How Well are Truck Drivers Paid

There is a major shortage of truck drivers in the United States, and this is periodically highlighted in the mainstream media. Hence many young people as well as army veterans interested in a career with plenty of job opportunities would like to become a truck driver. Before contacting trucking companies in Austin, Texas (TX) for driver jobs, interested drivers would like to find out how well truck drivers are paid, the working conditions, the problems faced and other relevant information.
Hence information which will help those who are interested in becoming truck drivers is compiled from multiple sources.

Job profile

Compared to most other jobs where college education is not required, working as a truck driver pays well because of the long hours the truck drivers are spending away from their family. Often the truck drivers spend only one or two days in a month with their family, the rest of the time they are spending driving the truck or related activities. The truck driver has to undergo basic training first. He can choose to get a job with a large and reputed company which will offer a larger variety of work, but may pay less. Alternately he can work with a smaller company which will usually pay a slightly higher rate to their drivers.


Though a few trucking companies are paying their drivers hourly wages, a majority of the companies are paying the truck drivers weekly based on the distance which they cover. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS) in the United states the truck drivers are paid between $0.27 to $0.4 per mile which they cover. The rates offered may have increased in the last few years, because of the increased driver demand. Typically experienced licensed drivers will cover 2000-3000 miles per week. The average truck driver in the US is making approximately $66196 annually according to, and the top drivers can make more than $100,000 annually. However, the driver will not get paid if the truck is not moving due to a traffic jam or other reasons.


The amount which the truck driver makes also depends on the certification and experience of a driver. If the driver has got a commercial drivers license (CDL) and is a class A driver, he will find it easier to get a job and will also be paid more. Similarly there are some risks involved in transporting hazardous materials, which may be toxic or inflammable. Hence if the driver has got a hazardous material certification, called HAZMAT he can drive trucks with hazardous loads, and get paid more per mile while driving the truck. The trucking companies in austin tx and elsewhere may offer higher compensation to experienced drivers for training new drivers.

Type of truck

The rates which companies pay their drivers also depends on the type of truck,cargo and distance covered. Intermodal drivers cover a distance of over 1000 miles in their truck, and are away from their home for long. Hence they are usually paid higher rates, making more than $80000 a year according to Glassdoor. Transporting tankers filled with liquids, liquefied gas, hazardous materials is risky and the driver has to be careful to avoid accidents. Trucks are used for transporting oversized loads, like construction, military, aerospace, farm, bridge beams, water tanks. These loads are also heavier, weighing 800,000 pounds or more, so the truck driver has to be careful to avoid accidents, and will be paid more. Refrigerated and flatbed truck drivers get higher compensation at $.52 and $0.5 per mile.


In addition to the weekly salary the truck drivers are often eligible for bonuses which add to the income. Drivers whose mileage exceeds the target will get a bonus. Since fuel expenses are significant, drivers who are more fuel efficient will also get a bonus. In addition to delays, accidents can be expensive for the trucking companies since the trucks, other vehicles, property may get damaged. Hence truck drivers who have a good safety record are also getting a bonus. Similarly if the truck passes the DOT( Department of transport) inspection without any problem, the driver may get a bonus. To attract new drivers, some trucking companies are offering a sign up bonus for new drivers, and referral bonus for drivers who convince other drivers to join the company.