Professional Truck Driver (General)
Summary of Occupation
A Professional Truck Driver drives trucks for commercial freight and transport purposes. Professional Truck Drivers assemble, load, secure, and unload vehicles, transport goods and materials, and perform routine vehicle inspections and maintenance. They may be an owner driver or drive company- owned vehicles. Professional Truck Drivers transport and handle a wide variety of loads. Some Professional Truck Drivers transport food, while others may transport hazardous or pressurised materials. There are Professional Truck Drivers that use small vehicles and others that drive very large road trains. All Professional Truck Drivers, regardless of truck size or load type, are responsible for the stability of their load and require one or more special licences.
Knowledge Skills and Attributes
A Professional Truck Driver needs:
- an aptitude for mechanics
- to enjoy practical work
- to be physically fit
- good driving skills
You also need a minimum of one year holding a 'C' Class Driver Licence prior to obtaining a Light Rigid Driver Licence, which will then allow you to apply for higher licence classes.
A Professional Truck Driver can be expected to work irregular hours, make early starts and spend days away from home making deliveries all over the state and interstate.
Before beginning a trip, paperwork is required to be filled out correctly. The Professional Truck Driver is also required to maintain a work diary detailing hours of driving, fatigue breaks, fuel consumption and reports of accidents or any problems with the vehicle. In addition to this administrative work, a Professional Truck Driver needs to check brakes, oil, tyres, electrical systems, water, hydraulics and air, prior to each trip.
On average, Professional Truck Drivers can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a Professional Truck Driver develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Tools and Technologies
A core piece of technology used in the trucking industry is the Global Positioning System (GPS). Not only can drivers use a GPS to get to their destination, trucks can be tracked so that customers can be told when to expect their delivery, and management can keep an eye on progress.
Another important piece of technology for Professional Truck Drivers is the road relay system that keeps drivers informed of the correct matching of the engine and road speeds to preferred power output and fuel economy. This technology assists truck drivers to improve their driving practices, which can save companies thousands of dollars in fuel costs annually.
Truck drivers are responsible for the stability of the load they carry and are often required to assist with loading and unloading cargo. Therefore, they need to know how to use tarpaulins, ropes, tie down straps and moving equipment to secure or move cargo.
Education and Training Entrance Requirements
It is possible to work as a truck driver without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
There are different licence classes relevant for Professional Truck Drivers. You must obtain the appropriate licence for the truck you wish to drive, as well as any additional licences for carrying special loads such as dangerous substances.
Each state and territory is responsible for licencing drivers, including Professional Truck Driver. For information about licence classes and the types of vehicle they apply to got to:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia