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Overview of Light Truck or Delivery Drivers

Senior Airman Shannon Koutsovalas, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing mail clerk, transports a truck-load of packages and mail back to Camp Losano for storage here July 31, 2012. (Photo: Master Sgt. Russell Martin)
Senior Airman Shannon Koutsovalas, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing mail clerk, transports a truck-load of packages and mail back to Camp Losano for storage here July 31, 2012. (Photo: Master Sgt. Russell Martin)

May also be called: Route Drivers; Local Truck Drivers; Pick Up Truck Drivers; and City Route Drivers.

What Would I Do?

Light or Delivery Service Truck Drivers operate trucks that carry fewer than three tons and their truck weighs less than 26,000 pounds. They normally move products and materials to and from local areas, such as factories, warehouses, train stations, airports, private homes, office buildings, and stores. Drivers usually load or unload the merchandise at the customer's place of business. They may have helpers load the truck according to the order of delivery. At the beginning of their shift, Drivers obtain a delivery schedule from the dispatcher. Upon arrival at the customer's place of business, the Driver unloads the shipment and the customer signs a receipt for the goods. Sometimes payment is made directly to the Driver. At the end of their shift, the Driver turns in receipts, money received, records of delivery, and reports of any mechanical problems.

Truck Drivers must obey traffic laws and follow established traffic and transportation procedures. Some of the tools used by Drivers may include: forklifts, global positioning system (GPS) devices, jacks, personal computers, electronic clipboards, scanners, and two-way radios. Some of the technology used in this occupation may include the following software: database user interface and query, industrial control, inventory management, and route navigation.

Task Skill Used in This Task
Inspect and maintain vehicle supplies and equipment, such as gas, oil, water, tires, lights, and brakes in order to ensure that vehicles are in proper working condition. Equipment Maintenance
Verify the contents of inventory loads against shipping papers. Reading Comprehension
Report delays, accidents, or other traffic and transportation situations to bases or other vehicles, using telephones or mobile two-way radios. Speaking
Load and unload trucks, vans, or automobiles. Static Strength
Read maps, and follow written and verbal geographic directions. Spatial Orientation
Perform emergency repairs such as changing tires or installing light bulbs, fuses, tire chains, and spark plugs. Manual Dexterity

 

Working Conditions

Light or Delivery Service Truck Drivers usually drive for several hours at a stretch. They load and unload cargo and make deliveries, all of which can be tiring. They also have to drive in difficult conditions such as bad weather, heavy traffic, and sometimes on mountain roads. Many Truck Drivers load and unload their own trucks. This requires a considerable amount of lifting, carrying, and walking each day.

Light Truck Drivers frequently work 50 or more hours a week and usually return home in the evening. Drivers who handle food for chain grocery stores, produce markets, or bakeries typically work long hours, starting at night or early in the morning. Most Drivers have regular routes, although some have different routes each day.

Some Light or Delivery Service Truck Drivers belong to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In addition, Drivers employed by companies outside the trucking industry may be represented by other unions.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Light or Delivery Service Truck Driver will appeal to those who like to work independently and outdoors, provide service to others, work with details, and perform physical activities. This occupation satisfies those with realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

Benefits

Generally, Truck Drivers are provided with medical, dental, and life insurance, disability, and retirement plans. Union Drivers may receive benefits, but these are negotiated by their union representatives.

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and other Requirements

Employers generally look for candidates who are at least 18 years old, possess a high school diploma, have a valid driver license, and a good driving record. Federal regulations require employers to test Drivers for alcohol and drugs as a condition of employment and conduct random tests while workers are on duty. Many firms require that Drivers be at least 21 years of age or older and have completed a program at an accredited truck driving school. Drivers are expected to have good hearing and eyesight, be able to lift heavy objects, and have three to five years of truck driving experience.

In addition, Drivers who transport hazardous materials must obtain a commercial driver license and successfully complete a criminal background check and fingerprint clearance to receive the hazardous materials endorsement. Drivers must also be able to read and speak English well enough to read road signs, prepare company reports, and communicate with the public and law enforcement officers.

New Drivers receive on-the-job training that may consist of a few hours of instruction from an experienced Driver. They also ride with and observe experienced Drivers before going out on their own assignments. Some companies offer one-to-two days of classroom instruction covering the operation and loading of a truck, company policies, and the preparation of delivery forms and company records.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses in driver's training, automotive mechanics, accounting, general business, business mathematics, and computer technology are helpful. Accounting and business classes are particularly helpful for those who plan to enter self-employment.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads also provide a helpful resource for local job openings, as well as online applications.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources.

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Light Truck Drivers.

  • Brokers, Motor Transportation
  • Delivery Service
  • Florists
  • Trucking
  • Trucking, Motor Freight

Where Could This Job Lead?

Advancement opportunities for Light Truck Drivers are a bit limited. Light Truck Drivers may become trainers; supervisors of warehouses, terminals, or docks; or company branch managers. Drivers often need to change employers for higher pay, better benefits, or improved working conditions.

Local or Light Truck Drivers who wish to advance in their career can choose from a wide variety of heavy truck driving training programs available through vocational and truck driving schools. Also, working for companies that employ long-distance Drivers is the best way to promote to these positions.

Related Topics

Transportation Jobs Ground Transportation

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