Trucks on the Go â A Look at Small Cargo Transport to Big Rigs
Career Path : Mechanic
They come rumbling down the road, thousands in motion at any time. With heavy cargos hauled behind by hard working diesel engines, theyâre the driving force behind the motion of material goods in North America. In a continent with more geography than people and an infrastructure supported by roads, not rail or canal, where other locations are serviced by train or barge, for the most part, when goods hit the ports, they come off the cargo ships in containers and find their way into transport training school graduates care, where they are unpacked, slapped with digital tags and dispatched on their way in the back of trucks.
The transport industry truck fleet is a mix of private contractors with their own rigs and professional drivers who drive company owned vehicles. In the cities, hauling is often on a smaller scale, in commercial vans and half trucks, but on the open road, thereâs space for big rigs. And these are heavy and dangerous! Trucks that exceed about 16, 600 lbs. need to have specially licenced drivers, but the biggest trucks can be pulling several tons of cargo around. Some have built in hauling areas, while others rely on being a detachable cab that can pull any cargo.
Drivers of the biggest rigs need to be prepared to spend long hours away from home. A whole subculture has risen up around the drivers, with their truck stop habits and specialized radio jargon. Most cabs carry a radio. Back at home base there will be dispatcher co-ordinating things, increasingly a graduate of dispatcher courses, but drivers also talk to each other on the go, sharing road hazards and looking out for each other.
These drivers have a good idea of the risks of the road. As part of their licensing process they know all the safety regulations for the cargos they can carry, whether they are explosive, corrosive, poisonous or have to be kept under temperature controls. Additionally, further laws control the number of hours a driver can spend on the road before rest, mandating regular sleep to avoid accidents caused by fatigue. Truck drivers must also keep an immaculate driving record to keep employed in their profession.
Heavy engines need a qualified person to service them. Generally this involves more than basic training, but any reputable auto mechanic school will also be able to certify graduates to work on large diesel engines. Some, larger companies will have their own in house mechanics, and trucks stops along traditional transport routes are also experienced with dealing with on the road repairs. Nonetheless, not every city garage has the equipment and scale to handle jobs like this. Some drivers, especially those who own their own rigs, will do their own repairs.
Visit Canadian Automotive & Trucking Institute for an example of a transport training school.