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Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers Pay Salary

The median annual wage of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $37,770 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than the amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,730, and the top 10 percent earned more than $57,480.  

Drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers are usually paid by how many miles they have driven, plus bonuses. The per-mile rate varies from employer to employer and may depend on the type of cargo. Some long-distance drivers, especially owner-operators, are paid a share of the revenue from shipping.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the hours that a long-haul truck driver may work. Drivers may not work more than 14 straight hours, 11 of which can be spent driving and the remaining time spent doing other work, such as unloading cargo. Between working periods, drivers must have at least 10 hours off duty. Also, drivers are limited to driving no more than 60 hours within 7 days or 70 hours within 8 days. They must take 34 hours off before starting another 7 or 8 day run. They must record their hours in a logbook. Truck drivers often work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition