Chili peppers, aliens, and pottery are extremely popular in New Mexico, especially the Santa Fe (state capital), Roswell, and Taos areas respectively. Bordering New Mexico are Colorado, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas and Utah. In Taos there’s a ski resort, and yes, New Mexico has four seasons with snow in winter.
The largest populated cities in the state are as follows:
- Albuquerque: 545,852
- Las Cruces: 97,618
- Rio Rancho: 87,521
- Santa Fe: 67,947
- Roswell: 48,366
Los Alamos is home to the museum that houses Little Boy and Fat Man, the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945. That’s a big attraction for tourists as is Roswell because of alien abductions and spaceship sightings. Santa Fe has a lot of art museums and Taos has working American Indian pueblos, which are far more interesting than bombs.
Besides tourism, New Mexico’s most profitable industries are agriculture and mining. Good news if you’re a truck driver! If you are looking for a career that can take you anywhere you want to go, being a truck driver is it. You can choose to be a local driver and have the same customers and stops each day.
You could be a regional driver delivering goods to surrounding states and enjoying the view of impressive mountains and blue skies. If you love to drive to new places, an over the road truck driver job could be for you. It’s possible you could see a lot of the U.S. and Canada but you will be away from family and friends for weeks at a time.
Regardless of your family situation, personal preferences, and experience there are enough trucking positions out there so you can find the one that suits you best.
New Mexico Trucking Salary Information
The average salary for a truck driver in New Mexico is $42,610 and for hourly rate drivers the average is $20.49. Median income is figured in a different way. Instead of taking all salaries, adding them together and then dividing by the total number of salaries, median income is the income that is exactly in the middle – meaning 50% of salaries are more and 50% are less.
Median income for a truck driver in the U.S. is $41,340 and in New Mexico it’s a bit less at $39,570. However, there are several factors than can affect that number. Depending on your experience with driving different types of trucks, your years of experience, and any endorsements you add to your CDL, you will be making more or less.
Also, if you look at the median salary in specific cities, the numbers often look better (SOURCE):
- Farmington: $41,120
- Albuquerque: $39,750
- Santa Fe: $36,990
- Las Cruces: $31,630
Usually the larger the city, the more the salary. Projections for increased trucking jobs between 2014 and 2024 is 5% for New Mexico which is right in line with the rest of the country at 6%.
New Mexico CDL License Information and Insights
To get a New Mexico commercial driver license you’ll need a non-commercial (regular, Class D) New Mexico driver license or a valid out-of-state commercial driver license (CDL). Written tests are not required to exchange a valid out-of-state CDL for a New Mexico CDL as long as it has the same class and endorsements.
Any driver that needs a hazardous materials (Hazmat) endorsement must take a written test, be fingerprinted, and get a background check. Example of License Restrictions that may be attached to a CDL:
- B – Corrective lenses must be worn while driving
- C – Mechanical Aids – driver is limited to vehicles equipped with suitable mechanical aids, such as hand controls, special brakes, or other kinds of adaptive devices
- D – Prosthetic Aids – must use prosthetic aids (other than corrective lenses) while driving
- E – Can drive CMV with automatic transmission only (This restriction will be removed after you pass a full Skills Test.)
- K – Intrastate (within state lines) commerce only
- L – No air brakes (This restriction can be removed once you pass the Air Brake Knowledge Test and full Skills Test.)
- M – No Class A passenger vehicle
- N – No Class A or B passenger vehicle
- O – No tractor-trailer. (Restriction will be removed once a full Skills Test in a tractor-trailer is passed.)
- S – Limited to government plated vehicles
- T – Limited to buses only
- V – Medical variance (Federal or state waiver for a physical or vision condition.)
- X – CDL Permit restriction – No cargo in CMV tank. Usually reserved for a CLP holder.
- Z – No full air brake equipped CMV
Application Process and CDL License Restrictions in New Mexico
Bring the originals of the following documents:
- Out-of-state CDL or New Mexico driver license
- Proof of Identification such as Social Security Card and Passport
- Commercial Driver Medical Certificate and/or any medical waiver issued. Must be completed by a medical professional from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
- Proof of identity (including date of birth)
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence status in the U.S.
- Two (2) pieces of proof of physical residency in New Mexico, such as property tax and mortgage statement. A P.O. Box is not acceptable.
New Mexico Trucking and Transportation in the News
A deaf man in New Mexico earned his Commercial Drivers License this summer. Fernando Ramirez-Savon is the first deaf truck driver to receive a license in New Mexico. He worked with CNM Disability Resource Center to comply with the required standards and received his CDL.
“The reason I wanted to learn to be a truck driver is because when I was young in Cuba, my dad drove trucks. So he taught me how to do that.” Until recently he was unable to qualify for a CDL because of his hearing impairments.
In 2013 the DOT changed the requirements so that deaf individuals can receive a CDL. Ramirez-Savon was required to take the same tests required by any other truck driver. Also, he had to drive completely independently. No interpreter could sit in the passenger seat.
This story is not without controversy, especially from other truck drivers. There were plenty of comments after this article was published (SOURCE).