Skilled Trades

What Is a Regional Truck Driver?

Skilled TradesDecember 11, 2023

What if there were a type of truck driving that combined extended periods of highway driving with opportunities to be home after only several days of work?

There is.

Regional truck driving provides the highway-based travel of over-the-road (OTR) trucking with the shorter periods away from home that come with local truck driving. In fact, some local truck drivers, who generally complete their deliveries within a day, look to regional truck driving as a way to gauge whether they want to move into OTR trucking. 

For many, the day-to-day responsibilities, work environment, required skills, and job outlook of a regional truck driver are a great long-term fit for their career.

Whether they are still considering which type of tractor trailer driving they want to pursue, or they already have a plan in place for their career, a commercial driving program can provide aspiring truck drivers with the skills they will need to pursue licensing and get started.

What Does a Regional Truck Driver Do?

Regional truck drivers haul freight from one place to another, carrying the goods and materials in articulated trucks or straight vehicles. Articulated trucks, often called tractor trailers, have a front compartment, or tractor, that houses the engine and the cab, or cabin. Their removable back unit, or trailer, carries the freight for shipment. Straight trucks, on the other hand, have a single frame that does not come apart.

A regional truck driver hauls freight in these vehicles within a specific area — instead of traveling nationally or internationally like OTR truckers, or driving within an area of just a few hundred miles like local truckers. 

Job Responsibilities of Regional Truck Drivers</h3>

Regional truck drivers transport various materials that are typically within a 1,000-mile radius. Their day-to-day tasks can include the following:

  • Driving a commercial truck to deliver and pick up materials
  • Securing the cargo on the truck 
  • Following traffic laws
  • Inspecting the truck before and after trips and recording any issues
  • Performing basic maintenance on the truck
  • Keeping updated driving logs
  • Reporting any on-road incidents to a dispatcher

Depending on the job and regulations related to it, regional truck drivers may also be responsible for loading and unloading the freight they transport.

Work Environment for Regional Truck Drivers

Regional truckers transport goods ranging from machinery to mail. For communications equipment manufacturers, for example, these truck drivers may transport cellphones or satellites. For express delivery companies, they may transport parcels.

Unlike local truck drivers, who spend much of their time on local roads, regional truck drivers generally spend their time on highways. Unlike OTR drivers, their routes are limited to a region that spans one part of the country, such as a few states or an area of the country like the Northeast or Midwest.

Because they regularly travel within the same area, they generally become familiar with the roads, traffic patterns, and weather they encounter on their route.

Regional truck driving often requires several consecutive days of travel, including overnight stays. Depending on their employer’s policy, regional truck drivers typically work for several days at a time and then are home for several days. With this schedule, regional truck drivers can be home more frequently than the typical OTR trucker.

Regional Truck Driver Industries

With the broad array of cargo that regional truck drivers may be responsible for hauling, they work in various industries. The industries that employ regional truck drivers for shipping products, equipment, and other materials include the following:

  • Natural gas
  • Communications 
  • Sporting events
  • Medical 
  • Mail service
  • Express delivery
  • Food services
  • Electric power
  • Moving
  • Construction

Regional Truck Driver Fundamental Skills

Becoming a regional truck driver typically requires that the candidate be at least 18, although many employers require that their drivers be at least 21. These truckers generally must have a good driving record and a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for their state. Training programs are available for learning the skills that can prepare aspiring truck drivers to pursue this license. 

The skills and knowledge required of regional truck drivers can include the following:

  • Mastery of how to operate the commercial truck required for the job
  • Understanding of any applicable road and safety laws and regulations
  • Familiarity with the goods and materials they transport
  • Knowledge of the general maintenance that their trucks require and how to perform it
  • Ability to sit for long periods of time and, as necessary, lift cargo for delivery
  • Hand-eye coordination, vision, and hearing to react as needed to conditions such as traffic and the weather

Regional Truck Driver: What Is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects about 241,200 openings for heavy truck drivers — or those whose vehicles, passengers, and freight exceed 26,000 pounds — each year between 2022 and 2032. This figure includes regional truck driving roles. The BLS outlook places heavy and tractor trailer truck driving among the 15 occupations with the highest rates of projected growth nationwide for 2022 to 2032.

Driving these job openings is the fact that trucks are responsible for transporting most U.S. freight. As home and business demand for goods and materials increases, so does the need for additional truck drivers, and anticipated growth in e-commerce could fuel demand for truckers to deliver items such as parcels and groceries. 

Prepare for a Regional Truck Driving Career

Regional truck driving offers opportunities to haul goods and materials on highway-based  routes within a region of the country. With almost 250,000 job openings for heavy truck drivers projected annually through 2032, now could be the perfect time for you to pursue the licensing required for this career.

The commercial driving program at Fortis offers behind-the-wheel training and test preparation to work toward a CDL and an entry-level role in truck driving. In its Advanced Tractor Trailer Driving program, Fortis uses classroom, simulation, and behind-the-wheel training to teach:

  • Truck driving skills
  • Safety procedures
  • Mechanics
  • Policies and laws

Explore how the commercial driving program at Fortis can put you on the path to achieving your career goals.

Recommended Readings
Five Tips to Help Juggle School, Work and Family
How Women Are Shaping the Future of Truck Driving
Signs You Need a Career Change

Fundamental, What Is the Difference Between OTR, Regional, and Local Trucking?
Indeed Career Guide, Regional Trucking vs. Local Trucking: What’s the Difference?
Indeed Career Guide, “Truck Driving Skills: Definition and Examples”
The Haulers Club, “What Is a Regional Truck Driver and What Do They Do?”, “The Best-Paying Industries for Employee Truck Drivers”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry and Occupational Employment Projections Overview and Highlights, 2022-2032
ZipRecruiter, What Is a Regional Truck Driver and How to Become One