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Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages within a small region or urban area. They drive trucks with a capacity of 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or less. Most of the time, they transport merchandise from a distribution center to businesses and households. Show Details

Duties

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically do the following:

  • Load and unload their cargo
  • Report any incidents they encounter on the road to a dispatcher
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their truck and associated equipment clean and in good working order
  • May accept payments for the shipment
  • Handle paperwork, such as receipts or delivery confirmation notices

Most drivers plan their routes. Some have a regular daily or weekly schedule. Others have different routes each day.

These drivers generally receive instructions to go to a delivery location at a particular time, and it is up to them to find a way there. They must have a thorough understanding of an area’s street grid and know which roads allow trucks and which do not.

Light truck drivers, often called pick-up and deliver or P&D drivers, are the most common type of delivery driver. They drive small trucks or vans from distribution centers to delivery locations. Drivers make deliveries based on a set schedule. Some drivers stop only at the distribution center once, in the morning, and make many stops throughout the day. Others make multiple trips between the distribution center and delivery locations.

Driver/sales workers are delivery drivers with added sales responsibility. They recommend new products to businesses and solicit new customers. For example, they may make regular deliveries to a hardware store and encourage the store’s manager to offer a new type of product. Driver/sales workers also deliver goods, such as take-out food to consumers, and accept payment for those goods.

Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a capacity of at least 26,001 pounds per gross vehicle weight (GVW). They deliver goods over intercity routes, sometimes spanning several states. Show Details

Duties

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers typically do the following:

  • Load and unload cargo
  • Drive long distances
  • Report to a dispatcher any incidents encountered on the road
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws
  • Inspect their trailer before and after the trip, and record any defects they find
  • Keep a log of their activities
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their truck, and associated equipment, clean and in good working order

Most heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers plan their own routes. They may use satellite tracking to help them plan.

Before leaving, a driver usually is told a delivery location and time; but it is up to the driver to find a way to get the cargo there.

A driver has to know which roads allow trucks and which do not. Drivers also must plan legally required rest periods into their trip. Some have one or two routes that they drive regularly and others drivers take many different routes throughout the country. Some also drive to Mexico or Canada.

Companies sometimes use two drivers on long runs to minimize downtime. On these "sleeper" runs, one driver sleeps in a berth behind the cab while the other drives.

Some heavy truck drivers transport hazardous materials, such as chemical waste, and so have to take special precautions when driving. Also, these drivers normally carry specialized safety equipment in case of an accident. Other specialized drivers, such as those carrying liquids, oversized loads, or cars, have to follow rules that apply specifically to them.

Some long-haul truck drivers, called owner-operators, buy or lease trucks and go into business for themselves. They then have business tasks, including finding and keeping clients and doing business work such as accounting, in addition to their driving tasks.

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