What New Truck Drivers Need To Know About Dry Van Trailers:
The most common type of trailer used in trucking. Essentially just a box on wheels with doors in the back.
Pulling box trailers, or dry vans, offer the most job opportunities, especially for new drivers.
Most dry van loads will require nothing of the driver other than to pull them.
More specialized dry van jobs, like moving vans, pup containers, or freight the driver must unload may offer better pay rates.
General Dry Van Trailers:
Ordinary dry vans are the most common type of trailer on the road, and offer the most varied job choices for new truck drivers.
New drivers will typically start in some type of dry van position, until they gain more experience in the job.
Most dry van jobs do not require the driver to unload freight. Especially regional and over the road jobs.
Some dry van loads will be drop-and-hook , depending on the company. Requires nothing of the driver but to hook up to an already-loaded trailer, and drop it off at its destination.
Short trailers (26-29 feet) often used for local LTL or smaller pick-ups and deliveries. Often used for over-the-road (OTR) doubles and triples.
May require more driver interaction, as local and regional routes may have multiple stops requiring re-arranging the freight on occasion.
Will be used for multiple local pick-up and deliveries, or linehaul routes between consolidation hubs or distribution centers.
Moving Vans (Household Goods):
Often moving the contents of entire households. Could be either local or over the road jobs. Will usually be a very "hands-on" trucking job, and will generally pay better than average.
Many moving van positions will include the actual packing of the freight, as well as securing it. Most companies will have their own training program specific to this kind of work.
Most of the large professional moving companies belong to the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), which sets standards for methods and conduct in the industry, as well as advocating for the moving companies themselves.
The kind of freight could vary wildly, from small boxes, to grand pianos or the like.
Changes To FMCSA Regulations Re-defining Tank Vehicles:
Recent changes in FMCSA regulations mean that drivers pulling liquid freight over 1,000 gallons, regardless of trailer type, hazardous or otherwise, will be required to have a tanker endorsement:
"Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis." Hauling more than 1,000 gallons of liquid, regardless of trailer type, will require a driver to have a tanker endorsement.