What Is An OTR Truck Driver? Let Me Tell You

What is an OTR truck driver? OTR means Over The Road. An OTR truck driver is a truck driver that transports materials over the road at long distances, these are not local drivers that go home every night.  An OTR truck driver will be operating a tractor trailer or also known as an 18-wheeler, and big rig. They will drive many miles on the interstates and they usually spend several weeks at a time on the road driving.

Usually, an OTR truck driver will drive three or four weeks on the road, then come home to have a week off.

It depends on the company the driver is working for and the type of freight they will be hauling.

Being an OTR truck driver, you can expect to be out on the road for up to 300 days each year, so you won’t be spending much time at home.

If you are married, in a relationship, or have children you may want to reconsider being an OTR truck driver, because it could impact your relationships in a negative way.

As a matter of fact, if you are contemplating becoming an OTR driver then I urge you to read this article I wrote about why drivers quit.

An OTR truck driver will usually work up to seventy hours in a period of eight days.

Some OTR truck drivers prefer to drive in daylight hours, and some prefer to drive at night, because there is less traffic.

There is no set starting time hours for an OTR truck driver.

The driver will be dispatched by the company, then the driver will figure out the time and route they need to take to get the freight there on time.

An OTR truck driver is unable to driver more then eleven hours each day. As a matter or fact, there are time rules called the Hours Of Service Regulations which were put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

To be an OTR truck driver, you will need to have a CDL.

A CDL is a Commercial Driver’s License.  An OTR driver needs a Class A CDL. Check out this article I wrote about the differences between the Class A and Class B CDL.

Some company’s provide in-house training and there are schools available to take the course to get your CDL.

Nearly 90% of OTR truck drivers will be paid by the mile instead of by the hour.

Some companies also pay their OTR truck drivers in percentage, which means the driver will get a percentage of the load that they are hauling.

Most OTR truck drivers will drive approximately 2,500 miles each week, or 500 miles each day.

What Does OTR Mean in Truck Driving?

What does OTR mean in the truck driving industry?

OTR means “Over the Road”, because truck drivers who drive long distances with their freight will be driving over the road instead of local driving.

There is a demand for OTR truck drivers.

The Department of Labor has reported that between 2010 through 2020 there will be 330,000 OTR truck drivers needed.

Based upon experience, an OTR truck driver can make from $0.30 to $0.45 cents per mile.

There is more work involved in being an OTR truck driver than just getting behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and driving.

An OTR truck driver will need to have time management skills, because making sure the freight is delivered on time is very important.

An OTR truck driver will also need to plan out their schedule and driving time each day, so all deliveries can be made, and to make sure you don’t go over the legal drive time, which is eleven hours in a day.

Some OTR truck drivers will have to unload their freight, and this will depend on the company.

An OTR truck driver will sleep in the truck as there is a bed in the truck for an OTR truck driver.

If you are wondering what the bed looks like in the truck then you need to see this article (with pictures) that I wrote.

What Do OTR Truck Drivers Make?

The average salary for an OTR truck driver can vary.

For new OTR truck drivers, you can expect to make approximately $30,000 to $40,000 depending on the company.

Swift Transportation is one actually one of the highest paying trucking companies for new OTR truck drivers.

They offer truck driving schooling, then the driver will start working for them to repay back their school tuition.

For the first year an OTR truck driver with Swift Transportation can make $41,000.

J.B. Hunt is another trucking company that hires new OTR truck drivers. A new OTR truck driver with J.B. Hunt can earn up to $40,000, and the company also gives bonuses too.

According to www.payscale.com, Mississippi and West Virginia are the two highest paying states for new OTR truck drivers.

How Does OTR Trucking Work?

An OTR truck driver will be driving from state to state in an 18-wheeler.

The OTR truck driver could be transporting a variety of freight that weighs from 26,000 pounds and more.

The OTR truck driver will drive their eleven hours, then they will be sleeping in the sleeper berth in the tractor. This (link to my article) is what a sleeper berth looks like.

An OTR truck driver can expect to be out on the road away from home for several weeks at a time.

An average work week for an OTR truck driver is seventy hours.

An OTR truck driver is responsible for keeping their hours logged, and most trucking companies are using E-logs instead of the old paper logs.

The OTR truck driver will always do their pre-trip inspection every time before they head out on the road.

The OTR truck driver is responsible for keeping all their freight bills and paperwork together, and logging their miles, because most OTR truck drivers are paid by the mile and not with an hourly wage.

How Often Does an OTR Truck Driver Go Home?

Most OTR truck drivers will go home after being on the road for several weeks.

Most trucking companies will get their OTR truck driver a load headed back to the driver’s city, so they can spend a week off the road.

If you are considering a career as an OTR truck driver, then you will have to keep in mind that you will be out driving for at least three or four weeks at a time, then usually, you will get to spend a week at home.

What is the Difference Between OTR, Local, and Regional Truck Driving?

There are major differences between OTR, Local, and Regional truck driving.

If you are going to do a truck driving training school you will want to know the differences, so you can choose which type of truck driving that you would like to do.

Local Truck Driving

Local truck driving is when a truck driver will be driving locally.

Usually, the local route will be within 250-mile radius, and the truck driver can work from eight hours to ten hours each day.

Being a local truck driver is great for a truck driver who has a family, because they will get to go home each day, but it can be more difficult than driving OTR because the roads are smaller than being on the interstate or highway.  The local driver will have to navigate them. Also, the loading docks can be in tight spaces, and the driver may have to deliver at several different places within a work shift.

Most trucking companies usually require their drivers to have one year of truck driving experience to work as a local driver.

Often you will have to get 1 year of experience driving OTR in order to get a local job.

Local Truck Driving Pros:
* Local truck drivers are usually home daily, and they are usually off on the weekends and holidays.
* Local truck drivers aren’t behind the wheel as many hours as an OTR truck driver.

Local Truck Driving Cons:
* Some local truck drivers will have to unload the freight physically.
* Local truck drivers work long hours.

Regional Truck Driving

Regional truck driving is when the truck driver is driving within a 1,000-mile radius.

For example, the regional driving is broken up into different divisions such as the Midwest, Northeast, and Southern.

The truck driver will be out on the road for a certain amount of days, then they are off a certain amount of days.

Most regional truck drivers have the weekends off, which is why many truck drivers prefer regional truck driving.

Regional Truck Driving Pros:
* Regional truck drivers are home more often than an OTR truck driver.
* Regional truck drivers still have the same freedom of driving in different states while still having the ability to come home often.

Regional Truck Driving Cons:
* Some regional truck driving companies will base your salary upon the freight that you are hauling.

OTR Truck Driving

OTR (Over the Road) truck driving is a truck driver driving over the road for long distances.

Typically, an OTR truck driver will stay out on the road for several weeks.

An OTR truck driver hauls a variety of freight.

Usually, new truck drivers will have to be an OTR truck driver until they have a year or two of experience under their belt to look for a local truck driving job.

OTR Truck Driving Pros:
* An OTR truck driver will get to see the country while making a good wage. 
* Some OTR truck drivers will not have to unload the freight as the company will provide dock workers to do that for the driver.
* An OTR truck driver can make a decent salary.

OTR Truck Driving Cons:
* An OTR truck driver will spend several weeks on the road, and will have little time at home.

* An OTR truck driver spends long hours driving and little time moving around throughout the day.

Is OTR Trucking Right For You?

An OTR truck driver is an excellent career choice for people that are wanting to make a good wage while seeing the country.

If you don’t mind being away from home for several weeks at a time, then this is the perfect career for you.

Currently, OTR truck drivers are in demand.

If you don’t have your CDL, then you can contact several different companies that will give you the truck driving training, then you will work for that company for a certain amount of time until the training has been paid for.

You will get the experience you need if you ever decide to go to local driving.

OTR truck drivers are dedicated and hard-working people.

Without them, you wouldn’t have any of the items that are in your home.