The Life of a Truck Driver

The Life of a Truck Driver: Earnings, Hours, Time Off, and Perks Compared to a 9-5

Dreaming of the open road and the freedom of a truck driver’s life? Before you hit the gas, let’s take a realistic look at the industry’s nitty-gritty: earnings, hours, time off, and how it compares to a traditional 9-to-5 job.

Table Of Contents: 

  • An Earnings Comparison – Trucking vs a 9-5
  • Hours For A Truck Driver
  • Benefits of Being a Truck Driver & Time Off
  • Traditional 9-to-5 vs. Truck Driving Table
  • Decisions, Decisions, Truck-U & a Traditional 9-5
  • Contacting Truck-U 
  • Sources
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

An Earnings Comparison – Trucking vs a 9-5:

  • Median Annual Salary: $58,260 in 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Range: Salaries can vary widely depending on experience, employer, specialization (long-haul vs. short-haul), and region. Experienced long-haul drivers can earn six figures, while entry-level or short-haul drivers may make closer to the median.
  • Pay Structure: Some drivers are paid by the mile, while others receive hourly wages or a combination of both.
  • Overall, the median pay for truck drivers in 2023 is $92,102, which includes owner-operators, who average $323,696 per year and company drivers who average $59,925 per year. Both types of truckers – owner-operators and company drivers – earn above the national median salary across all industries ($59,428).

Let’s break down the median pay across truck drivers a bit further:

  • Per year: $92,102
  • Per month: $6,521
  • Per week: $1,685
  • Per day: $349
  • Per hour: $30.62

Hours For A Truck Driver:

  • Average Workweek: 47 hours, according to the BLS.
  • Long-Haul Drivers: Can work up to 70 hours per week, with extended periods on the road away from home.
  • Short-Haul Drivers: May have more regular schedules with shorter shifts and much more time at home.
  • Choose When You Work: Owner/operators can work whenever they want throughout the year and book loads, travel as they see fit. 
  • Company Drivers: Company drivers often negotiate time at home, one month on/off and create a custom schedule based on experience & seniority. 

Benefits of Being a Truck Driver & Time Off

  • Vacation: Salaried truck drivers typically accrue vacation time like other employees, but taking long breaks can be challenging due to scheduling constraints and delivery demands.
  • Personal Leave: Similar to any job, truck drivers can take personal leave for illness, family emergencies, etc.
  • Rest Breaks: Federal regulations mandate 30-minute rest breaks after 8 hours of driving and 10-hour breaks after 14 hours on duty (including driving and non-driving work).
  • Freedom and Independence: Enjoy the open road, set your own pace (within regulations), and be your own boss (to a certain extent).
  • Job Security: The trucking industry is vital to the economy, making it relatively stable with high demand for qualified drivers.
  • Good Pay Potential: Experienced drivers can earn competitive salaries, especially with specialized skills or long-haul routes.
  • Benefits: Many trucking companies offer benefits packages, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.
  • Travel and Adventure: Explore different parts of the country and experience diverse landscapes while on the job.

Traditional 9-to-5 vs. Truck Driving Table

Feature9-to-5 JobTruck Driving
Work ScheduleRegular, predictable hoursIrregular, long hours, extended time away from home
Physical ActivityMostly sedentaryActive, lifting cargo, driving long distances
Stress LevelsVaried, but often office politics and deadlinesCan be high due to tight schedules, traffic, and road conditions
Social InteractionModerate, with colleagues and clientsLimited, mainly with dispatchers and occasional stops
Work EnvironmentOffice or controlled settingVaried, from truck cabins to warehouses and rest stops
TravelMinimalExtensive, visiting different cities and states
Job SecurityVaries by industryRelatively high demand for qualified drivers
Income PotentialVaries, but often cappedCan be high, especially with experience and specialization

Decisions, Decisions, Truck-U & a Traditional 9-5

The decision between a traditional 9-to-5 job and a career in truck driving ultimately hinges on personal preferences and priorities. While a 9-to-5 job offers regular hours, a controlled work environment, and moderate physical activity, truck driving presents a unique lifestyle with irregular and long hours, extensive travel, and physical demands.

For those drawn to the open road, freedom, and independence, truck driving provides an opportunity to be your own boss to a certain extent. The industry’s stability, high demand for qualified drivers, and good pay potential, especially for experienced individuals, are significant factors to consider. However, it comes with challenges such as high stress levels due to tight schedules and road conditions.

Contacting Truck-U:

If you find the prospect of a truck driving career appealing, consider reaching out to Truck U at 702.533.3565 or Our CDL training classes can equip you with the skills and resources needed for a rewarding career as a commercial truck driver. Make an informed decision by researching thoroughly, talking to experienced drivers, and aligning your career choice with your goals and aspirations. Embrace the adventure and freedom of the open road with Truck U! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What is the median annual salary for truck drivers in 2023?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $58,260 in 2023, with variations based on experience, employer, specialization, and region.

How are truck drivers paid? Compensation methods include per mile, hourly wages, or a combination. Owner-operators and company drivers have different pay structures.

  • What are the average work hours for truck drivers?

The average workweek is 47 hours according to the BLS. Long-haul drivers can work up to 70 hours per week, while short-haul drivers may have more regular schedules.

  • Is there flexibility in truck drivers’ schedules?

Owner/operators have the flexibility to work throughout the year, while company drivers negotiate time at home based on experience and seniority.

  • What are the benefits of being a truck driver?

Benefits include freedom, independence, job security, competitive pay for experienced drivers, and various benefits packages offered by trucking companies.

  • How does the truck driving lifestyle compare to a traditional 9-to-5 job?

Truck driving involves irregular hours, extensive travel, and physical demands. The choice between the two depends on personal preferences and priorities.

  • What sources were used for this information?

Information was sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Trucking Associations, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

  • How can I explore a career in truck driving?

If interested, consider reaching out to Truck U at 702.533.3565 or We offer CDL training classes to prepare individuals for a commercial truck driving career.

  • What advice is given for choosing between a traditional job and truck driving?

Research thoroughly, talk to experienced drivers, and align your career choice with your goals and aspirations. Consider the unique aspects of the trucking lifestyle before making a decision.

  • Why choose Truck U for CDL training?

Truck U provides the skills and resources needed for a rewarding career as a commercial truck driver. To explore this exciting career path, call or email us today at 702.533.3565 or!


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