Being a truck driver is a tough job, but it does come with great benefits such as generous pay, good benefits, and job security. Despite the physical and mental toll, it can take on drivers, it’s still an attractive prospect for those who want to be on the open road, surrounded by constant change of scenery, and protected by cheap truck insurance.
If you’re considering getting behind the wheel of a big truck in California, there are some requirements and policies to consider.
The actual process of applying to be a truck driver in California can be overwhelming initially. The most basic requirement is getting your commercial driver’s license, which is a must whether you plan to drive trucks short-term or as a long-term career.
Here’s what you need to know to begin your career as a truck driver.
Basic Requirements to Become a Driver
In order to become a truck driver in California, you need to be the following:
- You should be at least 21 years of age. Although a lot of states allow drivers 18 and older within their state borders, federal regulations require those operating across state lines to be at least 21. Some states require over-the-road drivers to be at least 25 years old.
- You must have a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) issued by your state of domicile. You can hold a license for only one state. Depending on the type of equipment you’re operating and the company’s needs, you may need specific endorsements.
- You must be in solid physical condition. Under the rules of the U.S. Department of Transportation, you will be required to undergo a complete physical examination every two years. You should have complete limbs, no physical defects, or no disease that can affect your ability to drive safely. You should also have no medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes that requires you to take insulin for control.
- You need a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye, with or without corrective lenses. You should have a 70-degree field of vision in each eye and you can’t be color-blind. Your hearing capabilities should allow you to hear a forced whisper at not less than five feet, with or without the use of a hearing aid.
- You should be able to speak and read English well enough to understand traffic signs, speak with law enforcement, and prepare reports.
- You should have absolutely no criminal or driving record, especially a felony involving the use of motor vehicles and drugs. There should be no record of DUI or hit-and-run that resulted in a death.
Choosing a Truck Driving School
Enrolling in a truck driver training program is a good way to get started on a career in driving. It’s easy to find driver training schools, whether in vocational-technical schools, community colleges, or private, proprietary schools.
A lot of trucking companies also have their own driver training facilities.
You should pick a school that has adequate facilities for in-class instruction that is on the same level as the average public school classroom. Your school should be able to give lectures and training videos, as well as be willing to help you prepare for your Commercial Drivers License (CDL) exam. The teacher-student ratio is also something to consider, as well as the courses available.
Does the school have a variety of well-maintained trucks, tractors, and semi-trailers that you can use for your training for local, city pick-up-and-delivery, and long-haul driving? This is crucial to get the most of your hands-on training as possible.
Types of Driving Jobs Available
Professional truck drivers in the U.S. are composed of both men and women of different ages, races, and educational backgrounds.
Long-haul drivers with an average daily run of about 500 miles a day and an average from 100,000 miles to 110,000 miles a year.
Regional and city drivers average about 48,000 miles annually. Usually, they are covered by cheap commercial truck insurance.
- Over-the-Road or Long-Haul Drivers – they operate heavy trucks and stay behind the wheel for long periods of time. They drive interstate (between states) or intrastate (within one state).
A lot of long-haul drivers are tasked to do overnight duties and they can also go driving for several days or weeks at a time. But there are also drivers who travel a few hundred miles and return on the same day. Some drivers even work in teams, and some are even husband and wife.
- Pick-up and Delivery (P&D) or Local Drivers – they drive light, medium, or heavy trucks and work in pick-up-and-delivery operations or route sales.
These drivers engage more with the customers compared to over-the-road drivers. They also usually make more stops each day. Unsurprisingly, some sales skills are needed to be this type of driver.
- Hazardous Materials Drivers – these drivers will have to go through additional training, given the kind of load they are transporting.
They need to know about the content they are hauling, how to handle it safely, and what to do in case of an emergency. There’s a separate certification needed for hazardous materials drivers, as well as other permits.
How to Get Hired in Advance
Companies with their own driving schools readily employ their graduates after training. For companies that have no driving schools of their own, they will look for drivers with commercial driving experience, with at least two to five years of safe driving record.
In order to become a successful driver, you should maintain an excellent driving record, receive advanced training, and participate in company and industry safety meetings.
There are some truck drivers who actually advance to careers in safety operations and sales within the company. Some become trainers to new drivers or handle special equipment.
Maintain a Safe Driving Career With Truck Insurance
If you’re looking for the cheapest truck insurance, look no further. SoCal Truck Insurance is the name to trust when it comes to affordable truck insurance options for any type of trucking business.
We understand that each business is unique and will require specific insurance to ensure their business can keep operating in case of an accident.
You will be attended to by our experienced team who is skilled in consulting with fleet managers and owner-operators to ensure that your business is protected.
We offer the cheapest commercial truck insurance coverage customized for your particular insurance needs. Their truck insurance policies provide you with all of the protection you need for one low price.
Get a free quote, contact us at SoCal Truck Insurance today.