For individuals who are just beginning their trucking careers or for those who aren’t professional drivers, trucking industry lingo can be somewhat bemusing. One of the more confusing aspects that this article aims to clear up is the difference between national, regional, and local trucking and to clarify the different names associated with each form of truck driving work.

Different Trucking Jobs Explained

National Trucking (OTR)

National trucking is commonly referred to as Over-the-road trucking (OTR) by truck drivers but is also referred to as long-haul trucking. OTR drivers regularly haul a variety of goods across the continental United States and may travel from one end of the country to the other in one trip.

Regional Trucking

Regional trucking refers to hauling freight in a defined area or division. For example, a regional driver delivering loads to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois would cover the Midwestern region. Regional drivers might also have a dedicated route which consists of making regular deliveries to the same clients. Regional drivers typically drive throughout the week and are home for the weekends.

Local Trucking

Local Trucking jobs are performed for a regional trucking company or maybe even a shipping company or manufacturer. Local trucking, or domestic routes, usually reside within 100 miles or so of the shipment location ensuring that the driver won’t have any overnight stays. Local drivers typically drive a company owned truck versus their own.

Which Type of Trucking is Better?

National (OTR) Driving Pros & Cons

Long haul or OTR truckers have the most varied schedules out of any other form of truck driving. Additionally, they spend the most time away from home compared to regional or local drivers. Therefore, if you are going into long-haul trucking, prepare to spend a significant amount of time on the road.

Because ORT truckers can remain away from home for weeks at a time, they typically enjoy the highest pay rate within drivers. OTR CDL truck drivers earned an average salary of $82,000 per year in 2015. The “reset period” is the downtime between national hauls, and even though national drivers will spend two, three, or even four weeks away from home at a time, they also enjoy longer respites in between driving jobs.

An additional benefit of national trucking routes is for the professional driver who is a traveler at heart. When driving national OTR routes, you get paid to visit scenic spots and landmarks all over the country.  National, OTR drivers also have slightly more freedom over their daily schedule, by choosing how far you wanted to drive in a given day and where you will run out of hours to arrive in a more desirable truck stop.

Regional Driving Pros & Cons

Regional and local trucking are often lumped together into the same category of short-haul trucking. The biggest appeal to these types of trucking jobs is that with short stints comes more home time. Furthermore, because you will have a regular schedule with short-haul trucking, you’ll become intimate with your route and can develop a relationship with your customers.

Although regional and local driving jobs allow for a better work/life balance, you typically get paid by the mile, so you are on a tight schedule. When you’re paid by the mile, things such as getting caught in traffic or spending additional time loading and unloading can negatively affect your paycheck.

Local Driving Pros & Cons

Local drivers, when compared to their counterparts, are typically the lowest paying of the three major types of truck driving jobs. Additionally, local drivers are often required to load and unload the freight that they are hauling.

Despite the lower pay rate, local drivers enjoy several benefits including being at home every night and shorter drive times.

Roane Transportation’s Difference

When comparing long-haul to short-haul driving, there are a few personal decisions to be made; however, the takeaway should be that there is a broad spectrum of professional driving jobs to suit all personalities and lifestyles. Roane Transportation not only pays one of the highest rates per mileage for its National drivers, but also offers our regional and local drivers the option of being paid a salary or by their mileage. Professional drivers looking for better routes, better pay, and more home time should contact us today by filling out an online application.