What is a Commercial Truck Driver?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2018
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A commercial truck driver drives a vehicle that carries a load in excess of or 26,000 pounds (11,793 kilograms). Commercial truck drivers may drive a truck, a lorrie, a tractor, or a trailer. A commercial truck driver can work for a private company, or can be an owner-operator truck driver and own his own rig.

Commercial truck drivers operate vehicles who carry a number of different substances. They transport goods from one location to another. These goods include a wide range of materials and commercial truck drivers can work for almost any company that requires transporting supplies from one place to another.

Within the United States, commercial truck drivers do not need to meet any minimum or maximum educational requirements before becoming a commercial truck driver. However, those under the age of 18 are not eligible to become a commercial driver. Furthermore, although no degree is required, drivers have to pass written and practical DMV tests in order to obtain a commercial driver's license before becoming commercial truck drivers.

Many trucking companies stipulate that commercial truck drivers must be at least 21-years-old, and to have had their license and to have been driving for at least five years. To demonstrate their continued abilities, many companies also require drivers to take periodic driving tests or random drug tests. Since drivers also have to load or unload trucks, they usually have to be capable of lifting heavy material.


Within the U.S., an institution called the Professional Truck Driver Institution provides certification and licensing to commercial drivers. This licensing can help a driver to get a job within the industry by demonstrating that he has undergone appropriate skills-based training. However, these courses are not generally mandatory.

The U.S. Federal Government has mandated that commercial drivers be in relatively good physical condition, since drivers must be alert and aware at all times, and have quick reflexes. The government requires commercial truck drivers have a valid medical certificate issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. To obtain this certificate, drivers must pass tests which assess their cardiovascular, psychological, neurological, pulmonary, endocrinal, visual and hearing abilities.

Typically, a commercial truck driver is required to drive for a long stretch of time. A commercial truck driver may need to be away from home for a long period of time, and to travel long distances. While they are driving, the driver must also be aware and alert at all times in order to prevent accidents from occurring.



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