Truck driver

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A long-distance driver is commonly referred to as someone who drives a truck in long-distance goods transport .

Old truck driver's hat

Origin of the term

The term long-distance driver comes from a time in which road haulage outside a 50-kilometer zone was heavily regulated by licensing and allocation as well as price regulations. The distinction between local and long-distance traffic gave rise to the term long-distance driver. With the liberalization of road haulage from 1998, which removed the restrictions on long-distance transport, the term long-distance driver is basically obsolete, but it is still very common. The truck driver myths of freedom and space live on in the term . In addition to the word long-distance driver , the synonyms "captain of the country road" , trucker , driver , chauffeur are also used . The official job title for truck drivers is professional driver (BKF).


Mechanical tachograph with written record sheet

A truck driver for heavy trucks requires a special driver's license and, if he carries out transports with hazardous substances that are subject to labeling, an ADR certificate . He must also carry a driver card on which speeds, driving times and other data are recorded by means of a control device (digital tachograph ). The driver must adhere to the prescribed driving and rest times. Police , trade supervisory authorities or, in Germany, the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) check the records and the status of traffic safety and load securing in companies or on the road .

Europe can use the big trucks, saddle and articulated trains , which are mainly driven by truck drivers, up to 16.5 m, articulated trains even be m up to 18.75. In Belgium , the Netherlands , Sweden , Denmark and Finland , a maximum length of 26.50 m is allowed. The weight of the vehicles can be up to 40 t (in combined transport up to 44 t), in the other aforementioned countries even up to 60 t.

A truck driver is expected to find his way quickly in unknown areas and to reach his destination by the fastest route. Even in the age of modern navigation devices , the ability to orientate is advantageous if the journey should not end at a bridge that is too low, a road with restricted weight or a passage that is too narrow. Blind trust in navigation devices often leads to random journeys and wrong journeys, since, for reasons of cost, many drivers only use devices whose map material does not contain any size, weight or hazardous substance restrictions. The truck option, which can be set in many devices, only determines a longer driving time, but does not take into account any special driving routes. When planning a route, the driver must also consider whether roads for certain trucks are temporarily banned from driving, such as a night driving ban or a driving ban during the holiday season .

In addition, long-haul drivers should have a good sense of proportion and a feeling for the truck's movements in order to be able to maneuver the vehicle with centimeter precision if necessary. Drivers without truck driving experience often underestimate these requirements and therefore have little understanding of the truck driver's situation.

Only 1.7 percent of all truck drivers in Germany are women.

Everyday truck drivers

A truck driver naturally spends a lot of time far away from his home town and is often separated from his family on weekends. His tours are often not planned in such a way that the driver is back home before the start of the Sunday driving ban . He then has to wait for the end of the driving ban in a parking lot. In many cases, drivers also have to drive again on Sunday from 10 p.m. so that they can unload to a distant customer on Monday morning. That means night work for the truck driver with the associated health problems. A disturbed day / night rhythm and fatigue are common causes of accidents in which trucks are involved.

With the development of on-board computers, electronic achievements found their way into trucks from around 1990. At that time, the federal government had placed an order with the aerospace industry for the commercial vehicle surveillance system 2000 ( NÜS 2000 ). Today, satellite monitoring ( GPS ) opens up completely new possibilities in the company's PC with seamless real-time control of trucks and drivers.

The relevant rules on the observance of certain weekly consecutive rest periods (45 or 24 hours) leave open whether the rest periods are granted on a weekend or during the week. There is often no guarantee that the 45-hour rest period can be taken on the weekend.

In practice, economic constraints and tough competition repeatedly lead transport companies to disregard regulations on driving and rest times. Cost and time pressures in the freight forwarding industry are often passed on to the employed truck drivers, who in turn do not defend themselves out of concern for their jobs. Due to the steadily increasing traffic, the search for a parking space in motorway parking lots, service areas and truck stops has become increasingly difficult. This results in an increased risk of accidents if the driver is forced to continue driving despite being exhausted after searching in vain for a parking space.


An increasing problem is also the theft or robbery of vehicles or cargo. B. so-called tarpaulin slicers try to steal goods from the hold. Guarded truck security parking spaces are hardly available and cost around 25 euros per night. Alarm systems available on the market are not yet widely used, although state subsidies such as de minimis aid recognize and promote some systems.

Distances in long-distance traffic

With the increasing use of digital technology, it is now possible to continuously monitor the truck driver from a distance. So z. For example, by using telemetry, not only the location but also vehicle data can be retrieved from the dispatch department at any time . Depending on the equipment of the forwarding agent, the tours are planned in detail before departure.

Long-distance drivers often cover distances of thousands of kilometers to distant countries. The average number of kilometers per day with full driving time and a prescribed maximum speed of 60 km / h out of town and up to 80 km / h on motorways and two-lane motorways with central lane delimitation for heavy trucks is a legal 600 to 800 km.

By exceeding the driving times and the speeds in long-distance traffic, however, a daily output of 800 to 1200 km can be expected. B. in Germany because of increased traffic jams and in Norway because of poor roads are lower than in other countries with better and less traveled roads, such as Spain or France .

If you compare the daily performance of trucks in long-distance transport in Europe, e.g. B. with those in the USA , one finds that double the average daily performance is common there. However, this is not only due to the higher travel speeds of the trucks (65 mph ≈ 105 km / h are common there, instead of the 90 km / h usually driven in Europe), but above all to the fact that in Europe the rest period only applies then when the truck is parked. In the USA, which also has driving and rest time regulations, it is also considered a rest time when one driver sleeps while the other continues to drive the truck. In addition, European social regulations do not allow a real doubling of the weekly driving time of a truck when a second driver is used. Although labor costs have doubled, a truck in Europe can only legally be moved about 60 to 70 percent longer in a two-man operation than in a one-man operation. Therefore, in Europe, two-man operation of a truck or bus is only commercially viable in low-wage countries or with very sophisticated vehicle and personnel dispatching. For the staff, this has the disadvantage that two long-distance drivers have to stay together in the driver's cab for around 20 hours.

Workplace of the truck driver

Scania type cab construction

Long-distance trucks are usually equipped with loungers in the driver's cab . The often large and high cab designs have a relatively large number of storage cupboards. In modern motor vehicles one can also increasingly find cruise control systems , ( auxiliary ) air conditioning systems and auxiliary heaters , small refrigerators, etc. Despite this modest level of comfort, the driver only has about four square meters available.

In long-distance transport within their own country, the long-distance driver is usually at home every weekend, in international long-distance transport, on the other hand, there can be weeks between home visits. Long-distance drivers from Eastern Europe, whose main area of ​​activity is Western Europe, are sometimes on the road for months, the replacement often takes place by means of a car or van , with which the new driver arrives and continues in Western Europe, while the replaced driver takes the several thousand kilometers home with the Sprinter and stays there for a week or two and then finally takes over from another colleague in Western Europe with a car or van. The truck hardly ever comes to the home location.

To increase efficiency, rolling systems are increasingly being introduced and the drivers are flexibly assigned to changing daily routes with variable deployment times. This means a departure from the long-standing tradition in which every driver had a permanent truck in which he had made himself comfortable.

Future of the job

In July 2014, Daimler AG presented the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 , a truck prototype with the Highway Pilot assistance system . This enables the truck prototype to drive autonomously on the motorway at speeds of up to 85 km / h. According to Wolfgang Bernhard , board member of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses , “a market launch of the Highway Pilot in the middle of the next decade is conceivable”. The Daimler press release says about the future of the truck driver's job:

“After all, the Highway Pilot significantly enhances the truck driver's job description. The system not only relieves the driver of monotonous activities, but also gains time for tasks that were previously reserved for dispatching, for example. Opportunities for advancement from driving to a transport manager are conceivable. The job of truck driver is becoming more attractive - autonomous driving is therefore also an answer to the driver shortage. "

Situation in Germany

Sticker for the search for German truckers as workers

The occupation of truck driver or motor vehicle driver ( professional driver - BKF) is declining in the development of employment relationships subject to social insurance (professional code 7140 / classification 52122) for the period from 1999 to 2005. At the beginning of 2019, there was a shortage of around 60,000 BKF in Germany and around 15,000 BKF per year also become retired due to age. The qualified offspring have only passed the IHK final examination with an average of approx. 1500 BKF over the last 10 years. In addition, around 7,000 retraining courses with 140 hours of basic BKF courses were carried out by the ARGE per year.

On September 30, 2007, around 792,000 drivers were registered. A third of all professional drivers in 2007 were older than 50 years and half were between 35 and 49 years old. While the Federal Employment Agency was still looking for 16,210 drivers in March 2007, drivers were cut back from January 2009 for the first time in around three years.

Due to the positive economic developments in the transport industry in 2008, there was an increase of around 34,000 drivers, so that as of September 30, 2008, almost 803,000 drivers were employed. As a result of the financial and economic crisis, around 118,000 drivers were registered as unemployed in June 2009; compared to 2008, only around 30,000 drivers were newly unemployed. In 2009 there were over 54,000 German hauliers in the road haulage sector, of which 21% or 11,340 self-driving individual entrepreneurs and 57% small businesses. The possibility of up to 5,000 hauliers going bankrupt would have lost over 60,000 jobs.

After the economic recovery from mid-2010, truck drivers were increasingly sought again. Driver shortages cause bigger problems than tolls or liberalization; Gerald Hensel , chairman of the vocational training committee at BGL , named the aging of the driving staff as the main cause . "We therefore expect an annual demand of 25,000 to 30,000 new drivers for commercial goods transport alone, even if the economy is subdued."

In June 2019, the Federal Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics (DSLV) and the Federal Association of Goods Transport, Logistics and Disposal (BGL) reported that the logistics industry in Germany was short of 45,000 to 60,000 truck drivers. The reasons given for the driver shortage were the image of the profession and the quality of work, but also the suspension of compulsory military service in the summer of 2011 . The Bundeswehr continues to be one of the largest institutions for training in the motor vehicle sector.

Working hours and wages

According to § 21a ArbZG , the weekly working hours of the driving staff may not exceed an average of 48 hours per week within a four month period. This results in a maximum monthly working time of 208 hours. Stand-by and other waiting times at the loading and unloading points are often not remunerated and therefore the earnings of the truck drivers are generally poor.

In Germany it is not mandatory that the regular weekly rest period of 45 hours at the weekend must be taken at home in the family center of life. Section 10 (2) of the federal collective bargaining agreement for long-distance freight and furniture transport (BMT-F.) Stipulated that drivers were allowed to spend at least two Sundays at the location or at their home location and were entitled to five additional days of vacation in the calendar year. The validity of the collective agreement was terminated in 1993, however. It only works for certain long-term truck drivers.

From a sociological point of view , truck drivers are particularly often among the working poor , i.e. people who live in poverty despite working . In June 2007 the gross hourly wages fluctuated between 12.58 euros in Baden-Württemberg and 6.66 euros in Thuringia. A fixed monthly wage is often paid. According to a report in the February 2010 issue of Fernfahrer magazine, the hourly wage for professional drivers in Schleswig-Holstein is EUR 9.99, Bavaria EUR 11.04, Saxony-Anhalt EUR 6.73, Thuringia EUR 6.66 and Lower Saxony 9. 41 euros. The collective bargaining agreements evaluated by the BAG in Cologne in October 2017 include hourly rates in Thuringia of € 11.21; in Bavaria € 13.10; in NRW € 12.63.

From 2015 there is now the minimum wage according to the Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG) of 8.50 euros. The truck driver, however, receives a salary because he performs a steering activity as a truck driver service for up to 195 hours a month on average. In recent years, truck drivers from the CEE countries have given German truckers considerable competition through their low salaries. The improvement to the collective bargaining situation of truck drivers with the responsible trade union Ver.di is not promising. Depending on the state, only up to 30 percent of the transport companies are organized according to collective agreements. Above all, the truck driver often accomplishes up to 52 hours a month with extra activities, for example with work readiness or duty. However, the truck driver is only allowed to work a total of 208 hours on average over a period of four months, so that he would have to get some time off. Most of the time, this time is agreed as an opt-out time .


  • Christian Jungblut (also photos): Trucker: The obsessed with the street. In: Geo-Magazin. Hamburg 1979.1, pp. 130-148. Informative report about truck drivers as far as the Orient. ISSN  0342-8311

Web links

Wiktionary: Fernfahrer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Anna Fastabend: A female truck driver among men: Princess on the Autobahn . In: The daily newspaper: taz . January 1, 2019, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed February 7, 2019]).
  2. "We are always stupid" . In: The daily newspaper: taz . June 8, 2020, ISSN  0931-9085 , p. 27 ePaper 23 North ( [accessed June 9, 2020]).
  3. Driving and rest periods, Art. 8 Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 (see: Weekly rest period).
  4. Drei qm Deutschland , Süddeutsche Tageszeitung from October 26, 2003 - Authentic negative report from a truck driver
  5. Truck driver in need - there are no parking spaces ( Memento of the original from January 3, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , RP of June 9, 2008 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Norman Zellmer: Focus on Hesse: Tarpaulin slashers struck two and a half times as often in East Hesse as in 2013. Fuldaer Zeitung, July 26, 2016, accessed on February 2, 2017 .
  7. The situation at Europe's motorway rest areas is coming to a head ,, May 18, 2010.
  8. Working conditions of motor vehicle drivers (714) in BAG - Market observation master plan for freight transport and logistics 2009 , page 41 (PDF; 919 kB)
  9. World premiere: Daimler Trucks is presenting the truck of the future with the autonomously driving “Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025”. (No longer available online.) Daimler AG , July 3, 2014, formerly in the original ; Retrieved November 8, 2015 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  10. Lack of truck drivers - Verkehrsrundschau 14.05.2019 accessed on 30.05. 2019
  11. a b Working conditions of motor vehicle drivers (714) in BAG - Market observation master plan for freight traffic and logistics 2009 , from page 36 (PDF; 919 kB).
  12. ^ BGL business cycle analysis: worst quarter of all time. In: VerkehrsRundschau of March 17, 2009, accessed on December 23, 2016
  13. Wissmann demands suspension of the truck toll increase , VerkehrsRundschau of March 23, 2009, accessed on December 23, 2016
  14. A lack of drivers causes bigger problems than tolls or liberalization. In: VerkehrsRundschau from May 19, 2011, accessed on December 23, 2016
  15. Logistics industry is sounding the alarm: tens of thousands of truck drivers are missing. In: ZDF. June 2, 2019, accessed June 2, 2019 .
  16. Shortage of drivers is becoming a problem: the logistics industry is wooing women. In: n-tv. June 2, 2019, accessed June 2, 2019 .
  17. Federal Council approves new working time regulations for truck drivers ( Memento of February 14, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  18. according to the microcensus: poverty despite employment ( memento of June 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Download on January 24, 2008.
    + Working conditions of motor vehicle drivers (714) in BAG - Market observation master plan for freight transport and logistics 2009, page 45 (PDF; 919 kB )
  19. Salary of truck drivers and the demand of € 8 minimum wage , Fernfahrer magazine No. 2-2010, page 19
  20. BAG Annual Report 2017, page 28
  21. Professional driver wages on ascent and descent. In: Fernfahrer magazine