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Flat Bed Truck Driver FAQ

A flatbed truck is often used to carry loads that cannot be loaded in tractor trailers. Because they have level and flat bodies that have no roofs or sides, flatbed truck drivers should have physical strength along with a good amount of experience to be successful. The role of flatbed truck driving today cannot be underestimated. Commerce and industries could come to a halt, and trade would be affected. Flatbed truck driving also offers many different job opportunities for people ranging from local short-drive deliveries to over-the-road long hauls.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses in automotive mechanics, driver training, computer technology and business mathematics are helpful. Additionally, taking business classes and accounting are beneficial for flatbed truck drivers who plan to enter self-employment.


Flatbed truck drivers should possess a valid commercial driver's license that requires a good driving record along with the ability to pass a health and vision examination. They are also expected to have good eyesight and hearing, be able to lift heavy objects and have two to three years of truck driving experience. They are also required to take a drug test before applying for the job.

They should be able to speak and read English well enough to communicate with law enforcement officers and the public, read road signs and prepare company reports. After obtaining their license, they must submit a medical certification or form every two years. They should also be at least 21 years of age to drive most flatbed trucks in interstate commerce and to transport hazardous materials.


Flatbed truck drivers often travel at night and on weekends and holidays. This is done in order to deliver their cargo on time and to avoid traffic delays. They normally work the most hours that federal regulation allows. Long haul-trips may keep people away from home for many days at a time. Some self-employed flatbed drivers who operate and own their trucks may spend the majority of the year away from their home.
They may also face loneliness, fatigue and boredom on long trips although there are recent truck model changes in the circulation of fresh air, seating and equipment for seeing. Also, noise, vibration, poor weather conditions and the need to stay alert and sharp can cause mental and physical stress for the driver.


A flatbed truck driver has the task of tying their loads down to their vehicle using binders, chain, blocks, ropes and covers. This should be done properly to ensure the safe transportation of goods. They also check the fuel and oil in their trucks before leaving the warehouse or terminal.

They may also work in teams to share time behind the wheel during long trips. When managing heavy loads, they are required to assist one another. Flatbed truck drivers also plan the routes that they take on their journey. They are given an address where the goods should be delivered along with a deadline.

They are also tasked to maneuver the truck into an unloading and loading position. They must also check if any special loading equipment is properly positioned. After completing a delivery, they are required to obtain signatures and receipts and sometimes collect payments for services.

They also need to keep a detailed log of mileage, travel time and sleep hours. This is to document that they have met with the regulations that the Department of Transportation has set in place.


The majority of flatbed drivers are paid by the mile or by the hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average flatbed truck driver earned $20 per hour. Mileage and hourly rates increase depending upon the time that they have spent working for a company and their experience.

Some drivers are also paid a percentage of each load's revenue. They are provided with life, disability, dental and medical insurance and retirement plans. They may also receive benefits if they are a member of a union although it is negotiated by their representatives.

Job Outlook

Flatbed truck driving consistently remains in demand because the increased use of air, ship and rail transportation requires truck drivers to deliver and pick up shipments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for flatbed truck drivers is predicted to grow 13 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Where Do People Work

About 30 percent of flatbed truck drivers work in general freight trucking while 15 percent work in specialized freight trucking. Aside from that, 5 percent work in road transportation and support activities.

Is This the Right Job?

The job of flatbed truck drivers will appeal to people who enjoy working independently, working with details, providing service to others and performing physical activities. The flatbed truck driving occupation satisfies people who have realistic interests. Realistic occupations usually involve work activities that include hands-on, practical solutions and problems, rarely working closely with other people and little paperwork.