Over-the-road driver

Glossary / Commercial drivers / Over-the-road driver

An over-the-road (OTR) driver is a professional truck driver who transports goods and commodities over long distances. Spending extended periods of time on the road, these drivers travel across various parts of the country, delivering goods to their destinations. OTR drivers are the backbone of the trucking industry, ensuring the supply chain runs smoothly.

OTR drivers typically work for trucking companies or freight carriers, or they may be self-employed. They drive large, heavy-duty commercial trucks, also known as tractor-trailers, which can
weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. These trucks are designed to carry large quantities of goods and travel for long distances.

OTR drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and complete specialized training in the operation of commercial vehicles. This can include training in safety procedures, defensive driving techniques, and mechanical maintenance.

These individuals need to be skilled at driving in different weather conditions and on different types of terrain. But their job is not exclusively driving. They must also
conduct inspections to ensure that their vehicles are road safe. They must comply with all safety regulations, including weight restrictions and hours-of-service rules, as well.

OTR drivers often work long hours, sometimes spending weeks away from home, as they transport goods across the country. They need to be self-sufficient, as they may need to sleep in their truck, eat on the go, and manage their own time and schedule.

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Frequently Asked Questions

An over-the-road (OTR) driver refers to a truck driver who operates long-haul routes, typically covering extensive distances across different regions or even across the country.

OTR drivers spend a significant amount of time on the road, often traveling for days or weeks at a time,
delivering goods and cargo to various destinations. They are responsible for the timely and efficient transportation of goods over extended periods. They typically work for transportation companies or as independent contractors.

OTR driving offers opportunities for travel, independence, and potentially higher earnings. However, it also comes with long hours, time away from home, and potential challenges such as irregular schedules and health issues.

Consider factors like lifestyle preferences, work-life balance, and personal goals before determining if OTR driving is worth it for you.

In the trucking industry, over-the-road (OTR) typically refers to long-distance transportation that covers more than 250 miles. However, the exact distance considered as OTR can vary depending on the specific regulations and requirements of different companies and regions. Generally, OTR drivers spend extended periods on the road, often staying away from home for several weeks at a time to cover the long distances involved.

The term “over the road” emphasizes the extensive travel involved in this job. These truck drivers typically drive long distances on highways and travel across multiple states or regions, often spending extended periods away from home. Transporting goods over long distances, these drivers use an extensive road network to make deliveries to various destinations and support an efficient supply chain.