Difference Between Local, Regional, and OTR Driver Jobs

When you’re just starting out as a driver in the trucking industry you won’t be familiar with all the terms and what they mean. So if you’ve been wondering what the difference is between local, regional and OTR truck drivers, besides the obvious word differences, let’s define the difference.

What Are Local Drivers And What Do They Do?

A local driver has a route that they follow each day delivering and picking up product or people within their city. Some examples could be UPS drivers, FedEx drivers, and school bus and public bus drivers. Your employer will own the vehicle you use to do your job.faq image 8

If you like to have a set work schedule with the same hours every day and know pretty much what you’re going to be doing the whole day, then a local driver job might be enjoyable for you. Depending on the employer and his/her needs, you may drive somewhere between 8 and 10 hours a day. You will probably do your own loading and unloading so you need to be in fairly good physical shape and able to lift about 50 pounds without any trouble.

Use safety equipment to properly load and unload your truck. If your deliveries are “drop-and-hook” stops, all you need to do is back your truck up to the appropriate spot and drop your load.

This type of job doesn’t require you to lift or unload anything. Once your workday is complete, return your truck to your employer and then head home to be with the family for the night.

The pay for local drivers is different from that of regional and OTR drivers. Regional and OTR jobs are paid by the mile while local drivers often get paid by the hour.

How Do I Know If A Local Truck Driving Job Might Be For Me?

Whether you drive a light truck, delivery truck, or tractor-trailer, the best parts of being a local driver are the freedom of being on the road every day yet still being able to spend time with the family in the evening. Light truck and delivery truck jobs are more prevalent in the local driving jobs arena.

The type of truck you drive can impact your salary. In fact there’s a rather big disparity. According to O*Net (2016) light truck drivers earn an average annual salary of $30,580 and tractor-trailer drivers earn an average annual salary of $41,340. That’s a pretty big difference.

While the job outlook in local trucking can vary from job title to job title. Expected increase in job openings in the light truck driving business is 5% to 9%, and tractor-trailer job openings are expected to increase 7%.

What Are Regional Drivers And What Do They Do?

Regional truck drivers are men and women who enjoy spending time on the road and having their assigned routes. They don’t mind being away from home every now and then but they still want to see the family on a pretty regular basis. You could say that regional trucking is the best of both the local driving job world and the Over-the-Road world.

Regional truck driving jobs take you to other states in your region, but you won’t be on long hauls for weeks at a time. Usually, trips can last one week or less. Of course the length will depend on the weather and how many hours the drive takes. Federal restrictions limit drivers to no more than 11 hours of driving each day.

Depending on the type of regional truck driving job, you may drive all day as a solo driver or sometimes when a deadline has to be met you may drive with another driver. When you’re the only one driving you have to complete each trip on your own, sleeping in your truck’s berth for a solid seven hours per Federal regulations.

If you’re part of a team, you switch out with the other driver and don’t have to stop to sleep because the other team member is driving.  On a team, you can cover more miles in less time. Sometimes team jobs pay less per mile, but since you get paid for all trip miles, you can earn more money.

How Do I Know If A Regional Truck Driving Job Might Be For Me?

As far as getting time off, policies will be different for different carriers but most guarantee a certain amount time off. If you have a trip and are gone just a couple days, you may get one or two days off. However, if you’re gone for a full week you’ll probably get multiple days off before you leave again.

Like a local job, regional jobs often have dedicated routes so you can get to know your customers as you see them each week. It also adds some stability to your route and schedule.

What Does An OTR Truck Driver Do?

OTR stands for Over The Road and these are the truck drivers that transport products across all 50 states and sometimes even into Canada and Mexico. Just like the local and regional driver, OTR drivers are essential to keep America running smoothly. Often the schedule calls for weeks away from home to deliver goods that could be hundreds of miles away.

What Are Some Of the Job Duties?

OTR truck drivers maintain mileage logs, comply with local and federal trucking and traffic laws and regulations, and they’re also responsible for maintaining the safety and performance of their rigs. Over the road truckers often have irregular hours but they cannot drive more than 11 hours a day just like any other type of truck driver.

Truck driving schools usually require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. In addition to your CDL you must also have a clean driving record with no previous DUI convictions. Also you need to be able to pass a physical since this type of work has physical demands.

Is An Over The Road Job Right For Me?

Throughout the country, the outlook for OTR trucking jobs is definitely positive. Demand for these jobs is estimated to increase 11% by 2022. Opportunities definitely exist across the country for this type of job and you can get a job in any state if you move. Just update your CDL and you’re ready to start your job search.

The salary for OTR truck driver jobs in the U.S. is $41,340 but this can increase or decrease depending on the state, the company for which you work, and the type of driving you perform. Larger employers tend to pay higher salaries to experienced drivers and they provide better benefits when compared to smaller companies.

If you are single or don’t mind being away from home for extended periods of time, you could really love seeing the country while driving from coast to coast.

Now that you know a little more about each type of trucking job – local, regional, and OTR – you should have a better feel for which one will meet the wants and needs for you, your family and career.