverse weather conditions or on risk-prone roadways, you will find such practices help you deal with any situation.

Advanced Operational Procedures

The knowledge of advanced operational procedures would guide you to perceive potential hazards or risks, especially while navigating railway tracks or highway guard crossing. It also includes good control skills in case of skidding, turning, or any other emergencies. 

System Malfunction Reporting

Your responsibilities also include keeping your vehicle in optimum running condition, which needs a clear idea of how to proactively identify, analyze, and address technical issues. Your knowledge of maintenance and on-road inspections helps you run your trucks smoothly and efficiently.

Non-driving Activities You Should Consider

The non-driving activities are most crucial because these will ensure safe, compliant, and well-performed vehicle operations. The activities include:

  • Maintain statutory documentation and records to avoid penalties and fines during the inspection by authorities.
  • Keep yourself ready with medical provisions to handle any situation of medical emergencies.
  • Ensure all documents are up-to-date with environmental regulations throughout the process of trucking operations.
  • Manage your fatigue and well-being, which are crucial aspects of safe driving.
  • Keep track of the truck’s service requirements and maintenance schedule to avoid any potential technical issues.
  • Your awareness of the effect of drugs and alcohol can make you more cautious about safety concerns.
  • Your quick response and systemic action steps can help manage the situation effectively in case of accidents and emergencies.
  • As a driver, keep updating yourself on handling technology devices to assess road conditions and plan suitable routes that save time.

Truck Driving Requirements

So how do you know if you qualify to become a truck driver in the US in 2024? First, you must be of legal age, which means 18 years old to drive within the state, and 21 years old to drive pan-country. Another added advantage would be a high school certificate or equivalent qualification. 

Apart from age and education, a few primary requirements are there that you need to satisfy to become a commercial driver. Your clean driving record will prove that you have never faced charges of traffic violations and accidents. 

Again, your residential status and social security number are essential for applying for a truck driving license in that state. Your physical and mental fitness are the most crucial aspects to ensure your reliability as a safe truck driver. 

Finally, a background check will ensure you don’t have criminal records. All these requirements and checkpoints are necessary to establish your credibility as a safe and reliable commercial vehicle driver.

Are you eager to start your truck driving career but don’t know how to begin? In the following section, we will discuss the steps that help you provide a roadmap to move forward in a systematic and organized way. 

Complete a High School Diploma

To become a truck driver, one of the first things to know is how much educational qualification is necessary. You need not be highly qualified, but a minimum qualification of a high-school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) credential is sufficient to start a truck driving career

Obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit

A Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) will be necessary before applying for a CDL. You can take the CLP exam at the local test center after proper preparations through online resources. After that, you begin getting a CLP and enroll in a driving school to get trained for obtaining a CDL.

Get the Required Training 

If you want to make a career as a successful truck driver, proper training is necessary to acquire the required skills that you can bring to your work. Various centers and institutes conduct driver training programs and help you qualify for the CDL process. You will get comprehensive training covering both theoretical and practical truck driving. 

Choosing the Type of CDL 

Why is choosing the type of CDL so crucial? It is a significant decision because it defines what vehicle you can drive and the work you plan to do as a trucker.

  • Class A: For heavy-duty vehicles such as tractors and livestock carriers. 
  • Class B: Trucks that operate within the town but not cross-borders. 
  • Class C: For compact vehicles that accommodate cargo in smaller packages. 

Class-A license gives you more flexibility and commercial viability because it allows you to operate Class-B and Class-C-type vehicles. 

You may also require an endorsement code for transporting specialized materials, including hazardous substances. 

Earn a CDL

You make an online application for obtaining a CDL mentioning the type of CDL you need. After that, visit the DMV field office to complete certain formalities as follows: 

  • Submit the 10-year-old history check, a medical examination report, and supporting documents for proof of identity and residential status. 
  • Deposit the requisite application fee (non-refundable), register your fingerprints, and get your photo taken. 
  • Finally, a driving skill test using your vehicle will decide how well you can apply your skills in driving, control, inspection, and following good operating practices. 

Getting a Truck Driving Job

After all, you will seek a job or other opportunities to start your journey. But how do you proceed? Several resources are available that guide you in getting a trucking job. Driving schools offer career counseling and may have a placement program with some selected companies. You can contact truck driving associations that help you connect with prospective employers. Your job search will bring effective results if you regularly follow the job portals and utilize your network to reach out to companies looking for truck drivers.

Join an Internship Program

An internship training program with a transport company will enrich your knowledge and skills and improve your chances of getting a job. Joining the introductory training will help you get adequate exposure to the practical aspects of driving, adding value to your career journey. The programs generally last for a few weeks, giving you sufficient time to acquire the skills and techniques required by a successful truck driver.

Get Awareness of ELD Requirements

If you are a truck driver, you need to know how to utilize the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) in your vehicles which are essential technical tools for ensuring safety and compliance. It is a reliable electronic device that captures relevant vehicle data like fuel consumption, mileage, engine operation, and overall automobile efficiency. It also tracks the driver’s duty status through automatic reporting. 

Important Points to Consider

How do you feel if your CDL application gets rejected due to certain abnormalities, even if you fulfill all eligibility requirements? You will be curious to know under what conditions the licensing authority can deny you the CDL. The factors that might disqualify you from getting a CDL are:

  • Prescribed medications you are taking,
  • Medical abnormalities like sleep amnesia, high blood pressure, diabetes,
  • Physical handicaps that can affect driving abilities, and
  • Track record of charges for unsafe driving or other legal offenses.

Career Path for Truck Driver

You have some ideas in mind about the career goals of truck drivers that make you choose the profession. A truck-driving carrier will provide you with a bunch of benefits as follows: 

  • Build an image of safety and reliability: You can establish yourself as a safe and reliable operator that helps develop long-term business relationships with employers and customers.
  • Utilize Specialized Skills: If you have earned special skills and experience, you will be in high demand by specific carriers and can improve your earning.
  • Start a Fleet Business: After gaining enriching experience as a truck driver handling customer service and logistics, you may start a transportation business as an owner-operator.

Conclusion

To summarize, a truck driving career is not only challenging, but it also gives you some unique experiences. It makes you more agile, accountable, and skillful, with better observation and decision-making abilities. 

The procedures and methods discussed are your guidelines to gain a standardized set of skills and complete the formalities to become a licensed commercial driver.

If you want to utilize the features of the latest technology to ensure safety, productivity, and efficiency in operations, Matrack is ready to offer you the most reliable technical solutions. 

This article provides valuable inputs to guide you through the exciting journey of a successful truck driving career.