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Regional Jobs

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 20 percent increase in the amount of available positions, truck driving is becoming an increasingly sought after and well-paying job. This forecasted increase would add an estimated 330,100 jobs to the existing 1.5 million truck drivers currently on the road. With the rise of online shopping, specialized goods and too few qualified drivers seeking positions, the entry into the truck driving field is more attainable than ever. Driving a tractor trailer provides a median annual income of $37,930, with the top ten percent of drivers making upwards of $58,000 a year.

Although driving a truck is commonly associated with long cross-country hauls, there are regional driving positions which allow for greater flexibility in schedule and more time spent at home with loved ones. Usually limited to a five-state radius, regional driving jobs offer opportunities to employee drivers and owner-operators alike.

Employee Drivers

As employees of trucking companies, drivers work within scheduled hours and have their routes and freight assigned to them. Employee positions often provide for greater stability in weekly income and a predictable schedule with weekly or bi-weekly time at home. Driving as a company employee usually offers benefits like paid vacation and sick time, medical, dental and vision coverage and 401k contributions. When driving a truck owned by a company, the driver is not responsible for tolls, gas or maintenance to the vehicle. However, the chance at upward mobility and higher earnings can be more limited for employees than for owner-operators. Additionally, employees do not have the freedom to choose their routes or plan for longer stretches at home when needed.


Owner-operators own their trucks and can haul freight for various companies and clients. Working as an owner-operator means a driver buys and maintains his vehicle, which can detract from annual gross earnings. However, this deficit can generally be recovered from the more lucrative runs than those typically available to employee drivers. However, the unpredictable nature in the availability of jobs can mean greater fluctuation in the amount of weekly income. Owner-operators have the option to choose from different tiers and contract preferences on which to structure and operate their business.

Mileage-Lease Program

Some trucks owners may work under a mileage-lease program in which a designated company assigns the loads and routes, saving the driver time in planning and prospecting for freight. Being able to spend more time on the road is beneficial for the driver who is being paid by the mile under this type of contract.

Percentage-Lease Program

Owner-operators may also choose to run a percentage-lease business which allows access to different loads needed for transport by various companies. Earning a percentage of the revenue, drivers who operate under a percentage-lease structure can choose which freight to haul and routes to drive.

Although both types of owner-operators are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance on their truck, they are often offered discounts through the companies for which they provide services. Owner-operators have a greater freedom to choose the routes they drive and freight to haul, as well the pride that comes with being a small business owner and entrepreneur.

Commercial Driver License

Being a truck driver requires a Commercial Driver License (CDL). Learning to handle and properly shift a tractor tailor is typically accomplished by completing a CDL course which can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to complete. Depending on the state, the Department of Motor Vehicle testing may be waived, and a CDL granted upon completion of a certified course. When hired as an employee, the company often pays for the time spent in training and will sometimes reimburse the tuition, which can range from $1,500-$3,000, upon certification.

Safety Regulations

Even those drivers on regional routes must adhere to the safety guidelines as revised by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) in July, 2013. Truck drivers are restricted to working a maximum of seventy hours a week. However, an individual may resume driving after thirty-four hours of consecutive rest; two nights of which must be between the hours of 1-5 a.m., when the body most needs its rest. Additionally a driver must take a mandatory thirty-minute break within the first eight hours on the road and can only drive for eleven hours per day with a total workday of fourteen hours. The United States Department of Transportation predicts that these tighter regulations will save approximately 19 lives each year while preventing 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries. Companies who permit their drivers to violate these regulations by three or more hours face a possible fine of $11,000 per offense with the individual drivers facing a penalty of $2,750.

Regional jobs in truck driving can offer exciting and rewarding careers within a five state radius from home, and allow for greater time spent with loved ones. Individuals can choose how to structure their freight transport business to provide the income structure and route flexibility most suitable to them.