Trucking: The Industry That’s Keeping America Moving During COVID-19

At a time of widespread shutdowns, truck drivers are the lifeline of our economy. They are the frontline of the pandemic, delivering essential medical supplies to hospitals and stocking the shelves of grocery stores who have fallen victim to panic buying. 


Described by the President as “the heroes of our nation’s great struggle against the coronavirus”, truck drivers leave their homes for days, or sometimes weeks on end, to deliver essential supplies that American families rely on during these unprecedented times. They connect every farm, hospital, business, and manufacturer as a nationwide community. 


Although not even the heroes of our nation are immune to difficulties caused by the virus, almost all truckers are trying to navigate a new wave of challenges on highways and at loading docks. Many truck-stops, restaurants and dining rooms have closed down or have switched to take-away only. They have done this to comply with the health orders that are in place to control the spread of coronavirus. 


The American Trucking Association (ATA) has submitted a letter to President Trump with the purpose to seek exemptions from certain restrictions for truckers who are delivering essential goods. The ATA also requested that rest stops remain open and that the government provide guidance on driver health, including the possibility for more COVID-19 testing amongst the trucking community.


Demand from retailers and manufacturers has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic and trucking capacity is beginning to run thin. According to online freight marketplace DAT Solutions, since February 29th, the average price to hire a truck has increased by 6.1% to $1.89 per mile including fuel.


Before the pandemic, the American Trucking Association estimated that there was an existing truck driver shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 drivers. Demand is even higher now, meaning that there has never been a better time to join the industry. 


How to become a truck driver

So how do you join the industry that’s keeping America moving? It’s as easy as 1,2,3!


Obtain a CDL 

 To obtain a Commercial Driving License (CDL) through your local DMV. To get started, you will need to meet the state/federal requirements and company qualifications.


Find a truck driving school.

Once you have met the requirements, you’ll need to find a truck driving school such as RTDS Trucking School in Las Vegas. RTDS will provide full CDL training which will prepare you for the CDL knowledge and skills tests.


Find a job 

Attending a reputable trucking school, like RTDS, is your key to new and exciting opportunities! 


Already thousands of truck drivers are reaping the benefits of their chosen career. As a trucker, you can decide if you want to travel local, long-distance or even drive across regions. It’s the perfect way to see most of the US while earning a competitive wage. But perhaps the most important benefit is the high level of job security during a time when so many people are losing their jobs and becoming unemployed. 


At a time when there is so much uncertainty in the world, there is one thing that will always remain certain in The United States: truck drivers are always in demand. You’re never too old to join the truck driving community and it’s so easy to get involved.


Contact RTDS Trucking School to make the first step towards your new career. Our goal is to provide students with the highest level of education that will enable them to become a professional truck driver. There are a variety of study options available, taught by industry experts with over 10 years’ experience.

Types of Truck Driving Licenses Explained

Sometimes differentiating the various driving licenses can become quite a task.

Here is a comprehensive guide explaining the differences in the truck licenses that you get from your state.

Types of CDL licensing

A CDL (commercial driver’s license) is a must-have if you want to operate semi-trucks, tractor-trailers and even buses.

Now, under the controlling Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, you can be awarded any of the following licenses depending on your goals and where applicable, the truck driving training you’ve undergone:

Class A CDL: A CDL A License is mandatory if you wish to operate any combination of vehicles with a GVWR (gross combination weight rating) of a minimum 26,001 lbs. going up, including towed vehicles exceeding a weight of 10,000 lbs.

Examples of vehicles you can drive with a CDL A License:

  1. Tanker vehicles.
  2. Truck-trailer combinations, double & triple trailers included.
  3. Livestock carriers.
  4. Tractor-trailers.
  5. Tractor-trailer buses.

Class B CDL: Class B commercial drivers’ licenses are given for those desiring to operate single vehicles/trucks with a gross combination GVWR greater than 26,001 lbs. in addition to vehicles towing another vehicle whose weight rating doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds. 

Examples of vehicles you may drive with a Class B License:

  1. Segmented buses.
  2. Dump trucks (with small trailers).
  3. Large buses (city buses, school buses, and tourist buses included).
  4. Box trucks (furniture delivery, delivery drivers, and couriers).
  5. Straight trucks.

Class C CDL: Class C CDLs mandate you to operate all vehicles designated to haul 16 + passengers (counting even the driver). You can additionally operate vehicles that transport hazardous materials (as per the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act).

Examples of vehicles you may drive with a Class C CDL License:

  1. Passenger vans.
  2. Small vehicles (carrying Hazardous material).
  3. Combination vehicles (but those specified in Class A and B).

CDL Endorsements:  CPL Endorsements help you operate extra vehicles not originally included in your CDL license. For example, if you hold aClass B Licenseand have an opportunity to work in a firm dealing with transportation of toxic waste, you’ll need to add a HazMat (hazardous material) endorsement to your Class B License. There are other such endorsements relevant to each category of CMVs.

Requirements to get  a CDL
There are slight variations in the requirements among the different states. However, in general, the following conditions apply:

  • Age: at least 18 (and minimum of 21 years for intrastate driving).
  • Residence: You must have lived in the state for a specified time(not all states need this).
  • Medical requirements: Some states ask that you submit a medical examination certificate.

As I mentioned, there could be more in your state. For instance, in Nevada (for those in Las Vegas), you have to be at least 25 years old to be endorsed for vehicle combinations beyond 70 feet (length).

Check your state’s specific requirements before starting.

CDL Training

You can go the DIY (do it yourself) way, by studying the book and take the requisite tests on your own.

However, working with a commercial trucking school makes the whole process of satisfying the CDL requirements easier.

In most state, passing majority of the tests needs you to be perfect in general motor knowledge as well as understand combination vehicles convincingly.

And while you can get some useful guidelines in the CDL handbook/manual online or in your booked testing sites, a truck driving school will hold your hand making everything easier.

You must hold the applicable class of CDL to be allowed to operate trucks across the country.

And as we have seen, the requirements can be a bit confusing so attending a CDL training can be worthy of your time.