Over & Out: Reasons Drivers leave the Trucking Industry

Over & Out: Reasons Drivers leave the Trucking Industry
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If you’re involved in the trucking industry, have a family member in the trucking industry, or even picked up a news paper in the last few years, you probably know that the trucking industry has been facing some pretty severe shortages. Some say the shortage is due to the amount of “qualified drivers” (i.e. drivers with a lot of experience), but others believe this shortage is caused partly by drivers wanting to leave the industry.

They say trucking runs in the blood of drivers, but sometimes these drivers are pushed so far over the edge that they want to remove themselves from the industry entirely. So, what’s enough to make a truck driver call it quits? Here are four of the most common reasons drivers leave the trucking industry:

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Drivers leave because they feel their pay doesn’t compensate for everything they’re doing.

Although the average salary for drivers has been rising coinciding with the shortage, many driver’s still feel that their pay isn’t enough for the long hours and weeks away from home. Not to mention issues like detention time; if a driver waits a few hours for his or her truck to be loaded or unloaded, and never receives the detention pay the company offers, a lot of the money a driver expects can become unaccounted for. A driver values their time and efforts, and when their company doesn’t, they become more inclined to leave.

Drivers leave because of rule violations.

Many drivers claim that their companies have tried to persuade, or even force, them to break federal driving rules. Aside from simply breaking the law, most of the rules that drivers are pushed to ignore put their own safety, and the safety of those around them, at risk – and safety is not something that most truck drivers are willing to shove to the back burner. This means that asking a driver to break the rules, might be persuading them to leave.

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Drivers leave because of disputes over equipment and maintenance.

Few would argue with the fact that a driver’s truck is their home away from home, and they want it to be taken care of properly. Often drivers are promised regular maintenance that they do not receive, and when they do get serviced, it’s often last minute, forcing drivers to sit around and wait for their trucks, rather than spending those few hours enjoying some personal time. Another equipment issue is a company’s lack of updating and advancing to new stuff. Overall, equipment isn’t typically a leading factor in why drivers choose to leave, but being mindful with equipment and maintenance will definitely help keep them happy and hardworking.

Finally, drivers leave because they are unsatisfied with the amount of time they are spending at home.

Some drivers are on the road for days, or even weeks, at a time, and during this time, many feel they are missing out on valuable time with their families. Even worse, many of these drivers receive the promise of being home every night or every weekend, and when the company they’re working for falls through on this promise, drivers tend to want to leave and pursue other opportunities. Another big issue within the amount of home time isn’t simply that a driver wants more time at home, it’s that even when they’re at home, they can never make plans because it becomes completely unpredictable.

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One thing that all of these issues have in common is that they stem from unfulfilled promises and false expectations, and each of these problems can be limited by proper communication between driver and company. So, what’s the moral of this story? Qualified truck drivers are hard to come by, so companies shouldn’t take advantage of the ones they’re lucky enough to have working for them. Appreciate and respect the needs of the driver, and both driver and company will be happy.

Author: Hit The Road Jack

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49 Comments

  1. Big companies think that they rule the market so dey don’t think about driver only for they freight. .i am 10 year driver over 1 mil miles. No record …

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    • Grossly underpaid.Grossly overworked. I signed away almost all my rights as a US citizen when I got Commercial DRIVER s license. Today truck driving SUCKS. Only reason I am still doing it is I cannot get anyone to hire me for anything else. 39 years. 3 million miles plus. Impeccable record.

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    • I’m interested in being a truck driver which trucking school would you recommend

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      • None. The industry is not worth the time and effort you put in.. Schools teach nothing about the trucker way of life. There aren’t enough good company’s to Chose from. As a small fleet owner the experienced driver pool has diminished to near zero. There not enough profit to hire drivers from schools due to the higher insurance costs and the lack of knowledge .of the industry. It’s actually cheaper to sell off unused equipment, Than add a driver from today’s driver pool. I wouldn’t even consider a driver with 10 years experience since they have no skills and came from the new breed of unqualified drivers. Until schools start teaching the real concept of what it’s like to be a professional driver the driver pool will only deminish into a total unskilled , unsafe labor force. After 40 years as a owner operator and small fleet owner, the same problems in the industry still exist. Not a single issue has been addressed to make this a safe and productive industry. The trucking industry has been sold out to in the name of big corporations. Just like every industry in America.

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        • I am new to the truck driving world, piror Marine Corp. But I think u should do your research on what school the person actually graduated from and how they teach new ppl coming into it before you start saying they don’t know anything about nothing and wouldn’t hire them. I know the school I’m attending right now teaches tons of great info and I actually related it back to my time in service how they push u to do better and don’t give u any slack. Food for thought maybe you should try that out and maybe u wouldn’t be selling off your fleet but instead replacing them for more drivers so u as a owner could make more money.

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        • The drivers sold out since deregulation. Working like dogs, being gone and not being paid for the hours you actually work is the perfect formula for driver exploitation. I have driven and respect everyone that does. Every time you crank that engine up to do your job, you are risking your life. Drivers DID NOT SELL OUT. They were sold on the lure of the road and big pay checks. Didn’t work out too well did it? 120+hours per week for $1200 is not an hourly rate worthy of your risk and effort..

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      • Go to a trucking school sponsored by a trucking company. They will give you a job after you complete the training. This way your not out of alot of money to learn. Most require you to stay with them for 1 year to cover the cost of the school. After that you will have experience and can get a job that will suit your needs. Ie.. home time, pay, benefits, etc..Go by a truck stop and pick up a recruiting magazine. There will be several listed.

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      • Don’t do it! It’s not worth it. You wouldn’t be hearing all this negativity about the industry if things were rosy for us truckers. It only works for consumers, some companies, but sadly not for the drivers.

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      • Become a plumber or electrician. Better future with any skilled occupation

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    • Good try folks. I’ve read many of the comments and I had a career in truck transportation. I was not only in upper management but I have driven a million plus miles over the road. So I feel qualified for the following comment. The over the road carriers are in the trucking business which is primarily buying, maintaining and assigning TRUCKS. I was in the truck TRANSPORTATION business which is almost extinct today. Drivers (the heart beat) of the industry slept in company paid motels and were paid for every minute of on duty time. The carriers today view you as a part of their truck. It’s ironic that they care more for their trucks than drivers. If you run 7 day logs, there are 98 hours that you are responsible for that truck. If you drive 77 hours and earn $1400 calculate your hourly pay. But, your employer expects you to care for his equipment so figure $1400 by 98 hours. Even if you are off duty you are still required to assure that the equipment is secured and safe even when off duty. Now divide the hours in a week (168) into your $1400 pay. Then subtract your daily meal costs ($200) is on the low side. And you only made $1200 for the week. Play with these numbers to see what you are really making per hour. Compare that to a 40 hour factory job . Interesting isn’t it. I didn’t do the arithmetic but your effective hourly rate is probably South of $10.00. but in my opinion, dispatchers are responsible for most of your trouble. I think they “jump at shadows” by hurting you along only to arrive at destination or pickup got you to wait, wait, wait. So you log off duty to meet your logging requirements and by the time you are ready to go and look him on duty, you are toast. A $600 job at home with maybe a likeable part time job and being home would net you more spendable income. With GPS and cell phones, it’s possible to have more home time. Think how many times you pass a company truck that is going where you just left and you are going where they just left. ?? DUH!. But make no mistake, I have the highest regard for drivers. By the way, your predicament as a driver began with deregulation in 1980. So, the vast numbers of drivers today have no experience with reasonableness from a drivers stand point.

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    • 30 year veteran here ,lotta changes ,was or in 90’s been ltl for 25 years .,its a living ,the hours are long ,but with ltl ,your paid for every minute, almost impossible to find a 9 to 5 monday -f. All 10 to 12 hours a day ,

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    • If you hate yourself and are antisocial trucking is great for you. Home tome sucks, pay sucks and respect is nonexistent or just plain fake.

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    • As every REAL driver knows, it is not a shortage, YET! It is an exodus of driver leaving to job field! And yes, in time, that could cause the shortage “experts” say we have at present.
      As a OTR driver since 1974, the changes I have seen and experienced have been dramatic. Sadly, mostly not for the betterment of trucking or the benefit of drivers.
      Personally, I have no problem with pay. As an OO for many years, I had choices to make on freight and lanes to run. Since i am slowing down some, i drive for a small company. A GREAT COMPANY!! Mileage pay, decent miles, older trucks on great shape and will run! Being treat right and valuing a srivers experience with rewards if good equipment and excellent pay will keep good drivers around. You may have noticed, find good drivers is difficult, because they ARE being treated well. The companies need to learn to do it “right”. Remember, bigger is not always better, especially in trucking companies. ATA I a big reason for a lot of the BS in trucking. You guys should stay away from them. The are useless, unless you are a big company. Never have supported drivers. Check out companies very carefully and thoroughly.
      Do your homework, keep your record clean and apply where the best match is, for you!
      Y’all have a great day!!
      “Cutter”

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  2. There is one other factor that has not been addressed in this story. Please do not take this the wrong way, but we as an industry have been over regulation. A lot of quailifed drivers, myself included feel this way. EOBR’s, HOS changes etc. then there is the issue of all the differing regulation within the states them selves. All of these items have an effect. As an owner operator or a company driver, makes all this difficult to keep up with and will cause a person to say “it’s just not worth it”. When folks wonder why there is no food in the store or they can’t find toilet paper, maybe, just maybe, we will get the respect we deserve, that said, I have my doubts. I too will soon be out of the industry. #feedup.

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    • Rules an laws were said in the same sentence so people but laws are not rules and rules are not laws. Dumbasses

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      • Rules are laws in this Industry. So your the DUMBASS

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  3. What the industry needs is state to state dispatch. This would keep the driver in his own home state and in turn give the driver the option to work more or Spend more time with their families.

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    • The industry is full of regulations that drive away the drivers the turnover rate is out of control no compensation for extra work or sitting over the weekend with no load rules that prevent you from getting your natural sleep the deception and cutthroat of the business bad companies dispatchers safety brokers law makers the alliance ECT. Bad training shippers receivers recruiters that lie.

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    • Really?……uhhh and how many drop and hooks do YOU want in a 350 mile radius from your home?
      Let’s be practical….drivers should be on $15-20 dollars per hour!
      ALL of my work isn’t driving.
      Gas up, pretrip, unstrap, strap up, slide tandems, go through weigh scale at shipper…..should I go on and on???
      We need an hourly wage, not 2 clocks.
      We’re already a slave on board our trucks!!

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      • I’m.out 7 days a week for 4 to 6 weeks at a time….gor an average of 700 to MAYBE 850 a week bring home? I love being a truck driver….been one for many years ..but ts not really worth it anymore… 🙁

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      • Ann, $15-20 an hour, lol. We were making over $20 an hour in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I got into trucking in 1976 and retired in 2008, over 4 million miles and I would never tell someone to get into trucking unless it was with a private fleet or a union company. For most of these common carriers you’d be better off working at McDonald’s.

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  4. I’ve been out of trucking for about twenty years. Still have my CDL, but I wonder about all these changes. Who do these rules favor?

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    • I took a 15 year break and just came back to trucking recently. The biggest change is in the logging. Once the 14 hour clock starts, you don’t really have chance to take a break. I used to eat a good meal and shower most days. Now it seems every one drives the same hours and tries to park the same hours.

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  5. Where do drivers get other jobs that pay decently?

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    • LTL if you want to stay local old dominion is a great company

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      • Good luck getting on with OD. I must be the lucky one. I drove from 1987 to’92. When cdl became mandatory I got out. Now I’m back with CRST. Never really enjoyed driving; too boring. But, I run Youngstown to San Bernardino and back weekly. .48cpm and home Saturday morning to Monday nite. Have a codriver but they sleep when I drive and visa-versa. So no real issues there. Biggest problems I have with driving is clueless dispatcher’s but I ignore them and my health. Sitting behind a wheel for 10-11 hours a day is not good. Getting fat and I may have to start taking meds for high BP. So I’m looking to get out because of that

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  6. I have known a lot of people in trucking industry. Main reason why there so many accident due to company are riding there driver by working longer hours and dispatcher tell the driver to play with log book. if the driver don’t do it then dispatcher basically starve the driver by giving them cheapest and dirty run that doesn’t pay. there no win or lose situation here. all truck should get rid of log book and have equipment in the truck that monitor everything

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    • There shouldn’t be anything but paper logs. We don’t need elogs, but that’s not the issue I hav with the industry tho. Anyone who says we need blogs is obviously not a driver and should mind they’re own business and just stick to driving they’re 4wheeled vehicles. My issue with the industry is all the new breed “drivers” that are on the road not knowing what they’re doin, driving with little to no experience and all of the inconsiderate asshole drivers that don’t care about any other driver but themselves. Which has in return been caused by all the new breed “drivers”. The issue isn’t with the company u drive for or the elog mandate. It’s with the drivers themselves. Truck drivers used to be a brotherhood now it’s the exact opposite. With all the foreigners and new breed “drivers” on the road there is no brotherhood anymore. It’s sad to see what this industry has become and it’s sad that no one in this industry takes pride in they’re job anymore. If u think the problem is the company u drive for then u haven’t found the right company. Those of u who don’t drive a truck need to quit voicing ur opinion about truckin until u start respecting us on the road and everywhere else!!!!!!

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      • Add to the horrible manipulating dispatchers that will send a driver straight to the poor house.

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      • Ethan. Right there you’ve already formed an opinion about foreigners and new drivers. How do you expect brotherhood to thrive if you discriminate some brothers.

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  7. Some of the things they say is true I’ve been a truck driver for I don’t know how many years I’m very well qualified yet the company’s swear up and down that you have plenty enough time to get there within your 11 hours driving time and that’s not the case lot of times you barely have enough time to get there ,long wait then you have to worry about them actually taking you and not charging you for being late, or they tell you you have to get a new appointment so that means you have to wait to deliver your load or to be loaded so there’s more time lost and the company dispatcher gets frustated, and it gets thrown back at you saying that you are the one at fault then there’s the times when you actually do have enough time to get to your deliveries get your 10-hour Sleeper Berth in make sure your legal to drive through your e log then you get there to deliver your load and you have to wait and wait and wait you do not get any detention time for waiting to be unloaded or the loaded they say they will give it to you but you never get it I sat one day for over 8 hours waiting to be unloaded I never received any detention time the place unloaded me refuse to pay detention time so gets pretty frustrating luckily which save me to be able to drive to the next place I wasn’t moving so might as well be in The Sleeper Berth I just had to sit there and their parking lot and wait this makes it really hard on the truck drivers cuz the company they say they’re on the phone trying to get you out of there that’s not true once you’re off the phone you’re out of their head all they want is their money from the low that you delivered or picked up it’s definitely hard there is never never enough home time and there are too many for runners causing you to be late too many on ramps not enough off-ramps they’re always cutting you off flipping you off and then if you cannot get over they become infatuated with road rage they finally get out there they catch up with you they flip you off they cut right in front of you to where you just about hit them and then they slam on their brakes you cannot stop at 53-foot trailer and an 18-foot tractor on a dime but these assholes think you can so it’s getting to be really hard out there they want you to have your deliveries done at the time that they give you here you have to deliver at this time no you have to be here at this time sometimes you cannot new road construction on accident or something that causes you to stop and wait wait wait wait sometimes there’s one lane and yet you try to find a way around it and there isn’t one so you just deal with the fact that you’re stuck there until moves then there’s another issue with the equipment you may have a nice looking truck on the outside everything looks halfway decent you need the power to climb a hill like West Virginia Virginia there’s a few Hills at if you’re loaded your shift and all the way down down down down and it takes you a half hour just to get up the goddamn hell so there’s a few other places so it’s pretty hard if your equipment is an up to the challenge no power then you’re stuck at the bottom of the hill why everybody else flies by you so there’s quite a few things that need to change need to get better and that’s why I truckers are leaving not enough home time too many forced dispatches equipment not up to 100% standards with lots of power to move that big load and the constant promise that never seems to come through that’s why I believe that will be more and more truck drivers leaving the industry there’s just too many people out there that want to make it harder for you change is needed for the better and I hope it comes soon this is just my opinion maybe you agree maybe you disagree everyone is entitled to whatever opinion they may have. I love being a truck driver until I had to quit I still love the drive and I miss it but change is needed from the companies who hire you to the warehouse is that load and unload you there should be absolutely one designated or to designated Lanes just for truck drivers which should have no cars or anybody in it just tractor trailers only and then maybe we’ll actually get there…………..

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  8. Don’t forget: HOS limits and customers detaining drivers, causing them to lose driving hours, truck stops and rest areas filling up earlier, states ticketing drivers who park on on/offramps and shoulders, Walmarts refusing to let drivers park there, crazy drivers sharing the road, shall I go on?

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    • As far as Walmarts and exit ramps blame your fellow drivers for that. They trash the places and expect others to clean it up. That’s why most Walmart’s stopped letting trucks park there.

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  9. The main reasons most driver’s in the US quit, long before they “retire” are plenty. However, you mentioned “company policies”, “DOT regulation violations”, home time and pay. What you have not mentioned… No voice in Government oversight, no way to go to court over CVSA or DOT points violations “Habeas corpus”. No regulations on brokers or shippers/receiver’s for detention time. We spend 11 to 14 hours plus a day trying to make as much money as possible. Yet we are not compensated for delays at loading and unloading. Plenty of laws affect us on the road, but NONE protect us. The ATA has essentially BOUGHT the DOT. The large corporations OWN the government. They write laws to protect THEIR interests. If you try to stand up to them, you will be crushed or ran out.

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  10. 30 + years I can tell you this. It’s all about the pay. If you want me to be away from home indefinitely, want me to wait forever somewhere, want me to run with no AC, want me to put up with ever increasing traffic delays. Plus put up with the side benefits of cops lined up like vultures to take your money over made up BS and have to have eyes in the back of your head to avoid being a crime victim THEN PAY ME FOR IT!!!! this job is worth 6 figures on any level. Theres no reason why I shouldn’t make more money than a double shift at a fast food joint.

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    • Cents per mile is not cutting it when there is so much a driver has to go through out here

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  11. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 We can complain all we want but they got a list of truck drivers from other countries are dying to come over here to drive we are expendable

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  12. I am at this point and I’m 1 month away from my 1 year anniversary.

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    • Awesome! Congratulations 🙂

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  13. I’ve been driving a rig in the aggregate industry hauling Portland cement allover California, Arizona and Nevada for 24 years. The reason I’m leaving is for a few reasons. The driving industry has turned into an unprofessional industry of greenhorns with absolutely no courtesy whatsoever. Driving 45 mph in the 3rd lane, cutting drivers off, driving with their high beams etc. The pay is not what it used to be. I’m making less money now that I was 10 years ago. Last but not least, I’m all broken up and my back can’t take it anymore and I’m only 49. 4 herniated discs, two vertebrae with multiple compressions fractures, a degenerated disc and sciatica on both sides makes it nearly impossible to get the job done like I used to. Trucking takes a lot from a person like your family and health. I’m at the end of my trucking career.

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  14. Years ago a driver could do three West Coast turn and pull in 10 to 15 K (owner operator) and take the rest of the month off. Seem’s if the trucking “system” stops ripping off the valuable driver’s, the could pay them more and give the driver’s a 20-21 day month. Of course the system is not going to give up some of the high profit margins some Chinese fetch, and it will not stop brokers from taking loads they cannot cover and passing the load down the line, while taking a little off the cost per mile for their effort.

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  15. How about a fair wage, and a safe place to sleep, is that so fucking difficult.

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  16. If every truck driver totally log legal for 60 days, shippers would pay anything to get their goods under way. Think about it!!

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  17. I make .72 cpm, mostly drop and hook. $27 per her if I docks, fueling, broke down. But new trucks so that does not happen much. Team runs with my wife. Problem on call 7 days a week. Every week tell Vacation none this year. One week next year. Not sure I can keep up with it. Have to call in at 9 12 and 9. No time to go out, See friends, make friends. But I left 7 years ago. Get hugs now I’m back. Did not know anyone liked me back then.

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  18. Being black balled by the company you work for set up for failure,lied on dislike career damaged.

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  19. These new drivers leave because they are nothing but lazy crying babies. I started driving in78. Something I wanted to do since a small boy. These kids need to realize that driving truck is not a 9-5 job and then home to be with your family. If you can’t handle being a truck driver and all that goes with the job, do not even apply to be one.. I believe it is a job that must be in your blood. You can’t just say hey I am going to drive truck and become one because it does not work.. I have so much more to say but hopefully people will understand what I have said so far.. Go to truckstop and talk to a driver with 10 or 20yrs of driving and am quite sure they will give u a rundown of what it is like..

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  20. I been out here 20 plus years.all the goid companies are gone! Its all about dollars not saftey! Or the drivers saftey,life,means of income,or there family. Nov 16th im done.!5.5 million safe miles no tickets or accedents …105 passed level 1. Inspections And still the companies treat u like nothing. I also will be turning in my CDLs just so im not stupid enough to go back driving

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    • Aw man, what do you plan to do after this? Good luck to you!

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