Managing Your Trucking Career

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Whether you are just starting out and considering truck driving school or are a veteran hauler with a shortage of runs available managing your career is an important aspect to a successful career.  The following factors may play a part in your employment and success as a professional driver.

Regular Testing

As someone operating a 10 ton truck hauling a load weighing 20 tons that is traveling at 60 mph, you need to be at peak physical and mental performance. Here are a few of the regular tests you will take to ensure your fitness to drive.

DOT Physical

Certain health issues may disqualify you from renewing your CDLs, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, recent surgeries, sleep apnea, and certain medications.  Your DOT physical must be passed in order to maintain your CDL license.
Accidents
It goes without saying that an excessive number of preventable accidents will hurt your professional driving career.  The best ways to prevent accidents are to maintain adequate rest, stay aware, slow down, and drive appropriately for conditions. 

Random Drug Screening

Maintained by the DOT, as well as most employers, this can include a urine analysis, hair follicle test, or blood testing.  Any driver on the road today must be drug free to properly operate this heavy equipment.

Driving Records

Your individual driving record will greatly affect your employability with trucking companies.  If you’ve had a DUI in the past five years or lost your license due to speeding or a misdemeanor, this will almost surely discount a company from hiring you. If you’ve had a felony, it may also be difficult to obtain employment.

Experience

Unless the company you apply with takes new hires, you will need to maintain recent OTR experience to be employable.  This usually means you must be working as an OTR driver in the past 6 to 12 months to apply with many trucking companies.  This is important to keep in mind if you plan on leaving trucking for an extended period of time.

Truck Driving Schools

Many companies also operate alongside truck driving schools, where you’ll be trained to drive. Utilizing the instruction from trucking schools is a great way to learn the business and get a job. If you are going this route, consider which trucking schools will cost money upfront. Also consider if you will be required to work for the company when you complete the program. Otherwise, make sure the trucking school will provide you with quality instruction, that they have a positive reputation in the industry, and that you will have references to support your job search upon graduation.

Many trucking companies will also want to see you graduated from a CDL training school to be eligible for employment.  This is important for anyone planning on obtaining their CDL license without going to a formal CDL training school.  You may get your license, but it may be difficult to find work.



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