Arkansas CDL Truck Driver Salary Information
Driving through the state of Arkansas seems almost like a trucker’s dream. With over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of rivers and streams, Arkansas’ topographic variety is a sight to behold. Traveling from northwest to southeast you encounter the Ozark Plateau with low mountains, hills, valleys, trees, rivers and streams.
The Arkansas River and valley split the state almost in half. South of the river are the Ouachita Mountains. And what would Arkansas be without its hot springs? These 143ºF waters are found in the eastern ridges and valleys of the Ouachita Mountains.
The Mississippi Delta Region covers the eastern and southern areas of the state. The most important river in the state (and no doubt the eastern portion of the U.S.) is the Mississippi. The river begins in northwestern Minnesota and weaves its way south to the Gulf of Mexico, right below New Orleans. The Mississippi River is still a significant transportation artery for the country.
Arkansas can be a great place to work, live – and drive. Surrounding states include Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee. So potentially you could be driving some of the most picturesque highways in the country.
The estimated number of truck drivers in Arkansas is 33,210 with a projected employment increase of 11% by 2024, almost twice the national average of 6%. This means more chances for you to land a job here. The average salary is $39,430 and the average hourly wage is $18.95.
When you look at median salary numbers (exactly 50% more and 50% less) the median for the state is $37,220 while $41,340 is the median for the U.S. Still, depending on where you live and what company you work for your salary could be different. Here are some median salaries for some of the more populated Arkansas cities:
- Little Rock $38,310
- Jonesboro $34,170
- Pine Bluff $33, 540
- Hot Springs $30,010
You can see that even small distances between cities can have a wide variance in average pay for truck drivers.
Arkansas CDL License Information
You are required to have an Arkansas CDL if you operate the following types of vehicles. This applies to most states in the U.S.
- CLASS A: covers combination vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the towed vehicle is more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Class A CDL (plus any endorsements) can operate vehicles included in the other classes, too – B, C, and D.
- CLASS B: for single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being towed cannot be more than 10,000 pounds. Again, a driver that has an Arkansas Class B CDL (plus any endorsements) can legally operate all vehicles in the lower classes – C or D.
- CLASS C: A single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that doesn’t fall into Class A or Class B as noted above. A Class C CDL is required for vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver. It’s also a necessity for transportation of hazardous materials and the vehicle needs to be placarded as described in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).
If you are at least 18 you can drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) within Arkansas only (intrastate).
However, once you’re at least 21 you can earn a CDL that allows you to operate:
- commercial vehicles across state lines (interstate)
- transport hazardous materials that require placarding
- operate a vehicle with doubles or triples trailers
How to Apply for an Arkansas CDL
To find out all the specifics of what you need for CDL Documentation and Identification in the state of Arkansas click here. Basically it includes:
- A current Department of Transportation long medical form filled out by your doctor.
- Proof of a Transportation Security Administration background check if you want to get a hazardous materials endorsement.
- If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you must legally be in permanent status in the United States and living in Arkansas, plus you’ll need paperwork that proves that.
Helpful Hint: You need to pay the fees for the CDL BEFORE you take the knowledge tests so have the payment with you. After paying the fees for general knowledge, air brakes, and any endorsements you want to acquire, you’ll have three attempts to pass each portion of the test. Have your medical examiners card or DOT medical card BEFORE applying.
Trucking Schools in Arkansas
Arkansas has many schools that offer comprehensive truck driver training. See some of them below:
Notable Trucking Companies Local to Arkansas
Rich Logistics provides numerous services including expedited freight, LTL (less-than-truckload), and FTL (full truckload). They have dry vans, flatbeds, step-decks, and reefers. They are one of the leading companies in Arkansas and their truck driver average over 99% with on-time deliveries. That number is amazing in this industry, and you know the old saying, “Time Is Money.”
TLI Transco Lines provides LTL, drayage, and full truckload services. They started out in 1984 in Russellville, which is a good location for their truck drivers to access easily. TLI Transco Lines has won many awards for the services they offer to their customers with their large fleet of over 350 trucks.
Comstar is another top trucking company in Arkansas. They provide services mostly to customers in need of refrigerated transportation. Their service area includes the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast. PeopleNet is technology they use for real-time tracking (which provides second-to-none customer service).
Arkansas Trucking In The News
Challenges in the Trucking Industry
Trucking is a difficult job that’s labor intensive, and the industry itself is heavily regulated. But those regulations are there to keep you and everyone around you safer on the road.
Trucking managers supervise a diverse group of people (the drivers) who are not on-site but may be hundreds sometimes thousands of miles away.
It’s the manager’s job to ensure his/her drivers are prepared to safely deliver freight to its destination. Safety regulations govern all aspects of trucking because without these regulations it would be a highly dangerous job. To perform their job in the best way possible, managers need to know and understand the regulatory structure and processes.
Driver turnover is a huge problem in the industry. The American Trucking Association estimates that driver turnover at larger companies was about 74% in the first quarter of 2017. If other industries had to replace 74 percent of their employees every quarter there would be a lot of failed businesses.
Not only that, drivers who leave are often replaced by younger drivers who have less experience. This is the point at which safety becomes an issue because operating a CMV requires skill and experience, which you can only get over time.
To remedy these issues, Arkansas trucking companies are starting to hire managers who are trained to retain staff, understand best practices for safety, and comply with industry and federal safety regulations. Trucking managers have to understand how to improve driver job satisfaction so companies can retain these experienced employees. Once driver turnover begins to decrease, roadway safety should improve (SOURCE).