What is the Difference Between Regional and Local Trucking
Upon completing your truck driver training courses and earning a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), assessing the driving positions available is important to choose the best option for your needs and lifestyle. Understanding these truck driving positions is crucial as it helps you make an informed decision. The most common truck driving options include over-the-road (OTR), local, and regional trucking. Each one of these options covers a specific area and offers distinct advantages and disadvantages.
What Is OTR In Trucking?
OTR is an acronym denoting “over the road,” which refers to truck drivers transporting freight over long distances. This is the most common job for entry-level truck drivers. It often serves as the means through which truck drivers amass the experience required to advance into other roles within the industry. Although long-haul drivers transport comparable freight to their regional counterparts, the key distinction lies in the extensive mileage these professionals cover to make their deliveries.
- Competitive Compensation:
One of the significant advantages of working as a truck driver, particularly in an Over-the-Road (OTR) capacity, is the potential for high earnings. OTR drivers are compensated based on mileage, making them the most well-paid among the various truck driving occupations. Starting salaries for OTR drivers typically average around $55,000 per annum.
- Long Travel Opportunities: OTR drivers are entrusted with transporting freight across most of the 48 states of the United States. This aspect of the job gives them the unique opportunity to witness and appreciate the captivating landscapes and natural wonders that adorn the nation.
- Autonomy and Flexibility: OTR drivers enjoy considerable independence as they can determine their driving schedules, provided they meet the crucial requirement of timely delivery. This freedom allows drivers to select the most suitable driving hours without constant supervision or scrutiny.
- Limited Home Time: OTR drivers’ extended time away from home is a significant drawback. Weeks can go by before they can have the opportunity to return home, resulting in little time spent with family and loved ones. On average, drivers can expect only one day of home time every two weeks on the road.
- Loneliness: OTR drivers often face long stretches of solitude during their journeys, isolated from companionship for an extended duration. This isolation and lack of social interaction can contribute to loneliness and isolation.
- Health Challenges: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle poses challenges for OTR drivers, primarily due to limited access to nutritious food options while on the road. Coupled with long hours spent behind the wheel, drivers may need help to adhere to healthy habits. However, it is important to note that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not impossible, but it does require additional effort and planning for drivers.
What Does Regional Truck Driving Mean?
Regional trucking is the geographic region where a truck driver transports goods and materials. It is the best blend of over-the-road (OTR) and local driving, making it an optimal choice for drivers seeking a balanced work experience. Regional drivers concentrate their efforts within specific geographic regions across the United States, typically encompassing four to five states and within a range of approximately 1000 miles.
Advantages of Regional Truck Driving
- Weekends off: One advantage of regional truck driving is the likelihood of having weekends available for personal time. Regional truck drivers primarily operate during the weekdays, allowing them to spend their weekends at home.
- Improve compensation: Regional trucking jobs often provide remuneration based on mileage. Since regional routes typically involve greater distances than local routes, this frequently translates into higher earnings for regional truck drivers.
- Limited physical labor: Regional truck drivers typically avoid manual labor tasks. Responsibilities such as loading and unloading the truck are typically assigned to others, enabling the driver to obtain necessary rest. This advantage proves particularly beneficial, especially after long drives.
Disadvantages of Regional Truck Driving
- Overnight stays: It is important to note that numerous regional routes require truck drivers to spend nights away from home, which can disrupt personal routines and time spent with family.
- Prolonged working hours: Regional truck drivers often face demanding schedules, leading to extended periods of driving that may extend through the night. Consequently, these professionals may sometimes spend hours behind the wheel for consecutive days.
- Traffic challenges: While regional drivers may enjoy higher compensation based on the mileage they cover, this aspect can become a drawback when confronted with heavy traffic conditions. Particularly in urban areas where destinations may be closer geographically, excessive driving time without significant progress can effectively diminish their hourly wage.
What Is Local Truck Driving?
Local trucking involves hauling freights within a 200-mile radius, often called interstate driving. These drivers possess a specific skill set that enables them to navigate their trucks through urban areas effectively. A typical work day for local truck drivers entails 8-10 hours of driving time, punctuated by regular breaks.
Advantages of Local Driving
- Predictable Schedule: Local truck drivers benefit from a predetermined schedule, allowing them to know the exact day and hours when they have to work. In many cases, their workday commences as early as 4 am. These drivers frequently travel on consistent routes within specific companies, fostering strong client relationships.
- Increased Time at Home: Generally, local truck driving jobs allow truck drivers to return home every night, promoting a better work-life balance.
- Health Benefits: Local truck drivers are less exposed to prolonged driving and sedentary behaviors. Consequently, they face a reduced likelihood of experiencing safety and medical risks.
Disadvantages to Local Driving
- Lower Compensation: On average, local truck drivers earn approximately $500-$700 per week, which is comparatively lower than other trucking positions.
- Heightened Competition: Given the appeal of local hauls, the competition for local truck driving jobs is notably intense. Trucking carriers often have the luxury of selecting from a large pool of applicants when filling such positions.
- Loading and Unloading Responsibilities: Some local truck driving roles necessitate drivers to handle the loading and unloading of their trucks, which requires physical preparedness.
- Urban Driving Challenges: Local truck drivers frequently spend substantial time maneuvering through cities and towns. Consequently, they encounter various scenarios such as traffic congestion, traffic lights, prolonged waiting times, pedestrian crossings, bicycles, and other similar challenges.
What is a Dedicated Route?
Dedicated trucking is a transportation arrangement wherein a carrier like FleetCare designates specific assets (truck drivers) and resources, such as trucks and trailers, exclusively to a single customer. This exclusive arrangement is commonly known as dedicated driving.
Advantages of a Dedicated Route
- Safety: Since drivers frequently handle consistent loads and follow predetermined routes, it becomes easier to plan stops, navigate traffic patterns, and prioritize general safety measures.
- Consistency: Drivers maintain a reliable and predictable service by establishing a rapport with passengers and adhering to regular appointments or timetables.
- Efficiency: Acquiring knowledge about the most efficient routes and leveraging that information to complete loads promptly can improve operational efficiency and increase mileage revenue.
- Stability: In the event that fluctuations influence your carrier’s ability to secure freight in the spot market, the contractual agreement between the carrier and the consumer ensures a sense of stability and security.
Disadvantages of a Dedicated Route
- Limited route diversity: Traveling exclusively within a specific area may result in fewer opportunities to serve different locations and customers.
- Reduced mileage: Dedicated drivers often experience shorter wait times for pickup and delivery than their dedicated counterparts. This discrepancy in wait times translates to less driving time and fewer miles covered.
Now that you know about the trucking jobs available, contact FleetCare for more details about CDL and how to get started.