Working Conditions of a Truck Driver: What to Expect and What You Can Do As a Manager to Make It Better

Fleet Manager

Apr 20, 2022

Understanding the working conditions of a truck driver is essential if you are considering a career in the field.

Whether you’re a fleet manager or are driving the big rigs, there are a large number of associated responsibilities. Working as a long-haul truck driver is essentially a lifestyle choice because workers can be away from home for multiple days or weeks at a time. Before getting yourself into the field, here’s what you need to know about the working conditions and what to expect as a truck driver, and what fleet managers can do to make it better.

Continue scrolling to learn more below.



The Working Conditions of a Truck Driver 


The working conditions of a truck driver are typically confined to the rig they are driving. However, there are some situations where they will work in an office, warehouse, or factory setting. There are no defined work hours in most cases, but most drivers spend 40 or more hours each week to ensure deliveries are made on time. 

Because the majority of the work hours are spent inside a truck cab for hours at a time, it is unlike many other occupations. Most of the time on the road is spent alone, which means that truck drivers should have a strong dedication and resolve to make their mental health a priority.

It is crucial for drivers to be a certain level of physical fitness. Sometimes forklifts are unavailable at pickups or drop-offs, and operating a pallet jack is necessary to move inventory. This involves moving thousands of pounds on their own. 

Safety must be the number one priority for truck drivers in all aspects of their jobs. Preventative vehicle maintenance is crucial since the mechanical components of their trucks must remain in tip-top condition to function correctly. Some of these maintenance jobs are handled by the driver, like oil changes, tire inspections, and other smaller tasks. Other safety concerns include complying with federal, state, and local road laws, such as maintaining alertness and sobriety. Some drivers experience minor bruises or cuts when moving cargo or making repairs.

Big rig drivers will periodically come into contact with employers, customers, clients, and colleagues. This often includes small talk about business-related topics, gathering signatures or verifying shipment completion, collecting payment, filing paperwork, and managing inventory spreadsheets.



The Responsibilities of a Truck Driver


Whether they’re a commercial, regional, or another kind of driver, it is the responsibility of the truck driver to deliver cargo undamaged and in a timely and efficient manner. Many of the destinations are retail stores, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and more. Here are more of the responsibilities you can expect of a truck driver:


  • Getting and maintaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
  • Transporting finished goods or raw materials from point A to point B.
  • Completing deliveries on time.
  • Driving in an enclosed vehicle cab on a daily basis for hours and hours.
  • Completing preventative maintenance on your truck and outsourcing mechanical issues outside your knowledge.
  • Loading and unloading cargo using a pallet jack or forklift.
  • Keeping a record of expenses to be reimbursable, such as fuel or tolls.
  • Keeping a list of state-mandated inspections and vehicle maintenance.
  • Logging all miles driven.
  • Entering data into systems to document the completion of deliveries.
  • Completing delivery paperwork.
  • Staying safe on hauls and implementing defensive driving skills.
  • Possibly working more than eight hours in a day, evening, or weekend to meet deadlines. 
  • Maneuvering trucks into docking bays.
  • Reporting damage, defects, violations, and accidents to necessary authorities.
  • Understanding and following federal and state laws, including vehicle weight.
  • Having positive interactions (or handling negative ones) with freight handlers, dispatchers, and clients.
  • And more.



What Fleet Managers Can Do to Improve Working Conditions of a Truck Driver


Set Clear Work Expectations — Nothing lowers productivity and efficiency faster than confusion and a lack of clarity in the workplace. It’s not uncommon for employees to feel mentally drained when they feel unsure of their responsibilities. So, keep your feet as alert and focused as possible by communicating clearly, effectively, and thoughtfully.


Work With an Empathetic Mind and Ear — As a fleet manager, you shouldn’t view yourself as the head-honcho; you are as much a part of your team as your drivers are! Aim to work empathically with your team. This could mean putting your drivers’ needs before profits sometimes. Cultivate a work environment where your crew can talk openly and honestly with you and try to be receptive to any positive and negative feedback.


Simplify the Process for Your Crew — There are many bumps in the road for truck drivers, both literally and figuratively. Fleet managers can improve working conditions by making reporting and scheduling as seamless as possible for your drivers by going digital.


Always Put the Safety of Your Team First — The main job and number one priority of a fleet manager should be the safety of your crew. It is critical to stay on top of truck maintenance which helps prevent accidents. Moreover, it is essential to pay close attention to the fatigue and stress levels of your team. Positive mental health is crucial for your drivers. You can encourage improved mental health by promoting regular communication with family and friends, team interaction, and participating in activities where your crew can unwind, such as watching satellite TV from the comforts of their cabs.



Getting EpicVue Will Improve Working Conditions of a Truck Driver


Working conditions of a truck driver can be challenging, but EpicVue makes it better! EpicVue outfits your trucks with premium in-cab satellite TV featuring more than 180 must-have channels. 

Making meaningful connections on the road is difficult, but chatting about the shows you are watching with the people you meet makes it easier. Watching TV during the breaks on long hauls can counteract the heavy feelings of isolation. Happy and healthy truck drivers are much more likely to stay with your fleet, which significantly reduces the expensive and burdensome cycle of recruitment and retention. Contact EpicVue today to learn more!

Quality truck fleet management with a good strategy is a vital element for success in the trucking industry. These systems are necessary for communication, and processes are sure to succeed. There’s no doubt that the best semi-truck fleet teams are those that are effectively and efficiently managed, making a great fleet manager worth their weight in gold — and then some!  But what is it exactly that makes a fleet manager great? It all comes down to a solid fleet management strategy and reliable semi-fleet processes. In fact, these are essential to finding both short- and long-term success. If you’re in charge of a semi-truck fleet and are looking to build a fail-proof truck fleet management strategy, you’re in the right place. We’re here to give you some tried-and-true tips and tricks for developing a solid plan. With a little hard work and the right strategy, you will surely see increased profits, fleet growth, and a happier, healthier, and more productive crew. Keep scrolling to learn more.

5 Things to Consider When Developing Your Truck Fleet Management Strategy

If you want to develop a quality truck fleet management strategy, make sure to consider the following:
  1. Invest in a Fleet Management System — You could be the most experienced and focused manager, but you will still have difficulties staying organized and productive without a quality truck fleet management system in place. Managers of old used to rely on elaborate systems involving paper spreadsheets, filing cabinets, and more to run their business, but there are simpler ways to get the job done. Join the digital age by digitizing your workflow and operations; you’ll find that processes are optimized, and your team’s performance is improved! A good system will allow you to keep track of the best routes, maintenance schedules, driver and vehicle efficiency, automating various tasks (such as routing and scheduling deliveries, billing and invoicing, sending jobs to drivers, etc.) and more so you can maximize the potential of your fleet.
  2. Find Ways to Cut Maintenance Costs — It’s no secret that the economy is in an exciting place right now. Inflation is on the rise, and maintenance costs are not exempt. A solid semi-truck fleet manager must prioritize finding ways to reduce costs. Taking a defensive, preventive approach to maintenance is key. Improving fleet efficiency and ensuring that your rigs and necessary equipment are in tip-top shape and ready to go can help you stay ahead of maintenance issues. Consider utilizing a good fleet management system that can tell you about the vehicles’ engines and other diagnostic features to help extend the life of your trucks. These tools can help you quickly identify any problems with your trucks and avoid issues down the road when they become more serious, thus cutting maintenance costs. Another way to reduce maintenance costs is to base your trucks’ service schedule on accurate engine usage hours instead of an arbitrary calendar. This helps to eliminate unnecessary repairs and potential hours and revenue lost, allowing you to make the most of your fleet while still taking great care of them.
  3. Find Ways to Save Money on Fuel — As a fleet manager, it almost always comes down to budget. And one of the biggest portions (we’re talking between 50% and 65%) of overall operating costs is dedicated to fueling costs. As mentioned above, having a good management system and GPS tracking in place can help you develop an excellent management strategy. You’ll be able to monitor your drivers’ driving performance, habits, and behavior and monitor fuel usage, which directly affects fuel consumption. By tracking and analyzing this information, you’ll be alerted to issues sooner than you may have been otherwise. Moreover, tracking this info will keep you apprised of any safety concerns, such as aggressive driving. Addressing these issues will help you reduce operational costs associated with your fuel budget.
  4. Perfect and Optimize Your Drivers’ Routes — Customers and clients demand quick and on-time deliveries, so taking the perfect and optimal route is absolutely crucial. Your business’ reputation counts on it! Inaccurate arrival time estimates, delays, and inefficient routes will only lead to frustration. Hiccups and issues along the way are bound to happen and are an inevitable part of any industry, including trucking. But, by automating customer notifications and other processes, fleet managers can experience a lot less stress, allowing them to spend time and put their focus elsewhere.
  5. Prioritize Your Drivers’ Health and Wellness — One of the biggest parts of developing a good truck fleet management strategy is prioritizing your team’s health and wellness. Feeling isolated on the road comes with being a truck driver; it’s part of the territory. So fleet managers who promote a healthy work-life balance and positive mental health are typically much more successful.

Here are some ways managers can prioritize employees’ health:

Include EpicVue in Your Truck Fleet Management Strategy

Developing a truck fleet management strategy is essential to the success of your business, and EpicVue is here to help make it happen. EpicVue will outfit your fleet with premium in-cab television so your drivers can enjoy a bit of home on the road and catch up on their favorite shows. Contact EpicVue today to learn more.