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FAQ: Truck Driver's Home Time

Last Updated: Oct 3, 2016

Truck Driver's Home Time - Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it be before I can get home time?

Initially, it could be a while. Regardless of whether you get your CDL through a private school or through a company-sponsored program, every company will require a certain amount of on-the-road training time for new drivers. Typically, for OTR jobs, you will get home time only if your trainer also takes it. When you go solo, you could be home anywhere from a couple times a week to once every 4-6 weeks, depending on the position.

How long do drivers usually stay out on the road?

Over-the-road drivers typically stay out for 4-6 weeks at a time before coming home. There are, however, many drivers who prefer to stay out longer, or take "home time" somewhere other than their actual home. Local drivers will be home every night, regional , dedicated, or linehaul drivers typically get home every weekend, and maybe once during the week.

How often do truck drivers get home?

Again, it really depends on the type of job and the drivers preference. Most drivers start their careers over-the-road, getting home every 4-6 weeks or so.

Will I be able to get home when I want to?

Most companies will try their best to get you home on the days you request, with enough advance notice. There are a few who claim to "guarantee" their home time, but for the most part you'll generally get home around the time you want, but it's difficult to set exact dates because of the nature of the freight movements.

What if I have a family emergency while I'm on the road?

Most companies will do their best to accommodate family emergencies, depending on their nature. The bottom line is, though, that when something happens at home, you're generally not going to be able to just leave the truck where it is and rush home, unfortunately. It's the nature of the lifestyle that you're just not going to be available immediately to handle things.

What kinds of truck driving jobs will get me home more often?

Local pickup-and-delivery jobs will typically get drivers home every night, but even then, you can expect really long days sometimes. Dedicated and linehaul positions might get home 2-3 times per week, as well.

What trucking company offers the best or more frequent home time options?

It really varies wildly and frequently from company to company. Some companies, like TMC, operate in lanes that get most of their drivers home every single weekend for 45-50 straight hours. Others, like Roehl, have specific fleets which offer home time options such as 7 days on, 7 days off, or 14 days on, 7 days off, etc.

Where do I park the truck when I have home time?

If you are not taking the truck all the way home with you, you will usually park it at a company terminal or drop yard, or at a truck stop in the vicinity. Trucking companies and truck stops will all have different policies on what is allowed or not allowed.

Can I take my truck home with me?

It depends on your company, local laws and ordinances, and whether or not you are under a load. Many companies will let you bobtail home if you are not under a load, or have a secure place to drop your trailer. Others will not allow it, and require you to leave the truck at a terminal or drop yard.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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