America’s goods often move by truck.
But being a trucker is a tough job. As the BLS notes, driving a truck is “major lifestyle choice, because these drivers can be away from home for days or weeks at a time.”
Truckers are feeling pressured in other ways, too. Diesel fuel is expensive for the independents. There are limits on how long the driver can remain behind the wheel without rest. National fleets are trying to recruit drivers with clean records. As a result, the American Trucking Association says the turnover rate for drivers is now over 100 percent per year. The ATA estimates the industry needs 20,000 to 30,000 drivers.
In New York, Philip Wilson, a driver for Mom’s & Son Transport, says he likes driving a truck because he gets to meet different people and go to different places. The downside of his trade: traffic and tickets.
The BLS says the 771,000 short-haul drivers such as Mr. Wilson make a mean annual salary of $33,120. The 1.5 million long haul truckers make $39,830. Neither short haul or long haul truckers would owe any federal income tax if they make less than $46,400 a year.