Simply put, the type of trailer a driver pulls will depend on the type of freight being hauled.
The trailer being pulled could affect a driver's pay, as loads that require special attention will generally require specific skills and equipment, and additional time.
Hauling specific types of trailers, such as tankers full of Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT), can require a variety of experience, CDL endorsements, and permits.
You may find better home time opportunities with certain types of freight like dry van , intermodal , LTL , and flatbed
Generally, the more complicated, risky, or involved the load is for the driver, the higher the pay rate will be.
Different types of trailers and freight will require different levels of attention, experience, and effort by the driver.
Some types of freight may also tend toward local, hourly, positions, which operate on a different pay scale than over-the-road (OTR)
See Also: Truck Driver Pay.
The most commonly used trailer in trucking, enclosed to protect its cargo from the elements of weather and the road. Freight is typically loaded on pallets, or stacked on the floor. Easy to load and unload, most loading docks are built to accommodate them. Dry van jobs tend to give drivers, especially new ones, more job opportunities.
With many variations and uses, flatbed trailers are generally box trailers without the top and sides. Often used to carry large, bulky items, as well as construction material and equipment that won't fit in dry vans. Flatbedding is generally a more physically demanding job in the industry, requiring more effort and equipment to secure the load.
Used mainly to carry bulk liquids, dry goods like grain, or gasses. Requires driver interaction for unloading, and typically needs to be washed out when empty. Requires a specific Tanker endorsement, as well as a Hazmat endorsement if carrying hazardous materials.
Used for temperature-sensitive freight, usually food related. An attached cooling unit, running on either diesel fuel or electric, keeps things cool and requires monitoring by the driver. If hauling liquid, may require a tanker endorsement.
Includes car haulers, cattle and other livestock, intermodal containers, and logging trucks. Very specific classes of trailers that will typically be handled by more experienced drivers.
Most of the larger trucking companies will haul loads using varous types of trailers, and some have entire divisions dedicated to one type or the other.
You can read more about the various types of trailers in trucking here:
Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part VI: Dry Van and Refrigerated Companies
A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:
Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations
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.
Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.
LTL carriers include:
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.
Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.
In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.
When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.