Super Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo Rating
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers BBB Business Review

How Much Do Semi-Truck Drivers Make?

The large trucks that transport goods, materials, and products on American highways and roads are a necessary component of our thriving economy. These drivers have a serious responsibility to drive safely, as they make others far more vulnerable to avoid colliding with heavy, high-powered vehicles!

Truck drivers make great pay and benefits in this challenging profession. While truck driving can be rewarding, it is an unusual road life that is not always suitable for everyone.

Our team of personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has represented many truck drivers who have been injured on the job. We also work with families who have lost a loved one in a trucking accident.

Our experience has given us a unique perspective on the truck driving industry and the challenges that truckers face every day. Our truck accident lawyers will provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and help you understand your legal options.

truck-driver-salary-wage-information

Semi Truck Driver Description

Truck drivers are the backbone of the American economy, hauling millions of dollars of cargo across the country every day. Many people don't understand what it takes to become a truck driver or what they can expect to earn per mile.

Semi-truck drivers are responsible for transporting goods and materials over long distances. They operate large vehicles and must adhere to strict safety regulations. Truckers typically work long hours and might be away from home for extended periods.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Semi-Truck Driver

The duties and responsibilities of a semi-truck driver vary depending on the company they work for and the specific job they are doing. However, there are some duties and responsibilities that are common to all truck drivers, including:

Adhering to Strict Safety Regulations

All semi-truck drivers must adhere to strict safety regulations, comply with hours of service regulations, keep their vehicles in good repair, and maintain a clean driving record.

Planning and Scheduling Trips

Planning and scheduling trips is another important responsibility of a semi-truck driver. They must plan their route in advance and take into account factors such as weather, traffic, and construction.

Navigating

One of the most important responsibilities of a semi-truck driver is navigation. They are responsible for safely and efficiently navigating their vehicle to their destination.

Communicating With Dispatchers

To ensure that their trips are running smoothly, semi-truck drivers must communicate regularly with dispatchers. Dispatchers will provide them with updates on traffic, weather, and construction.

Loading and Unloading

Loads must be properly secured before a semi-truck driver can begin their trip. Once they reach their destination, they are responsible for safely and efficiently unloading their cargo.

Inspecting Vehicles

Before each trip, semi-truck drivers are responsible for inspecting their vehicles. This includes checking the tires, lights, and brakes. Many companies also require drivers to keep a log of their vehicle's maintenance and repairs. The company uses this information to track billing and expenses.

Reporting Any Accidents or Incidents Immediately

If an accident or incident occurs, truckers must report it immediately. It includes exchanging information with the other driver, contacting the police, and filing a report with the company.

Completing Required Training

Truck drivers must complete the required training before they can operate a vehicle. This training covers safety, vehicle operation, and company policy.

Working Conditions of a Semi-Truck Driver

Semi-truck drivers typically work long hours away from home for extended periods which creates a burden that is not always equal to the pay per week.

While the job can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding. If you are interested in becoming a semi-truck driver, you should research the requirements in your state or region.

Job Outlook for Semi-Truck Drivers

The job outlook for semi-truck drivers is good, due to the growing economy and the increasing amount of goods that need to be transported. Truck driver salaries are also expected to increase as the demand for their services grows.

On-the-Road (OTR) drivers are the highest in demand. Typically, experienced OTR truck drivers make more than other truckers and are the most sought-after.

New truckers can expect to start out at a lower salary, but with experience and a clean driving record, they can expect to see their salary increase.

Training Requirements and Qualifications for Semi-Truck Drivers

As with many high-paying jobs, proper training is essential to becoming a semi-truck driver. Most companies require that applicants have a valid commercial driver's license (CDL), and many will provide the necessary training to obtain one. Some companies may require additional qualifications, such as having experience driving a semi-truck.

Once an applicant has met the minimum requirements, they will likely undergo a CDL training program. This program will teach them the ins and outs of truck driving, including:

  • How to properly inspect and maintain the vehicle
  • How to safely operate it, because it is more difficult than driving a regular car
  • What to do in the event of an emergency

After completing the training program, truckers are typically ready to start their new career.

Semi-Truck Driver Education Requirements

There are no formal education requirements to become a semi-truck driver. However, most employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. Some companies may also require that applicants have a valid CDL.

Average Truck Driver Pay

Many companies offer competitive pay and benefits packages, making it an attractive profession for many. In May 2019, the average hourly wage for OTR drivers was $20.92. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $35.37, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $12.78.

Dedicated drivers receive average weekly pay ranging from $860 to $1,171, based on a 58 to 78 cents per mile income average. A driver team with two drivers who drive in shifts earned an average pay of $1,380 per week.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, the median driver pay was:

  • 54 cents per mile
  • $17.40 per hour
  • $860 per week
  • $44,500annually

The lowest 10 percent of earners made less than $25,000 per year, while the highest 10 percent made more than $69,000. The industry average pay ranges between $40,000 to $50,000 annually, and it is usually the national average but varies with location.

Owner-operators can make even more, with some reports indicating they can earn up to $175,000 per year. They typically keep a larger portion of the freight charges, but they are also responsible for more costs, such as fuel and maintenance.

Benefits of Being a Semi-Truck Driver

In addition to the average salary, many companies offer attractive benefits packages to their truck drivers. The owner-operator could receive:

  • Health insurance
  • Paid vacation days
  • 401(k) plans
  • Profit-sharing
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Retirement savings plans

Overall, truckers can earn a good wage while also receiving great benefits. It makes it an attractive career option for many people. Some companies also offer bonus programs, adding even more to a semi-truck driver's salary.

Becoming a semi-truck driver is a great way to earn a good living as a new driver. With the right training and qualifications, it's possible to earn a competitive pay and benefits package.

As with any job, there are some risks involved. A semi-truck driver must be alert and careful to avoid accidents.

Health Insurance Benefits and More Job Security

A company's solo driver take-home pay is usually lower than that of owner-operators, but they have more job security and often receive benefits such as health insurance and a retirement plan.

In addition, company drivers get paid vacation days, sick days, and holidays. They also have the option to join a union. As an owner-operator, you are considered an independent contractor and are not eligible for these benefits.

OTR truck drivers usually make good money because they spend more time transporting goods and services from the distribution centers to various destinations.

The following are the ten highest paying cities for truck drivers in the United States:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Reno, Nevada
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Houston, Texas
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Atlanta, Georgia

Factors That Can Affect Company Truck Driver Average Salary

Truck driver salaries vary based on:

Location

Company drivers who work in urban areas typically earn more than those working in rural areas. There are more traffic and congestion in urban areas, leading to accidents.

Regional drivers who work in rural areas may have to travel farther distances, but they typically don't have to deal with traffic.

Type of Load

The type of load a company driver hauls can also affect the trucker's salary. Company drivers who haul hazardous materials or oversized loads typically earn more than regular loads.

Distance

The distance that a company truck driver travels will affect the truck driver's salary. A driver who travels long distances typically earns more than a driver who only travels short distances.

Experience Level

Many factors affect truck driver salaries, the most important factor is experience and truck driver demand. An experienced driver is more likely to know how to handle different situations and have a high net income.

The Company They Work For

Most times, a truck driver's salary can be affected by how their company operates. Some trucking companies pay higher wages and better benefits than others. With a high level of experience and working with the right company, a truck driver can make $100,000 annually.

A driver that works for large companies also typically earns more than those working for smaller companies.

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make Per Mile?

As a semi-truck driver, you can make a very good living. The average salary of a semi-truck driver in the United States is about $50,000 per year. The pay per mile for a typical local driver is between 28 and 40 cents per mile.

Most drivers work for trucking companies and are paid per mile. The amount of money local drivers make per mile depends on different factors.

Owner-operators work as independent contractors. An owner-operator truck driver makes more cents per mile because they are paid a percentage of the load rather than a set rate per mile.

The type of freight being hauled also affects how much money a driver can make per mile. A local driver typically makes less money per mile than long-haul drivers because local drivers generally have more stops and traffic delays.

How to Make 6 Figures as a Truck Driver

Many truckers make six figures by owning their truck and working as owner-operators. Owner-operators usually generate more cents per mile than drivers who work for a trucking company.

Here are a few other methods to make money as a truck driver:

  • Hauling a hazardous material or oversized load: Drivers usually get paid fairly per mile than those general hauling freight.
  • Long-haul driving: Long-haul drivers usually make more money than short-haul drivers because they can haul more loads.
  • Ice road trucking: Ice road truckers can haul an oversized load over frozen lakes and rivers in northern Canada and Alaska. They can earn a high income of $100,000 per year.
  • Team driving: Team drivers can haul more loads than single drivers.

If you are looking for a stable career with good pay, then becoming a professional truck driver may be the right choice for you.

There is a demand for drivers, and the industry and pay per week are expected to grow in the coming years. With some training and experience, you can start hauling loads and making money.

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Represent Truck Drivers Injured on the Job!

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we understand the challenges that truck drivers face on the job. If you have been injured in a truck accident, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.

Resources:

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
★★★★★
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
★★★★★
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
★★★★★
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
★★★★★
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa