How much do truck drivers earn?

Written by aurelio locsin
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How much do truck drivers earn?
Tractor-trailers contain small accomodations for truck drivers. (Truck image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com)

Truck drivers pick up goods from one location and deliver it safely to their destinations. The path may run from manufacturer to distributor, distributor to retailer or retailer to customer. Training is available at technical or vocational schools. Those driving heavy trucks or carrying hazardous materials need a commercial driver's license, or CDL.

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Drivers/Sales Workers

Truck drivers/sales workers drive their trucks on an established route to sell goods such as food products and restaurant takeout items, or deliver items like laundry and newspapers. They earn a median £7.10 per hour, with a range of £4.80 to £14.10, or a median yearly salary of £14,781, with a range of £9,984 to £29,406. Their biggest employers, with almost 31 per cent of the 363,050 jobs, are limited-service eateries, where compensation is £5.80 or £12,077. Their highest-paying industry is waste treatment and disposal at £14.50 or £30,205, but with only 90 total jobs. This information is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS as of May 2009.

Light Truck Drivers

Light truck drivers handle vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight, or GVW, of under 11793kg. These vehicles are generally used to pick up and deliver merchandise or packages within a specific area. These drivers earn, as of 2010, a median hourly rate of £8.80, with a range of £5.40 to £16.10, and a median annual salary of £18,414, with a range of £11,290 to £33,605. The industries hiring the most drivers are couriers and express delivery services, with 16 per cent of the 834,780 jobs. They pay £14.30 or £29,757. The industries with the best-paying positions are wired telecommunications carriers at £15.80 or £33,052. They only offer 250 jobs.

Heavy Truck Drivers

Heavy truck drivers drive either trucks with GVW of more than 11793kg. or tractor-trailer combinations. These are used to transport goods across long distances. These drivers make a median £11.70 per hour, as of 2010, with a range from £7.70 to £17.8, or £24,524 per year, with a range of £16,016 to £37,030. The biggest employer is general freight trucking, with 35 per cent of the 1.5 million jobs. Compensation here is at £12.80 or £26,656. The best pay belongs to the postal services, at £16.50 or £34,463 but with less than one-half of one per cent of the jobs.

Outlook

According to the BLS, jobs for truck drivers will grow from 2008 to 2018 by nine per cent for drivers/sales workers, four per cent for light truck drivers and 13 per cent for heavy truck drivers. Job opportunities will thus be favourable, especially for those willing to travel long distances. However, jobs fluctuate according to the economy. During excellent times, employers may need to pay premiums to attract drivers, while during downturns, even experienced drivers may not find steady work.

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