It may be the smallest state in the U.S., but Rhode Island is big on business. There are a variety of opportunities for truck drivers in this state. A quick search pulled up the following:
- Class A local drivers
- Tractor Trailer driver
- Class A regional drivers
- Line Haul
- Refrigerated OTR
- Route driver
So regardless of your preference for driving, you should be able to find a trucking job that suits you well. Rhode Island has more than 400 miles of coastline, plus cultural and historical attractions. Roger Williams founded the Rhode Island Colony in 1636, offering residents religious and political freedom.
A lot of religious refugees from the Massachusetts Bay Colony moved to the Rhode Island Colony. The state is known for tourism, manufacturing jewelry, electronics, and ocean technologies.
Rhode Island Trucking Salary Information and Job Growth
Cities in Rhode Island with the largest population are:
- Providence: 178,042 – the capital
- Warwick: 82,672
- Cranston: 80,387
- Pawtucket: 71,148
- East Providence: 47,037
The majority of trucking jobs can be found in these cities, but even if you’re from a smaller town don’t let that stop you because opportunity is everywhere. The projected increase in the Rhode Island trucking industry between 2014 and 2024 is 9% whereas the overall increase for the U.S. is 6%.
For the more than 3,000 truck drivers in Rhode Island, salaries are quite good. The median salary in the U.S. is $41,340 while in Rhode Island it’s $44,040. The average Rhode Island trucker salary is $45,290. Depending on where you look you may be able to find a higher salary and sometimes even a signing bonus.
In the Norwich/New London area, the median trucker’s salary is $44,770 and in Providence/Fall River/Warwick it’s $44,200 (SOURCE). So you can make a good living driving trucks and simultaneously keep America’s businesses thriving. If you long for the open road and want to see the U.S. an OTR driving job can give you that opportunity. Any extra endorsements you have on your CDL and any experience you’ve already had can increase your salary.
Rhode Island CDL License Requirements and Information
Proof of Legal Status
When renewing, applying, updating or transferring a CDL, all drivers must provide proof that they are U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, as well as proof of Rhode Island residency. This is required by 49 CFR 383.71.
Who’s Eligible For A CDL?
Any person 21 years and older. If you are between 18 and 20 years of age, you can get an intrastate license (driving within state lines). Before you can apply, you have to have had a valid driver’s license for at least two years, with no suspensions or revocations.
Medical Certification Requirements
All DOT medical exams must be performed by “Certified” medical examiners found on the National Registry website.
- The FMSCA requires CDL drivers and Certified Medical Doctors to use the New Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Report.
- You must present a valid Medical Card or Certificate to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
- All CDL holders must show their Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Medical Examination Report Form for all transactions of non-excepted drivers.
- Fill out the Self Certification Form
- Present your new Medical Card or Certificate to the DMV within 15 days.
Note: Failure to comply with any of these requirements will result in your CDL license being downgraded to a regular operators’ license.
Taking The CDL Test in Rhode Island
Let the testing begin!
- The written tests are given at the Cranston DMV headquarters.
- You must pass any written tests before you can take the skills test. If you fail the written tests you need to wait five business days before retaking.
- After passing all required tests you can apply for the permit necessary to take the skills text.
- The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) administers the skills test.
Your Rhode Island CDL License
Before you can receive a Commercial Driver’s License, applicants must apply for a CDL instruction permit. You’ll receive the instruction permit after you pass the written exam. Applicants must show a valid Medical Card to obtain a permit if they are Self-Certified in a non-excepted status.
CDL Military Skills Test Waiver
The CDL Military Skills Test Waiver form must be used by service members who are currently licensed and who are/were employed for one year in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).
This waiver allows a qualified service member to apply for a CDL without taking a skills test. CDL written test(s) cannot be waived. The form must be signed by commanding officer.
The TSA and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) rules require fingerprinting and background checks of all commercial drivers carrying the HAZMAT endorsement on their CDL. Here are a few good things to note:
- All applicants for CDL renewals must comply with the Proof of Status documentation requirements.
- All CDL customers will be required to show their Medical Examiners Certificate for all transactions.
- Renewals are done at the DMV Cranston headquarters only.
- To renew your Rhode Island CDL bring your current CDL and your renewal form. If you did not receive a renewal form in the mail, bring your current CDL.
- Licenses are valid for a maximum of five years. If you are 70 years of age or older, your license will be valid for two years.
- You must comply 60 days in advance with all HAZMAT regulations.
- Licenses that have been expired for one year or more cannot be renewed. You must take all written exams, obtain a commercial driver’s permit, and pass a road skills test.
- You will be issued a temporary license valid for 60 days. The actual license will be mailed to you.
Rhode Island Trucking in the News
A big rig hauling a load that weighs seven times more than what’s allowed on Rhode Island bridges was forced to park on the side of the highway in the area of Route 4 on I-95. It will remain there until inspectors figure out how to get it out of the state.
The 16-axle truck was carrying a generator weighing in at 560,000 pounds, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), while the state’s maximum allowable load without a special permit is 80,000 pounds.
The company trying to transport the oversized load was Bay Crane Northeast and actually they had submitted a request for clearance to drive through Rhode Island but the application was still in the process of being reviewed when the truck departed Quonset Point en route to Massachusetts. No one knows why it left without clearance.
Had the truck travelled over a structurally deficient bridge, it could have caused a critical failure and the driver and any other motorists on that bridge at the time would have suffered the horrid consequences.
Since the truck had already driven over four bridges in Rhode Island, those bridges had to be re-inspected to ensure they’re structurally sound (SOURCE).