What is OTR DRIVING?otrdriving
Student CDL Driver Resource Guide to OTR Driving:
Job Outlook for OTR Truck Drivers
For those of you that are new to the transportation industry or wondering if the life of a truck driver is something you want to explore it might be beneficial for you to know what OTR (Over-The-Road) driving is. OTR driving can be loosely defined as driving in any sort of capacity that requires the operator to sleep in a state that is other than the state in which they reside. Typically, OTR Drivers will be away from home for multiple weeks at a time. OTR drivers transport goods from one location to another by operating heavy equipment with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 lbs or more. Typically, to be considered OTR the driver must sleep within the tractor’s equipped sleeper berth.
Current Pay & home time expectations for OTR Drivers:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for heavy all drivers across all sectors in 2014 was $39,520 [i] The trucking industry as a whole has the challenge of figuring out ways to attract new talent to the trucking industry due to the growing driver shortage. Veteran drivers are on their way out of the industry and the new group of truck drivers needs brought in and trained up to take their place. One of the problems that is facing the industry is that on average, pay is too low for the amount of sacrifice that drivers must make to perform the duties of the job. Generally, Over-The-Road drivers will be out for multiple weeks at a time before getting back home. After learning about the nature of the transportation industry and what is expected from them, many potential drivers may start rethinking whether or not they are willing to sacrifice this much for a future career as a CDL Driver. The good news is that the industry has slowly reached a tipping point. The current driver shortage has forced trucking companies to create OTR driving jobs that pays more and has an increased focus of providing more home time. As a result, current CDL holders who are looking for a career in driving OTR (Over-The-Road) have many different opportunities available to them.
How are OTR drivers paid?
Normally, OTR Drivers are paid by the mile for the freight that that they haul, but some drivers can be paid by the load, by the day, by the hour, or even given a salary. The most common form of compensation is paid out by the mile. It sounds simple, but there are many qualifiers that some companies put into place that may limit the amount of money that the driver can earn. When searching for top paying driving jobs it is critical that the prospective driver asks the right questions to determine how they are to be paid since there are multiple variations in how trucking companies pay out by the mile. Some variations include, practical mileage pay, hub mile pay, and shortest route pay. On top of these different scenarios, the driver needs to determine are they paid for empty and loaded miles both. Some companies pay the same regardless on if the driver is empty or loaded while other companies may pay nothing for empty miles. Again, when researching future companies the drivers needs to ask these questions to find out. Another type of pay is called sliding scale pay where the trucking company will pay different rates of pay depending on the length of haul for the load that they are on.
For more details about the different types of pay and how they are calculated please visit our FAQ page.
What is the top pay for OTR drivers?
The problem with trying to figure out what the top pay is for truck drivers is that there are so many different variables that determine what a OTR driver can make. For example: Is the driver a company driver, lease purchase driver, or owner operator. Are the miles consistent every week? Are they running dedicated freight that sets the driver up with regularly schedule pick-ups and deliveries? Is the driver getting stop pay, layover pay, detention pay, unloading pay? The list is endless. The best advice that we can give is the make sure you do research, take notes, getting an offer letter sent to you explain the compensation in details. It is not uncommon for drivers to make $1,600 plus per week. For a driver that may only be bring home $400 – $800 this may sound way off, but the competitive nature of the truck driving recruiting market has been empowering drivers to demand higher wages. In our opinion, if you are a safe driver and you are not making at least $1,200 per week you are probably driving for the wrong company.
How competitive is the job market for OTR drivers?
It should be no secret by now, but trucking companies need more drivers and they are willing to go to great efforts to make sure that you know about it. Just look at all of the companies within our truck driving jobs section that is looking for drivers just like you. Stop in at a truck and drivers are exposed to dozens of trucking job magazines that are offered for free. Do a search on google and notice all of the advertising that you will see within your web browser. The point is that companies are competing for your attention. They need your services and a lot of them are now offering big bonuses and incentive programs all with the goal of getting the driver to sign up for orientation. The problem is that all of this competition makes it too noisy. It becomes overwhelming for the driver to read between the lines and find the best driving job that offers the best pay with the best home time to fit their needs.
OTRDRIVING.COM was created to help drivers with this process. We want to give back to the drivers that have sacrificed so much to make our country function that way that it does. We will never forget – if the consumer bought it, a truck driver brought it. Our mission statement is to help OTR Drivers by providing them with information on the best truck driving jobs and the best OTR Driving Jobs in the industry today. When trucking companies compete for your services the driver wins.
[i] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm (visited February 01, 2016).