Long-Haul Trucking vs. Domestic Trucking

Discussion in 'General Trucking Discussion' started by Future of Trucking, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Hello drivers,

    I am gathering data for my thesis about the US trucking industry and would grateful for your first-hand experiences. An integral aspect of the thesis is to determine why some people choose to become Long-Haul Truckers and others decide to become Domestic truckers. The answers to the questions below will provide an excellent insight into your decision making process and will give an accurate snapshot of the differing career paths within the trucking industry.

    • Why did you decide to become a trucker? Which trucking lifestyle did you choose? Why?
    • Is there respect and/or competition with other types of truck drivers?
    • What are your thoughts on the differences between Long-Haul Trucking vs. Domestic Trucking?

    Feel free to answer as in depth as you like. Short and long answers alike will be greatly appreciated.

    I will present your stories as a graphic document later on this spring, so you can see where the research is going.

    TJ Vaninetti

    2012 Masters Candidate,Transportation Design
    UmeƄ Institute of Design
    Design Blog

  2. Duck

    Duck Quack Supporter

    Wanted to drive big giant thing, make money and tour the USA. Picked OTR/long haul. Why? Because we were told local companies don't hire rookies.

    Used to be respect among drivers but it's vanishing quickly. Real truckers are getting disgruntled and leaving the industry due to stagnant rates/wages and excessive government regulation, large fleets that treat us like slaves. They're being replaced by laid off desk jockeys who are only joining the industry as a second career because their original jobs went to China, or because the economy has rendered their college degrees useless.

    I think your definition of "domestic" as opposed to long-haul is a little different than ours due to the fact you're in Europe, where long-haul drivers cross international borders several times a day. Here in the United States, the majority of us, even if we're long-haul, do not cross into Canada and therefore are also "domestic". But we do cross state lines. Operating within one state is called "Intra-state" while going all over the USA is called "interstate".

    Here we have local, regional and long-haul.

    I already described long-haul. Regional drivers do cross state lines frequently, but generally stick within a day's drive from their home base. Local drivers never get very far from home and concentrate on local pickups and deliveries and go home every night.
  3. Racer X 69

    Racer X 69 Member

    I wonder if the OP means regional, or local, when he says domestic.
  4. Mike

    Mike Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I assume this is what they mean, but not sure.
  5. DubbleD

    DubbleD Color Commentator

    Thanks Duck.:toothpick:
  6. Yes, that's correct.

    I am still in the process of learning the terms associated with trucking.

    REGIONAL and Long-Haul, that is more accurate.

  7. Mr. Q

    Mr. Q Silent Observer

    Original Poster
  8. Thanks for the insight Duck, really good info.

    I have a few follow up questions in regards to the Long-Haul Trucker Lifestyle, if you don't mind...
    How has being a long-haul trucker affected your personal life? Specifically, how has this affected the communication and relationship with friends and family? Do you often talk with them? In what manner (eg, cellphone, email, face-to-face, VoIP, Morse code, etc.)?

    Again, thanks for all the info; really good stuff.

  9. Duck

    Duck Quack Supporter

    I think this thread may answer part of that question. http://www.truckersforum.net/forum/f16/impossible-find-girlfriend-wife-while-road-68651/
  10. truckersgirl

    truckersgirl Member

    Here is a different perspective for you...from a family member of a trucker instead of the actual trucker. My dad has driven for more than 30 years. When I was a kid, dad drove more regionally, meaning he be out for about 2 days, home for a few hours then back out for 2 days or so. This was before computers, cell phones, skype, etc. We basically new where dad was heading and the general day he would be home. We were always very excited when dad pulled in the driveway. Back then, it didn't seem like such a big deal (dad being gone every day or everyother day). It what was dad did. But, I think the bottom line to your whole question of "how has this affected the communication and relationship...." is the way in which you manage your trucking life determines what effect it will have on your loved ones. In my case, my dad was gone for up to two days at a time, BUT I can not recall a single time that dad ever missed a sporting event, school concert, or any other activity I was involved in during my youth. Even if dad had just returned home, he'd park his rig and drive any distance he had to in order to watch me play the sport I was playing at the moment, attend one of my band concerts, etc. I think a huge part played in all this is the company he worked for which treated him well and gave him the ability to pick and choose his loads, so if he knew my brother or I had something he wanted to attend, he could choose his loads accordingly so he knew he could make it home. For comparisons sake, my mother on the other hand worked occasionally and lived less than 1/2 hour away (parents divorced) and I can count the number of times on one hand her showing up for a game, concert, etc. Even though dad was driving all over the northeast and went without sleep many times, he still made it to everything and was an amazing provider to my brother and I (we never went without anything). I'm sure my dad could have made much more money if he didn't have to "deal with us kids" by attending different events, but I honestly feel that my dad knew what was important and sometimes it isnt all about how much money you make.

    Fast forward 30 years....dad is about to retire and I'm now dating a trucker who spent at least 10 years on the road long-haul. Granted I wasn't with him at the time, but I've heard plenty of stories from him and his family about what it was like when he was on the road. His mother use to keep a map with all the places he'd call from highlighted to try and keep track of where he was (again, really before the time where cell phones and computers were much less common then they are now). Eventually he came off the road because he was ready to be "home" and now drives local/regionally and is home usually every night. But still, even though he is home every night, he still checks in throughout the day with me, his mother and his sister. The key is though that he makes an effort to simply check in even if its because he's bored while driving and needs someone to talk to. We've had some of the best conversations on the phone while he was out trucking.

    Yes, it takes alot of effort to maintain a good relationship with a trucker while he/she is on the road, but having an understanding family helps the situation 100% in my opinion. If a trucker has a family who can not deal with him being away, it puts stress on the trucker and the family and it rarely works out.

    Sorry about the short novel I wrote, just though my side of things may help you in your research.

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