Hawaii CDL Truck Driver Salary Information
The state of Hawaii is made up of several islands, so driving a truck here is different than on the mainland. All driving is intrastate. The climate is tropical and as you would imagine most people here have a laid-back attitude toward life. How could you not? It’s paradise. Once you get a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can transport goods locally or if you like an audience, you could drive one of the many tour buses.
In Hawaii, the need for truck drivers is growing faster than the amount of people with CDLs. So if you’ve ever though about living in Hawaii you can make a pretty good living driving a truck here as salaries in Hawaii tend to be higher than in other states. The average yearly salary is $45,100. The median salary for the United States is $41,340 while Hawaii’s median is $44,500 (SOURCE). The projected rate of growth from 2014-2024 is 6%, which is right in line with the U.S. as a whole.
There’s a good bit of variety in the types of companies that hire drivers. In addition to traditional driving jobs, there are jobs for equipment operators, tour bus drivers, and shuttle bus drivers.
Since Hawaii is so small, the trucking community is very tight-knit. The Hawaii Transportation Association is the statewide organization that represents truck drivers, tour bus drivers, bus drivers, and other transportation professionals. You can join the group as a student or professional and enjoy the member benefits. Most importantly, the group advocates for the interests of truckers on a legislative level and provides regular updates on new laws.
As a member, you may be able to attend training programs and seminars at a discounted rate to improve your truck driving skills. They could also help in your job search because they network with several local organizations like the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and other state groups.
Hawaii CDL License Information and Insights
Hawaii has the most succinct information of all states.
What you need to do to receive your CDL:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Submit the DOT Physical (DOT 4-766) verifying that you meet the Medical and Physical requirements to become a driver
- Pass the required vision test with a minimum of 20/40 in both eyes
- Have a regular Hawaii Drivers License
- Certified Birth Certificate
- Original Social Security Card
- Current photo that shows your face (No smaller than passport size & no larger than a standard size photo)
- Pass all required written tests for the class of license you wish to drive
You can transfer an out of state CDL and not lose any endorsements as long as the endorsements can be verified by your previous state of record. The only endorsement that will NOT transfer is a Hazardous Materials Endorsement. You will have to pass a written test. You also need to register with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and successfully complete and pass a background check (SOURCE).
If you’re new to trucking and need to get in some practice for the skills portion of the CDL test, the easiest way to do that is to take a truck driving training course. Hawaii doesn’t require you to complete any type of training, but without it, you may have a hard time getting enough experience.
You can return to the Department of Transportation after you’ve gotten comfortable behind the wheel of a truck. They can set you up with a three-part driving exam, which includes a vehicle inspection, an off-the-road skills test, and an on-the-road skills test. You get your CDL after passing all three parts of the exam.
What you need to do to receive your Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLP):
- Hawaii State Driver’s License
- Social Security Card or SSA Verification Letter
- Proof of Citizenship or Legal Presence
- Two documents for Proof of Residence
- Complete the CDL Application DOT 4-764 MVS (07/15)
- Bring the required documents listed in section above
- Pass the General Knowledge test
- Complete any required Special Knowledge test relevant to testing vehicle
CDL Test Locations and Requirements
South Hilo Practical Tests (which are called skill tests in many other states) are held Monday through Friday. Kona Practical Tests are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To schedule an appointment, apply in person and pay a $50 test fee.
Bring the following to the road test:
- A valid Hawaii Driver License
- A valid permit representative to the class of vehicle you will be operating (A, B, or C)
- A valid DOT Medical Certificate
- Original and valid Certificate of Registration
- Original and valid DOT Vehicle Inspection
- Original and valid motor vehicle insurance identification card or self-insured certificate
Also worth noting: Proper attire and footwear must be worn for testing. Use of slippers is not allowed (SOURCE).
Trucking Schools in Hawaii
Though small, Hawaii is sure to have open truck driving positions that need to be filled.
Even with Hawaii being a small state and an island at that, you can still find a great school for CDL training. Almost all of their schools do not have a website, but have Facebook Pages instead. Additionally, you can call them to get more information.
There are usually a good choice of schools in more populated areas or major cities. If you live in a rural area, you may be able to find a nearby school, or you may have to travel a little further to obtain your CDL training.
Job placement assistance is a huge benefit and can give one school the upper hand over another if they don’t provide this service. Getting a good paying job with a great company is the goal, and if the school can facilitate that in any way, that is a big plus.
Hawaii Trucking in the News
The annual Almighty Truck Cruise is a traditional event for hundreds of automotive enthusiasts who gather and ride around the island in a convoy of trucks. This year the annual truck rally, held in Kapolei, was interrupted when Honolulu police and city vehicle inspectors arrived in force.
The crackdown on modified vehicles caught drivers by surprise. The HPD gave out more than 300 citations on about 100 vehicles. Nearly 40 reconstruction-related tickets were handed out and 17 recon permits were revoked.
“As soon as I came across the light, two biker cops followed me and their sergeant also followed me and they blocked me in before I could even park,” said driver Michael Villanueva, who denies his truck is illegally modified, but got several citations anyway. “They charged me four times for no flares and no mud flaps,” Villanueva said.
Some say with all the complaints about the truckers and their public cruising, the crackdown was inevitable. “It was out of control, “said Michael Kitchens, an avid car enthusiast. “They were blocking the road and doing burn outs and disrupting traffic.”
Kitchens said he supports these types of events, but it was only a matter of time before HPD would send a message. HPD said the enforcement followed years of complaints about prior rallies, including speeding, reckless driving and damage at beach parks (SOURCE).