Transport truck drivers (NOC 7511)

About this job

Transport truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport goods and materials over urban, interurban, provincial and international routes. This unit group also includes drivers of special purpose trucks and shunters who move trailers to and from loading docks within trucking yards or lots.

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People in this occupation:

  • work for trucking, transportation and manufacturing companies
  • may be self-employed
  • must have excellent driving skills, good judgment, an ability to remain focused for extended periods of time and to react quickly in emergency situations
  • should enjoy meeting new people as well as working alone and should have good time-management and organizational abilities
  • are expected to be aware of various regulations governing truck transportation, including record-keeping requirements, weights and dimensions regulations and acceptable routing
Common job titles
  • driver, automobile carrier
  • driver, bulk goods truck - bulk milk / oil
  • driver, cement truck / ready-mix truck
  • driver, moving truck / van
  • driver, shunt truck / shunter
  • driver, tractor-trailer / truck-trailer
  • driver, automobile carrier
  • driver, bulk goods truck - bulk milk / oil
  • driver, cement truck / ready-mix truck
  • driver, LCV (long combination vehicle)
  • driver, liquid fertilizer truck
  • driver, log truck / logging truck

Duties

Long-haul transport truck drivers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate and drive primarily tractor-trailor, long-combination vehicle and straight-body trucks weighing over 4500 kg to transport goods and materials over long distances
  • Plan trip logistics and obtain required documentation to transport goods
  • Perform pre-trip, en route and post-trip inspection of vehicle systems, equipment and accessories such as tires, lights and turning signals, brakes and cold storage
  • Ensure cargo is secured properly in accordance with safety requirements and follow safety procedures for transporting dangerous goods
  • Obtain special permits and other documents required to transport cargo on international routes
  • Record cargo information, hours of service, distance travelled and fuel consumption
  • Administer bills of lading and manually or electronically maintain log books
  • Communicate with dispatcher, other drivers and customers using communication devices and on-board computers
  • May perform emergency roadside repairs
  • May drive as part of a two-person team or convoy
  • May transport hazardous products or dangerous goods.

Short-haul and local transport truck drivers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate and drive primarily straight trucks to transport goods and materials mainly on local routes and short inter-urban routes
  • Perform pre-trip, en route and post-trip inspection and oversee all aspects of vehicle such as condition of equipment, and loading and unloading of cargo
  • May drive special purpose trucks such as tow trucks, dump trucks, hydrovac trucks or cement mixing trucks.

Work environment

Working conditions for long-haul truck drivers and local truck drivers differ to some degree. Local truck drivers typically make many deliveries throughout the day. Because they serve local businesses, their hours are mostly dictated by regular business hours.

Long-haul drivers move goods between cities and across the continent. They often drive throughout the night when traffic is low, for shifts up to, but not exceeding, 14 hours. Schedules may also be flexible. Because long-haul drivers can spend a significant time away from home, many trucks are equipped with "sleeper" cabs and modern amenities, such as TVs, microwaves and computers.

Truck drivers spend most of their time driving and sitting in seats that are generally comfortable. However, it is not uncommon for drivers to develop back or neck injuries from sitting for long periods of time or from loading and unloading cargo.

Most truck drivers work alone. Some long-haul drivers may drive with a co-worker and rotate shifts.

Insights from industry

Since this is a large occupational group, a significant number of openings are expected. New openings will result from growth in the Transportation and Warehousing industry.

Many additional openings will result from a high rate of worker turnover, especially in entry-level service sector positions, such as food delivery.

Industry sources report a current sufficient supply of qualified truck drivers, but expect this to change as the economy improves.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Truck drivers can progress to the control of heavier equipment by upgrading their licences.

Advancement into supervisory or management positions, or into non-driving occupations such as dispatcher, safety officer or driving trainer, is possible with additional training or experience.

Additional resources