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The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
One of the alluring facets of being a truck driver is the freedom it provides. With nothing but the open road in front of you, there are few professions that provide so much solitude, especially considering the opportunities for significant compensation. As much freedom as there is on the open road, though, the act of truck driving itself continues to become more heavily regulated. While these regulations have largely been positive developments, it’s important that new drivers understand these regulations so that they know what they’re getting into.
While the DOT has always had very strict guidelines about drug use while driving commercial vehicles, these regulations continue to be more heavily enforced. After all, trucking companies and shippers don’t want to expose themselves to any of the liability that could result from a driver who has an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’ve gotten around random drug testing in the past, that likely won’t be an option for you moving forward.
Truck driving has never been known as a profession in which you get a lot of exercise. While, in the past, it was just accepted that some drivers would be unhealthy, more and more companies are realizing that this could pose a major liability, especially if drivers have diabetes, high blood pressure, or another potentially life-threatening illness. That’s why things like a DOT certified physical exam are more important than ever, as these help drivers to understand their level of physical fitness in relation to the demands of driving a truck for a living.
The days of driving your truck whenever you want for as long as you want are long gone. In an effort to make roads safer, there are now heavy restrictions on working hours for truck drivers. Plus, there are strict rules about how long you have to rest before you can get back on the road again. While you can still put in a lot of hours during a week, you need to know that it’s not a free-for-all.
With more and more potentially hazardous materials being shipped over the road, load endorsements and restrictions are more important than ever. Especially in a time where rechargeable batteries are in just about every device, there have to be regulations in place to ensure only specially trained drivers are hauling this cargo. This also leads to more frequent cargo inspections, meaning you need to plan for these inspections when considering your driving time.
Although there are more regulations on the trucking industry than ever before, that doesn’t mean that trucking is not a great career. Given the ever-increasing demands for fast shipping, driving a truck provides endless work and plenty of room to make a lucrative career. As long as you’re willing to abide by these restrictions, you can make a great life for yourself and your family.