Heavy Truck Driver  What They Do

Just the Facts


Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers Career Video



Drives a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). May be required to unload truck. Requires commercial drivers' license.

This career is part of the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics cluster Transportation Operations pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Checks vehicles to ensure that mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment is in good working order.
  • Follows appropriate safety procedures for transporting dangerous goods.
  • Inspects loads to ensure that cargo is secure.
  • Maintains logs of working hours or of vehicle service or repair status, following applicable state and federal regulations.
  • Secures cargo for transport, using ropes, blocks, chain, binders, or covers.
  • Maneuvers trucks into loading or unloading positions, following signals from loading crew and checking that vehicle and loading equipment are properly positioned.
  • Reports vehicle defects, accidents, traffic violations, or damage to the vehicles.
  • Obtains receipts or signatures for delivered goods and collects payment for services when required.
  • Drives trucks with capacities greater than 3 tons, including tractor-trailer combinations, to transport and deliver products, livestock, or other materials.
  • Checks all load-related documentation for completeness and accuracy.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing objects clearly in glaring conditions or bright lighting
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Seeing clearly in low light conditions
  • Seeing objects or movement to one's side when looking forward
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

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