Getting your license as a CDL truck driver is only the first step in your career. Your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) will open up plenty of opportunities for you. But with these opportunities will also come plenty of challenges, and you must know what are the demands of the job, before you finally decide to become a CDL truck driver.
Here are the usual challenges faced by a truck driver who has a Commercial Drivers License:
Vehicle Maintenance and Repair – Most employers of CDL truck drivers also expect that you would have some working knowledge on maintaining the vehicle that you are driving. Therefore, it would help a lot if you are also even mildly interested in fixing vehicles. Remember that a heavy truck costs a lot of money, and they expect that you would be able to protect their investment by adequately caring for the vehicle. They also expect that you would also be familiar with doing some minor repairs on the vehicle. Having this some mechanical skill is also for your protection, particularly during long trips when you are on the road alone. This would also minimize interruption to the business.
Work-Life Balance – Achieving a healthy balance between work and your personal life might also prove to be a challenge, particularly if you work as a long haul truck driver. This is because your work will sometimes require you to be on the road for days or weeks at a time. This can be a complicated scenario for those who are married or who are raising small children. If your family life is in a stage where you are needed at home every night, you might want to rethink your career options. Otherwise, consider yourself warned and maximize your time together on your days off.
Physical Requirements – Because of the long hours that are usually required of CDL truck drivers, you must also be at a certain level of physical fitness. Another reason is that you will be required to do some lifting and carrying of boxes of goods when you transport and deliver merchandise. You are also required to carry a medical certificate with you whenever you are working. Physical conditions that will disqualify you for this job include heart and lung disorders, diabetes and incomplete limbs.
Daily Compliance with Legal Requirements – It cannot be stressed enough that being a CDL truck driver requires you to drive responsibly and safely at all times. It is important to note that two or more serious traffic violations within a three year period will result in a suspension period in which you will not be allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The suspension period can be anywhere from three months to five years, depending on the severity of the violation. The term “serious traffic violations” does not just refer to those involving fatal accidents but also includes more common misdeeds such as reckless and excessive speeding, improper changing of lanes, and following another vehicle too closely. Driving with a suspended CDL, in turn, will result in heavy fines and penalties for both the driver and the employer – $2500 for the driver plus a 90 day prison term, and $10,000 for the employer.