What are the statistics on truck drivers in the United States? Where will the trucking industry be in five years? And how can you become a truck driver yourself?
These questions, and many more, will be answered as we explore everything there is to know about current and future truck drivers in America.
Number of Commercial Truck Drivers in the United States
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics reports 811,800 truck drivers employed in 2015, which is a 21% increase since 2010.
However, as of May 2017, Trucking Job Hub estimates about 1.7 million professional truck drivers in the United States.
Although there are some conflicting data out there, that means close to a million new commercial truck driver jobs have been created in just six years.
Where Do Most Trucks Operate in the U.S?
The U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Highway Policy Information reports that most trucks drive on the interstate or non-interstate roads in either rural areas or urban roads.
More than 78% of all truck miles are driven on these two types of roadways. In addition, most truck drivers operate large rigs with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) between 10,000 pounds and 26,000 pounds on either interstate highways or other high-volume roads.
What Is The Future Of The Industry Like?
In 2012, there were more than 1.7 million truck drivers in America, representing 3.1% of all jobs in America. The total number of professional truck drivers is expected to increase by 5% through 2022.
However, because truck driving is a dangerous job and doesn’t require much formal education, many factors will cause these numbers to fluctuate over time.
The average age limit of a professional truck driver is 48, which means that it is likely that many of these drivers will be retiring in the coming years.
Nevertheless, since very few people choose to pursue a career as a truck driver, there won’t be many opportunities for younger workers to take over their jobs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Texas currently has over 70,000 truck drivers on its roads. Arkansas is close with about 64,000, while California is third with roughly 50,000. Approximately 60% of all professional truck drivers in Texas are independent contractors who own their rigs and have direct control over their daily schedules.
Montana is second from last with just over 1,500; Wyoming, Maine, South Dakota, Vermont, and North Dakota round out a list of states with less than 2,000 professional truck drivers each. While Alaska has a small number of trucks on its roads (only about 715), making Alaska the state with the least number of trucks in terms of truck miles traveled.
This is likely a question you’ve heard before; after all, millions of people work in industries where they risk life-threatening injuries or illnesses that workers’ compensation insurance could cover. But not everyone has access to it. One particular industry that falls into its category is commercial truck driving.
Most trucking companies require their drivers to be at least 21 years old, possess a valid driver’s license, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass a background check. However, these requirements vary depending on state regulations. In addition, in some areas—namely California, Texas, Illinois, and New York—there are additional steps you must take to qualify for professional driving work.
Conclusively, as of 2013, there were approximately 1.7 million truck drivers in America; by 2026, however, that number is expected to increase to 2.2 million—at which point it will still make up only a small percentage of all jobs (only 0.8%).
This number also doesn’t include contractors or transportation workers outside of trucking companies (like those who handle loading/unloading at ports), so if you add these numbers into consideration you can see how vital truck driving is!