Regional Truck Driving: A Career Overview

Regional truck driving exists between the worlds of over the road (OTR) and local truck driving. If you don't want to spend the weeks away from home required of OTR drivers, but you also don't want to spend most of your time off the highway making calls to nearby homes and businesses, regional truck driving may hit all the notes you need.

In this article, we'll discuss what regional driving is, how it differs from other types of trucking, what to expect from the career, what types of jobs you can expect, and the pros and cons of regional driving as a career. You'll also see salary and growth information and guidance to help determine if this job is right for you.

What is Regional Trucking?

Regional trucking refers to freight hauling within one geographical region, such as the Northeastern or Southwestern US. Most drivers work within a 1,000-mile radius and return home several times a month, often on the weekends.

What Are the Differences Between Regional, OTR, and Local Truck Driving?

The biggest difference between regional, OTR, and local trucking is how long drivers are away from home and how far they drive each load.

Regional truck drivers generally stay in a geographical region. For example, as a regional truck driver in Florida, you might drive to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. You'd likely return home every few days.

Local truckers deliver to a smaller region, generally 200-mile radius, and are home every evening.

OTR truckers are often on the road for weeks at a time and drive thousands of miles at a stretch.

Regional and local drivers can expect to earn a lower rate than OTR truckers but enjoy more time at home.

What Does a Regional Trucker Do?

As a regional trucker, you will be responsible for delivering goods within one region of the country. However, your job will require more than just driving.

Regional truckers also communicate with clients or dispatch, perform safety checks, maintain their truck (especially if you are an owner-operator), and track mileage. Depending on the freight you move, you may also be responsible for loading or unloading your trailer.

What Should I Expect as a Regional Truck Driver?

As a regional truck driver, you may enjoy benefits like being home several times a month, earning a higher rate than local truckers, and the freedom and adventure of exploring the region where you live.

Your experiences as a regional truck driver may vary based on the job you work and the type of freight you deliver.

What are Common Regional Truck Driving Jobs?

The jobs available for regional truckers are often related to regular deliveries such as food service, retail, mail, or residential moving. For example, you might deliver food to a local grocery store chain every week or help people move their household belongings in one geographical area.

How Much Time Do Regional Truckers Spend on the Road?

As a regional trucker, you can expect to spend a week or less on the road in any one stretch. Depending on your job, you might drive the same dedicated route every week or drive changing routes with different destinations.

What License is Required to Become a Regional Truck Driver?

Most regional truck driving jobs require you to hold a CDL A license. Depending on the type of freight you deliver, you might also need an endorsement for liquids and gases, double or triple trailers, or hazardous materials.

Pros and Cons of Regional Truck Driving

Pros:

  • Home every 4 to 10 days, sometimes more
  • Often earn higher wages than local drivers
  • Explore your region while earning a solid income
  • Many companies offer paid time off, including holidays
  • You may have a regular route, which is more predictable

Cons:

  • Lower wages than OTR trucking
  • Could be responsible for loading/unloading your freight
  • May be gone from home up to a week at a time
  • Quick turnaround of loads may mean you have little time out of the truck
  • Downtime between loads is often unpaid

Is Regional Trucking Right for Me?

Before deciding to pursue regional trucking, it's important to understand how it will impact your life. Many truckers prefer regional driving because it offers a good work-life balance and a decent income.

Remember, it's not all about driving. You'll also need to keep up with paperwork and make sure you adhere to rules and regulations. However, if you are independent, enjoy traveling, and are a hard worker, regional trucking can be a rewarding career.

On Reddit, regional driver Work_login shared:

"I found the regional work is the sweet spot for me. 200-1000 miles. Rates are still fairly high but I'm more relaxed and not constantly rushed. When I drive, I'm usually home every other day or every 2 days."

On the other hand, some drivers find the downtime between loads is frustrating. One new driver:

"I just completed my first load in a regional driving position. After unloading I got my next load. It is scheduled to load 5 hours later. Do most companies not pay anything for this time lag?"

Regional truck driving isn't an easy job, but it does have some perks. While you may work long hours, you can expect to be home for a few days at a time fairly regularly.

What Kind of Pay and Job Opportunities are there for Regional Truck Drivers?

According to O*Net, the trucking industry has a bright outlook, with an estimated 209,200 projected job openings in the next ten years. Truck drivers earn a median income of $45,260 per year, but the miles you drive can impact your income.

A regional truck driving job can be very rewarding if you are reliable and willing to work hard. Look at regional job listings in your area and get ready to launch your new career.