Over the Road Truck Driver's Salary: Is it Worth It?, Page 2 of 2 - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com
An over the road truck driver is a truck driver who is typically on the road for two or more weeks at a time. The over the road truck driver can expect to make it home for 1-2 weekends per month and be home for most holidays. Does a truck driver salary make being an over the road truck driver worth it?
Truck Driver Salary - Paid By The Mile
An over the road truck driver is paid by the mile, a new driver can expect to get paid .30 cents per mile to upwards of .40 cents per mile. If you do a rough calculation, it may sound as if as a truck driver, you can make a decent amount of money. Take the average, .35 cents per mile and multiply that by the speed limit of 60mph and you get $21 per hour. $21 per hour is not bad for a truck driver salary. Unfortunately, the salary of a truck driver is not that simple and it is not as good as it sounds.
A truck driver can expect to average about 50mph over the course of a day due to traffic, rest stops, gas stops, tolls, and weigh stations. The 50mph calculation is for a truck driver that rushes and does not waste extra time at stops and does not encounter excessive traffic. A truck driver that has to drive through multiple large cities or who takes extended stops can expect to have an average mph significantly less than 50mph, regardless of their driving speed.
Truck Driver Salary - Working Hours Per Day
Doing a simple truck driver salary calculation one may say that a truck driver can drive 10 hours a day or more and that would mean upwards of $210 per day. In reality, truck driver salary is limited by driving regulations. An over the road truck driver can work for 14 hours per day but only 11 of it can be actual drive time. Another limitation is that a truck driver must take 34 hours off after they have worked 70 hours in one week; this time includes load and drive time. Once the truck driver takes 34 hours off, they can begin a new work week and it is termed that they have taken a 34 hour restart.
These truck driver regulations mean that if a driver spends 6 hours a day getting loaded and unloaded (which happens more than it should,) they only have 8 hours in a day left to drive. The other unfortunate setback in a truck driver salary is that they are not paid any time they are not driving. If a truck driver spends 6 hours per day getting loaded and unloaded, this is unpaid time. Many companies do offer pay if a driver has to wait an extended amount of time but this does not usually take effect until a driver has sat for more than two hours.
Truck Driver Salary - So How Much Do They Make?
The typical over the road truck driver can expect to get paid on average .35 cents per mile (new drivers often start at .26 and work up to .29) and run about 2500-3000 miles per week. The miles that a truck driver can expect to run are often limited not by the driver but by load availability. Even the most ambitious driver can expect to legally max out at 3500 miles per week and this is only possible with long hauls that offer few and short load and unload times.
To answer the question, the average over the road truck driver can expect to make $875-$1050 gross per week.
(I THINK THIS IS TOO HIGH: From everything I have read it is more like $8 - $13/hour to start. And it isn't always 8-10 hours/day. Figure a low of $250 for a bad week (shop and weather) to $400/week as the LOW salary to start. Anything after that is gravy until you get experience and better routes and loads. Don't forget that if you take vacation, etc. - no pay, thou some companies do offer a small weekly pay for vacation after a year. Go in expecting less and happy to have more.)
To make this kind of money, a truck driver can expect to be away from home for most of the month with only 2-4 days spent at home. This leaves a truck driver alone in his truck or at truck stops for the majority of his down time and 34 hour restarts. In a perfect world, the truck driver would be able to make it home for his 34 hour restarts but due to load demand it is not usually possible.
Is an over the road truck driver salary worth the time away from home? It depends on the person and family needs. A single truck driver may enjoy the time away and the travel. An older truck driver may be able to take his spouse along and essentially travel the country together for work. A father however, may find it difficult to balance being an over the road truck driver and a Dad.