Being a truck driver is a job that requires a lot of responsibility. Not only do truck drivers transport goods, but their guiding presence can also help prevent accidents and save lives. Every day our society’s economy depends on the steady flow of trucks to deliver wheat, corn, coal, scrap metal, and even ice cream to factories, stores, and homes and at the same time, they bring back finished products to be delivered to their final destinations. Without truck drivers, our country would essentially come to a standstill. The following is a list of requirements that one must meet in order to become a successful truck driver:
1) Driver’s License
Of course, to become a truck driver you must have a current driver’s license. But not just any type of license will do -- you need to possess a Commercial Driver License (CDL). A CDL is required for all operators of trucks that weigh more than 26,000 pounds and those with hazardous materials. To get a license, you must enroll in a truck driving training school and pass written and driving tests. To pass your exams, it would be a good idea to practice them. You can find these tests online, as seen at https://truckdrivingschoolsinfo.com/free-cdl-practice-test/, where they offer practice tests to help you study. Practicing will ensure that you will pass your tests with ease.
2) Medical Certificate
Truck drivers also need to meet certain medical requirements in order to be deemed physically qualified to drive a truck. Your doctor must certify that you are healthy enough for the job. Some requirements include the ability to see the road from a distance of 21 feet, hear sounds as quiet as 25 decibels from four feet away, and have an uncorrected vision of 20/40 or better in both eyes. If you have certain disorders or diseases such as diabetes or sleep apnea, your doctor may require you to take periodic tests before they will renew their certification. You won’t get this certificate if you are taking certain medications that are known to affect your ability to drive or if you suffer from severe conditions.
3) DOT Drug Test
Even if you are physically fit, truck drivers must meet certain requirements in order to get their Commercial Driver License. Truck driving is a very serious occupation with many risks. Thus, the government regulates truck drivers by requiring them to pass a DOT drug test before they will issue you a license. Drivers have to provide proof of passing a drug test within the last six months before they will be approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Drivers are being tested for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, opiates, and PCP use. If you are caught using any of these illegal substances on the job, you will be disqualified from driving a truck or even lose your job.
4) Age Limit
Truck drivers must be at least 21 before they can apply for a CDL. Again, this is because driving a truck is a very serious business. Imagine how much damage could be done if an 18-year old was driving a loaded 18-wheeler? After all, the truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds when it’s fully loaded. If you are younger than 21, there are still ways for you to enter this rewarding career. You could be a student at one of the many truck driving schools available throughout the country or work in another area within the transportation industry before becoming an actual truck driver.
Although most trucking companies will hire rookie truck drivers, your chances of getting hired are better if you have experience already. Many companies prefer drivers with experience because they know that they can count on them to perform their job well and at a consistent pace. If you don’t have experience yet, try to get a job as a helper or with another type of transportation company. Volunteering is also an excellent way to gain experience, as you will be able to work as an unpaid truck driver as long as you are under the supervision of a licensed driver.
Truck driving is a stable, rewarding profession with many opportunities for career advancement. If you’re thinking about beginning your trucking career or growing it by getting into management, the requirements to become a driver are necessary. The first step of becoming certified as an experienced CDL holder is enrolling in the training school and passing written and driving tests. Once you’ve got your Commercial Driver License (CDL), meet certain medical qualifications to be deemed physically qualified for the job too by providing proof of passing the DOT drug test within the last six months before they will issue a license. You also have better chances of getting a job if you already have some experience so don’t be afraid to volunteer.