The Importance of Truck Drivers

The trucking industry is an integral part of our country’s economy. Truck drivers are responsible for transporting 70% of the freight in the United States, and 80% of U.S. communities depend on truckers for their medicine, food, and other essential materials. Nearly every sector relies on trucking, and without truck drivers, the negative impact would affect many of our lives almost immediately.


Here are five crucial roles the industry plays that demonstrate the importance of truck drivers:

  1. Transport Essential Goods

As mentioned above, the trucking industry is responsible for transporting the majority of the nation’s freight. This freight keeps our businesses, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, and homes operating at full capacity. Truck drivers are responsible for delivering everything from food items and bottled water to automobiles and chemical products. The oil and gas industry also relies on truck drivers for the safe transportation of their fuel.

  1. Provide Aid in Emergencies

The COVID-19 pandemic amplified the importance of truck drivers. Part of the essential goods truck drivers transport is emergency supplies such as medication and medical equipment like hand sanitizer, masks, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Truckers played a vital role in delivering these goods to hospitals and first responders and continue to do so. Without regular deliveries, many more lives would have been lost. 

  1. Connect Businesses

While technology has brought businesses from across the country closer, truck drivers further close the distance between these establishments. Organizations can order supplies from anywhere in the nation or world because of the time management and safe driving skills of truckers. Drivers use the best routes to ensure shipments will be delivered on time, allowing companies to focus on their internal growth rather than logistics. 

  1. Help Build Infrastructure

Truck drivers also play a role in infrastructure. They transport the supplies, raw materials, and equipment needed to complete construction projects like new roads, buildings, tunnels, and bridges. This transportation helps communities grow and remain strong with the timely delivery of lumber, steel, concrete, and more.

  1. Contribute to the Workforce

The trucking industry contributes significantly to the American workforce. There are approximately 3.6 million professional truck drivers in the United States, with nearly 8 million people working in the transportation field in some capacity, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). These stable, well-paying jobs help maintain the economy. As our society moves forward, the need for eligible drivers will only grow.

Join the Trucking Industry Today

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we recognize the importance of truck drivers. If you want to become a part of one of the nation’s most vital industries, we can give you the education you need to get started. We have schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas with high-quality programs that help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Contact us today to learn more about earning your CDL at one of our many locations.

Freight 101 For Truckers

Truck drivers are responsible for transporting goods and materials throughout the nation and these individuals keep our economy functioning. Roughly 72.2% of freight in the United States travels by semi-truck according to data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Having a basic overview of the freight transportation process can help truckers be more effective and understand the key role they play.

What Is Freight?

To understand how freight works, you first need to know what it is. Freight includes anything that is transported via land, sea, or air in a large quantity for a commercial purpose. This distinguishes the term from “shipping,” which includes smaller amounts of goods and can involve non-commercial shipments.

Who Is Involved?

There are various groups and individuals that are involved in freight logistics.

These include:


This is the person or company that needs to ship the cargo. They are also sometimes called the consignor.


The shipper sends freight to the receiver, also known as the consignee.


The carrier is responsible for getting the shipment from the shipper to the receiver. Various individuals working with the carrier are responsible for different aspects of the process, from organizing the transportation to completing the actual driving.

Third-Party Logistics Providers (3PLs)

Many shippers outsource logistics management to third-party logistics providers (3PLs), which handle warehousing, paperwork, distribution, and other necessary tasks.

What Are Truckers Responsible For?

Each party involved in the logistics process has key responsibilities.

For truckers, these include:

  • Knowing and following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules and regulations
  • Ensuring the cargo is properly secured
  • Driving safely
  • Making sure the truck is in good working condition
  • Keeping necessary paperwork accessible in the truck in case this is requested

This is just a basic overview of the requirements for truckers, not an exhaustive list.

Types Of Truck Freight Shipments

Trucks can transport freight in a variety of ways:

Full Truckload (FTL or TL)

Like the name implies, a full truckload shipment, also known as FTL or TL, fills an entire trailer with freight for one shipper.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

Less-than-truckload (LTL) transportation combines freight from multiple shippers. Each shipment takes up only a portion of the trailer’s space. LTL freight uses a hub and spoke model and shipments travel to terminals where they are sorted and sent back out to new terminals until they reach their destination.

Intermodal (ITML)

Intermodal shipping uses the same container to transport freight using multiple modes of transportation. For example, a ship might arrive with cargo that a truck then picks up and takes to its final destination without opening the container.

Multimodal (ML)

Multimodal shipments use more than one mode of transportation. This is different from intermodal transportation because the container is opened and the cargo is transferred.

How To Become A Trucker

If you’re interested in getting involved in freight transport as a truck driver, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you get started. Our students can earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks and we have schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

To learn more about our truck driving schools, contact us today.

Questions To Ask Potential Trucking Employers

After you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), the next step in your new career as a truck driver is to decide which trucking company to work for. However, before hopping in the cab, you should ensure that the company meets your expectations. Although interviews often feel one-sided, they are also a perfect opportunity to ask your own questions and learn more about the company you’re interviewing with. Ask potential trucking employers these 20 questions before taking a job with a new company.

Compensation and Pay

One of the main considerations for truck drivers is the salary. Before signing a contract, you must ensure that the company offers a pay package that fulfills your financial needs. This includes finding out all the details about pay rates, pay models, bonuses, and expected raises. You may end up negotiating some compensation factors, so come prepared with a list of non-negotiable items.


Five questions to ask potential trucking employers about pay packages are:


  1. How much do you pay?
  2. What pay model do you use?
  3. What type of benefits do you offer?
  4. What is your home time policy?
  5. Does your company offer bonuses?

Operational Details 

Along with pay and benefits, another crucial component drivers need to know about a company before signing with them is their operational details. You should inquire about freight, endorsements, and routes. Knowing the specifics of these operations will help make you confident in your decision to accept or decline a position.


A few questions to ask about the operational details of a company are:


  1. What type of freight do you haul?
  2. How much of the freight is drop-and-hook?
  3. In what areas does the company operate?
  4. What kind of routes are available?
  5. How will you be loading and unloading freight?


Equipment is closely tied to operational details, so you can’t consider one without the other. As a trucker, your rig will become your home away from home, so you will want to ensure that it has the basic amenities for a comfortable ride.


Questions to ask about equipment include:


  1. What kind of equipment do your drivers operate?
  2. What brands of trucks does the company use?
  3. What is the average age of your trucks?
  4. What amenities are the trucks equipped with?
  5. Am I responsible for truck maintenance?

Company Culture 

You should also ask your recruiter a few questions to get a sense of the company culture. Companies with a strong culture can help drivers feel a sense of belonging and fulfillment. On the other hand, a high turnover rate may indicate that the company is not a good fit for you.


To learn more about the company culture, ask the following questions:


  1. How many drivers do you have?
  2. What is your passenger policy? Pet policy?
  3. What is your company’s turnover rate?
  4. What are your company’s safety standards?
  5. Is the company publicly or privately owned?

Choose a High-Quality Truck Driving School

Before you line up interviews with potential trucking employers, you must first earn your CDL. The Phoenix Truck Driving Institute team provides our students with a solid foundation for their trucking careers. Our program uses a multi-faceted training approach that combines classroom, range, and on-the-road driving to prepare you for your new profession. We also offer job placement assistance to help you get on the road after graduation.

Contact one of our advisors today to find out how soon you can start your career.


Why Is Safety In Trucking So Important?

Commercial truck drivers have many responsibilities while on the road, from transporting vital freight to loading and unloading cargo to vehicle maintenance. However, perhaps the most important responsibility of truckers is following safety regulations. The trucking industry emphasizes this aspect of the business, allocating nearly $10 billion annually to driver training, rule compliance, technology, and incentive pay, according to a report from the American Trucking Association (ATA). But what makes safety such a high priority? Continue reading to discover four reasons why safety in trucking is so important. 

1. Safety Decreases Truck-Related Accidents

It’s no secret that truck driving can be dangerous if safety isn’t prioritized. However, tractor-trailer crashes have recently decreased by 10%, due in part to the ATA’s emphasis on safety. Although it is virtually impossible to eliminate all trucking accidents, proper driver training on safety techniques, such as defensive driving and driving the speed limit, can help further drop vehicle crash rates.

2. Safety Lowers CSA Scores

Scores associated with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program are crucial for securing new business and improving a company’s image. Higher CSA scores represent an increased risk, whereas lower CSA scores indicate a better safety record. Good drivers know that a company’s CSA score directly reflects on themselves. Any safety violations, regardless of who was at fault, become part of their resume, including five years of crash history and three years of inspections. Prioritizing safety will help lower a company’s CSA score, attracting more high-quality drivers in turn.

3. Safety Improves Driver Retention

As safety becomes more of a concern in the industry, truck drivers are also becoming more selective about which companies they want to work for. Not only does safety attract more drivers, but it helps retain those drivers for longer as well. Truckers are more likely to stay with a company if they feel like their coworkers and superiors prioritize their safety.

4. Safety Saves Money

Another reason safety in trucking is vital is that it helps save money. Safety improvements can reduce company expenses in several areas, such as fines for violations and driver recruiting costs. Safety enhancements can also lower the costs of damage repairs resulting from an accident. A single major commercial motor vehicle accident can cost nearly $60,000, so keeping drivers safe from accidents is a huge cost minimizer. 

Learn Safe Driving Habits at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute

You must learn safe driving habits if you want to work for a trucking company that prioritizes safety. With a combination of classroom, range, and real-world training, the commercial driver’s license program at Phoenix Truck Driving School teaches students the skills necessary to be safe and successful drivers. 

If you want more information about our CDL training programs, contact one of our advisors today.