How much a trucker earns in the USA and how to become one: the experience of an immigrant from Ukraine
$ 8 billion in revenue is not the budget of the leading country in the world, but the revenue of the freight transportation industry in the USA for 2018. In America, with their help deliver more than 70% of all cargo. And although due to the trade war with China, pandemics and protests, the volume of transportation and payment decreased, the truck driver remains a profession that guarantees stable and decent earnings, writes "Voice of America".
How to become the so-called truck driver in the United States and how much it costs to obtain a driver’s license for commercial vehicles, said the Ukrainian driver during a stop in Denver, Colorado. Ruslan Potushansky is one of the 3,5 million truck drivers in the United States.
Earlier this year, the Ukrainian migrant Ruslan Potushansky decided to try his hand at the profession of a trucker. According to him, a lot of Ukrainians in the USA work in the trucking business. Most of them do not see their family, but this work gives them the opportunity to support her, help their relatives in Ukraine, and indeed just work.
By education, Ruslan is a military financier. In the United States, he first had to master the skills of a builder. He was engaged in the organization of tourist trips. Subsequently, he received the right to drive commercial trucks: for this you must be a US citizen or have a green card (permanent resident card), or immigration status, which gives the right to work. Training in a driving school lasts 3-12 weeks and costs from 1500 to 6000 dollars, depending on the educational institution and staff. Drivers undergo a medical examination, pass theoretical and practical exams.
“I work on a trailer called flatbed. This is the platform on which you upload some designs, building materials. You yourself fix them and are responsible for absolutely everything. I must say that the speeds in America are not the same as in Ukraine, when you can drive 70 kilometers per hour. Here, the truck travels on average 100 kilometers per hour, ”Ruslan explains.“ Its weight is quite large, and if something falls on the road, this can lead to serious casualties. ”
Most of America has very good roads, says the truck driver. So an average of 700 miles (just over 1100 kilometers) can be driven per day. A novice trucker can count on average at 50 cents per mile on the road. About $ 50 a year. If the driver owns the truck, then at full load can earn twice as much. However, coronavirus significantly reduced the earnings of truckers.
“It was a very profitable business a couple of years ago,” says Ruslan. - A lot of people bought their trucks and worked for them themselves. Sometimes they put another driver in and thanks to this they earned pretty good money. But now, freight prices have fallen, and the same number of trucks left. Over time, relations with China deteriorated, then also coronavirus, and the market situation itself makes many people work almost to zero. ”
Ruslan works 3 weeks in a row, rests at home in Miami for a week. He came up with his own way to relieve fatigue and maintain physical fitness during a long drive.
“I am an active and quite social person, I have many friends, acquaintances,” he emphasizes. - Music is, of course, good, but I discovered audio books for myself. They save mobile communications and the Internet, because you can communicate with Ukraine, with Costa Rica, with Spain - with anyone you want. I know the guys who carry dumbbells, bars, horizontal bars with them. “I just push up, stretch every time I get out of the car, try to stretch my back - this is one of the most painful topics for all truck drivers: after 5-10 years, they all begin to treat their back.”
The operation of the freight transport industry is overseen by the appropriate agency under the US Department of Transportation. According to the rules, the driver can stay behind the wheel for 11 hours for a 14-hour period. He or she can return to work only after a 10-hour rest.
“During my life I tried a lot of professions: flight attendant, insurance specialist, travel guide, builder, electrician,” said Ruslan. “But I like this profession for the entire stay in America because I am constantly on the move, every time I see something new, I don’t stop on my travels and meet new people.”
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