The old adage “Everything’s bigger in Texas” seems to be true. Texas is the second largest state in the U.S. Only Alaska is larger. Texas produces more crude oil and natural gas than any other state in the nation. Texas employs more truckers than any other state 175,780 and Texas has the highest highway speed limit on a stretch of toll road between Austin and San Antonio. Drivers can go 85 miles per hour.
Besides hiring the most truck drivers, future projections for Texas truck drivers are astounding. The U.S. has a projected increase of 6% between 2014 and 2024 while Texas’ projection for that same time period is 21%. A quick look at open positions in Texas brought up these gems:
- Local, Regional, OTR Truck drivers
- CDL Flatbed Truck driver – oil & gas
- Dedicated Owner-Operator – Class A owner operators to run dry van, live load/unload freight
- Frac Sand Driver Hauler
- Solid Waste Truck Operator – Operates automated side-load, rear-load, claw truck or delivery vehicles.
- Fuel hauler
- HAZMAT tanker
- And many of these have signing bonuses
The average yearly salary for a truck driver in Texas is $42,830 and an average hourly rate of $20.59. Even though your salary will vary depending on experience, skills, endorsements and more the low end is $26,060 and the high end is $63,050. The median salary varies by city with an overall $41,340 for the U.S. and $39,230 for Texas:
- Abilene: $44,080
- Dallas/Plan: $44,080
- Midland: $43,780
- Amarillo: $43,700
- Odessa: $43,270
- San Antonio: $41,480
- Longview: $40,980
- Houston: $39,080
- Fort Worth: $38,860
- Lubbock: $38,010
The larger land mass tends to mean there are more people and that’s true in Texas – hence the need for more drivers. The top five populated cities are:
- Houston 2,145,146
- San Antonio 1,359,758
- Dallas 1,223,229
- Austin 820,611 – capital
- Fort Worth 758,738
Texas CDL License Information and Insights
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a type of license needed by truck drivers, school bus drivers, and HAZMAT drivers. Individuals are required to have a CDL if they operate a motor vehicle:
1. With a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more,
2. Which transports quantities of hazardous materials requiring placards or
3. Designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver
Any individual whose license is currently suspended, cancelled, or revoked in Texas or any other state is not eligible for a CDL.
Drivers who have a valid CDL can drive all vehicles in the class for which the license is issued, including their personal vehicle, so long as all applicable restrictions and endorsements are adhered to. A vehicle that requires an endorsement may not be driven unless the proper endorsement appears on the CDL.
You will either transport goods interstate (going to different states) or intrastate (within state lines) and this is what you need to determine when you self-certify.
Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
A Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) will be issued to individuals applying for a CDL for the first time or are upgrading from one class to another.
– Must hold a valid Texas Driver License
– CLP must be presented with the base license, this is not an identification document
– CLP restricts holder to operating a CMV with a license operator, 21 years of age or older, in the front passenger seat
– CLP must be held for 14 days before taking skills exams
– CLP is valid for 180 days or expiration of base license or lawful presence, whichever is earliest
– CLP is eligible to be renewed one time, 30 days prior to expiration
Steps To Applying For A CDL in Texas
To apply for a Texas CDL or CLP, an individual must:
1. Apply in-person at any driver’s license office and complete the appropriate application.
2. Present documents to verify your identity: Different documents are required depending on if the individual is a U.S. citizen of has lawful presence in this country. Individuals may be required to present more than one document to verify identity, and the information on all documents must match. Additional documentation may be required to verify conflicting information such as incomplete names or date of birth.
3. Verify Texas residency
4. Show your Social Security Card
5. Depending on your type of certification, you may need to present a medical examiner’s certificate.
6. Meet the nonresident/non-domicile commercial requirements if you are from a foreign jurisdiction other than Canada or Mexico.
7. Present proof of Texas vehicle registration and liability insurance on all vehicles registered in your name.
8. Complete the Supplement Application Texas Commercial Driver License Certifications and Record of CDL Examination.
9. Consent to be photographed, fingerprinted and provide your signature.
10. Pass the vision test.
11. Pass the knowledge tests for the appropriate driver license including endorsements. Knowledge exams must be taken in order:
- Texas Commercial Rules
- General Knowledge
- Combination (Class A Only)
- Air Brake (If applicable)
12. Pay the required fee
13. Provide a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for the driving skills test. The CMV must be representative of the type of license in which the individual is applying for. The Skills Test be comprised of: Vehicle Inspection Test, Basic Vehicle Control Test, Road Test
Applicant must present a valid driver’s license and valid CLP (if required) prior to taking the Skills Test (SOURCE).
Texas Trucking Related News
In spring of 2017, Uber launched Uber Freight, which is an app that matches truck drivers with loads of goods to pick up and deliver. Even though the company is based in San Francisco, Texas played a key role in testing the app. Routes between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio served as the testing ground before the launch. Texas’ large trucking business is what makes it the obvious place to start. Fourteen percent of U.S. freight comes in and out of Texas.
At present about 70 percent of Uber Freight’s loads and drivers are based in Texas. Analysts warn that Uber needs to offer something new in this industry and prove itself to truck drivers who may be skeptical of an unfamiliar player. Think how many drivers don’t even want the new ELDs.
Mike Ramsey, a transportation and mobility analyst for Gartner, says Uber has an edge with brand recognition, talent and capital, but he warned that the June resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick after months of reports of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, and practices that defy law enforcement.
Uber Freight allows truck drivers to pick up extra work when they want to. They also can find a job that fills up their truck on the way home. For Sam Carrillo, an independent truck driver, apps have made his work simpler and more lucrative. For almost 20 years he’s relied on brokers to match him with freight. Now, he gets the majority of his business from Uber Freight and another app.
Uber Freight wants to stand out from load boards and brokers by providing better customer service and faster pay. It plans to offer perks, such as reserved parking spots, passes that allow them to skip weigh stations, and discounts on fuel and tires (SOURCE).