Career summary

Details for Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer


Description

Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 GVW, to transport and deliver goods, livestock, or materials in liquid, loose, or packaged form. May be required to unload truck. May require use of automated routing equipment. Requires commercial drivers' license.

Tasks

  • Check vehicles to ensure that mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment is in good working order.
  • Follow appropriate safety procedures for transporting dangerous goods.
  • Inspect loads to ensure that cargo is secure.
  • Maintain logs of working hours or of vehicle service or repair status, following applicable state and federal regulations.
  • Secure cargo for transport, using ropes, blocks, chain, binders, or covers.
  • Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading positions, following signals from loading crew and checking that vehicle and loading equipment are properly positioned.
  • Report vehicle defects, accidents, traffic violations, or damage to the vehicles.
  • Obtain receipts or signatures for delivered goods and collect payment for services when required.
  • Drive trucks with capacities greater than 3 tons, including tractor-trailer combinations, to transport and deliver products, livestock, or other materials.
  • Check all load-related documentation for completeness and accuracy.
  • Read bills of lading to determine assignment details.
  • Collect delivery instructions from appropriate sources, verifying instructions and routes.
  • Drive trucks to weigh stations before and after loading and along routes in compliance with state regulations.
  • Couple or uncouple trailers by changing trailer jack positions, connecting or disconnecting air or electrical lines, or manipulating fifth-wheel locks.
  • Check conditions of trailers after contents have been unloaded to ensure that there has been no damage.
  • Perform basic vehicle maintenance tasks, such as adding oil, fuel, or radiator fluid or performing minor repairs.
  • Crank trailer landing gear up or down to safely secure vehicles.
  • Read and interpret maps to determine vehicle routes.
  • Operate equipment, such as truck cab computers, CB radios, phones, or global positioning systems (GPS) equipment to exchange necessary information with bases, supervisors, or other drivers.
  • Plan or adjust routes based on changing conditions, using computer equipment, global positioning systems (GPS) equipment, or other navigation devices, to minimize fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Load or unload trucks or help others with loading or unloading, using special loading-related equipment or other equipment as necessary.
  • Remove debris from loaded trailers.
  • Follow special cargo-related procedures, such as checking refrigeration systems for frozen foods or providing food or water for livestock.
  • Inventory and inspect goods to be moved to determine quantities and conditions.
  • Wrap and secure goods using pads, packing paper, containers, or straps.
  • Install or remove special equipment, such as tire chains, grader blades, plow blades, or sanders.
  • Operate idle reduction systems or auxiliary power systems to generate power from alternative sources, such as fuel cells, to reduce idling time, to heat or cool truck cabins, or to provide power for other equipment.
  • Perform emergency roadside repairs, such as changing tires or installing light bulbs, tire chains, or spark plugs.
  • Give directions to laborers who are packing goods and moving them onto trailers.
  • Drive electric or hybrid-electric powered trucks or alternative fuel-powered trucks to transport and deliver products, livestock, or other materials.
  • Operate trucks equipped with snowplows or sander attachments to maintain roads in winter weather.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

Skills

  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

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