In the United States, 13.4% of all vehicles are commercial trucks.
The trucking industry is much larger than you may think it is. We’ve all been driving down the highway and seen semi-truck after semi-truck.
They haul our food, clothing, furniture, and all the other products that we use every single day. There are many facts about the industry that people don’t know.
How much do semi-truck drivers in Houston get paid? What are the risks? How many drivers are women?
These are some of the questions you may be wondering; well, you’ve come to the right place. We are going to answer those questions and many more. Read on to find out ten facts about the trucking industry.
1. Lowest Drunk Driving Rates
Even though it’s illegal, many people drive while under the influence. 23.9% of passenger car deaths were caused by drunk drivers in 2017. In contrast, the number of facilities caused by truck drivers under the influence was 3.6%
The consequences of driving under the influence for a truck driver are the same as they are for someone who drives a passenger car. There’s a chance of fines, community service, and even jail time. If you’re driving while impaired, you could lose your license and be fired from your job.
The most common drunk-driving truck accidents include head-on collisions, blind spot accidents, and rear-end collisions. Drunk driving causes people to have slower reaction times and blurred vision. Driving a truck is hard, and driving while impaired is impossible. The consequences aren’t worth it.
2. A Commercial Driver’s License Is Needed
There are different classes of driver’s licenses, and in order to operate an eighteen-wheeler you must obtain a Class A CDL. This license allows you to drive a flatbed, livestock carrier, and semi-truck.
There are a few other vehicles included under the CDL as well. If you’re looking for a job, your employer is going to look to see if you have this license.
3. It’s A Dangerous Job
Trucking driving comes with a lot of risks. That is why the industry is so heavily regulated. Besides the high risk of tipping and crashing, many truck drivers experience a lot of health issues.
There aren’t a lot of healthy food options on the road, so many drivers eat fast food, which isn’t known for being good for the body. The hours aren’t the same as a normal 9 to 5 job.
Drivers drive all the time, during the day, at night, and sometimes on the weekend. This doesn’t give them a lot of time to exercise or to see a doctor.
Driving long hours can lead to extreme fatigue, and often times drivers don’t get enough rest. Other physical effects include cardio-cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
Driving is also a sedimentary job that can lead to obesity. Besides the physical effects, truck driving can be hard on mental health.
Those who work in the industry are away from home for more than half the year, which doesn’t give them a lot of time to see family and friends. Many drivers experience loneliness.
4. Get Paid By The Mile
The majority of drivers get paid by the mile. If you work for a company, you’ll typically get paid between $0.25 and $0.50 a mile.
The amount you get depends on the cargo and how much experience you have driving trucks. There are a few downsides to getting paid by the mile instead of by the hour.
You won’t get paid for the time you sit in traffic or at weight stations. If you run into bad weather and have time to stop, you won’t get paid for that extra time either.
This method of pay encourages drivers to get as many miles in as possible, which isn’t always safe. If you only drive shorter distances or if you’re making a few deliveries in one trip, you may get paid by the hour.
5. 7% of Drivers Are Women
The industry is prominently men. Only 7% of drivers are women; however, President Biden is hoping to change that.
Women have broken into more white-collar industries but have been slowly moving into blue-collar jobs. In the past, there haven’t been many resources for women in the industry.
While there’s still not a lot, there’s more than there was a few years ago. You’ll start to see that percentage go up as women aren’t taking “no” for an answer anymore.
6. It’s Not Just Driving
This may surprise you, but there’s more to the job than just driving a truck. Sitting behind the wheel takes up the majority of the time, but you’ll also need to make time for scheduling and planning your route.
You’ll also be required to keep a driving log and communicate with your superior and possibly even the client. Once you get to the destination, you will have to load the goods and products.
It can be hard work loading and unloading boxes and requires a lot of physical strength. Drivers are also responsible for maintaining their trucks, so you’ll need to pay attention in case something goes wrong.
7. The Industry Is Growing
It’s estimated that there are 3.5 million drivers and close to 10 million in the industry. As more and more people purchase goods online, the number of trucks and drivers that are needed increases. It’s no secret that Covid-19 hit everyone really hard, including the trucking industry.
After two years, many are still recovering, and the high gas prices aren’t helping the truckers recover. However, people still need their goods and products, so the industry continues to expand.
There is a storage of drivers, and the need for more people is growing quickly. If you’re looking for a job in Houston, Texas, consider driving a truck. Employees are always replaceable, but because there is market demand for reliable drivers, you will have a lot of job security.
8. Laws and Requirements In Texas
There are numerous laws that truck drivers in Houston must follow. This is in place to keep everyone safe and efficient.
Before you can drive a semi-truck in Houston, you must pass a drug test. You can also be tested at any time as a preventive measure.
To drive a truck you must be 21 years or older and follow all traffic laws, including not using a cellphone. There are multiple federal laws that you have to follow as well.
These are primarily focused on the number of hours someone can drive without a break. For example, you can’t drive for more than 11 hours after only having a 10-hour break.
Another time regulation includes not being able to drive after being on duty for 60 hours in the span of seven days. The laws and requirements surrounding truck driving are complex and extensive, so it’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with them.
9. America Heavily Relies On Truck Drivers
For years, the industry hasn’t gotten the recognition it deserves. People tend to forget or may not know that 70% of goods in the United States are carried via truck.
To put that into perspective truckers move around $671 billion in goods every year. That only includes products that are transported in the United States, not including Mexico or Canada. Without truck drivers, this country would have a tough time functioning.
10. Be Your Own Boss
One of the best things about being a truck driver is you can work for yourself. As a self-employed trucker, you’ll lease or own your own semi and driver whenever possible.
You can make more money working for yourself rather than a company. Not just a little bit more, but 10% of self-employed drivers make 52% more.
Typically, self-employed drivers work more, too, so keep that in mind. There’s a downside that you need to consider, and that’s rising gas prices, and you’ll have to cover maintenance on your vehicle.
Just like any job, there are pros and cons. Long hours can be difficult, but job security may make up for it.
Take some time to consider if being a semi-trucker is for you. The great thing is you can always try it, and if you don’t like it, you can change to a new profession or try a different job in the industry.
Semi Truck Drivers in Houston, Texas
Being a semi-truck driver in Houston, Texas is a great opportunity and career choice. There are a lot of misconceptions around the industry, but we hope this article cleared some of them up for you.
If you’re working for a Houston truck driver’s company and you’re in an accident, contact us. We know how hard it is to be injured on the job and unable to work. Our team of lawyers is prepared to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.