Should You Drive Local or Regional?

The United States has a massive shortage of truck drivers. It needs about 52,000 more professional drivers, and the figure could quadruple within the next seven years.

For those thinking a career in this field, it’s good news for you: there are plenty of options available. These include regional and local driving. Which between the two is better, though, depends on many factors.

License

When it comes to licenses, there’s not much difference whether the person chooses to drive nationwide or locally. There are three primary types of commercial driver’s licenses, depending on the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). These are the following:

  • Class A – It is for drivers that operate a vehicle combination with a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds, including over 10,000 pounds of towed vehicle. Some examples are tractor-trailers, double trailers, flatbeds, and livestock carriers.
  • Class B – It is for drivers that operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds. It may also refer to a 26,001-pound vehicle towing another with a weight of no more than 10,000 pounds. Some of the buses already belong to this category.
  • Class C – It is for drivers who operate a vehicle that doesn’t meet the criteria of class A and B. It may also refer to vehicles that can carry at least 16,000 people or hazardous material.

Salaries

Truck driver looking at his tablet

Due to the shortage, truck drivers these days tend to have better pay. In 2015, the wages could go as high as $73,000 for regional work. Today, some companies give away high bonuses to the tune of $20,000.

In reality, the average salary for regional drivers is from $33,000 to over $75,000. Local truck driving jobs, meanwhile, can be at least $32,000, depending on factors such as the actual location.

Working Conditions

It may be easy to dismiss local trucking since it pays less, but the working conditions seem to be better when a person is in this field.

For one, they don’t need to cover miles. Instead, they work per day according to a particular number of hours. It can range from 8 to 10 hours. Since their job is also within the area, they have the opportunity to return home to their families daily.

Regional drivers are often long-haul truckers, and they spend a lot of time on the road. On the average, they are out of their home for two to three weeks. It can extend during the busy seasons, such as the holidays.

The long hours of work and sitting make the job a danger to one’s health. Studies showed it could increase the risk of obesity, which is a common factor for chronic diseases. These include cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. In fact, their health risks in these areas are significantly higher than the general working population.

Trucking is no easy job – no work is. All have their risks, as well as benefits. For those who want a higher salary can consider over the road or long-haul trucking. Local truck driving is better, though, for individuals who want a better work-life balance.