Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

risk level
Based on 568 votes
by year 2032
or $26.11 per hour
as of 2023

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Automation risk

86% (Imminent Risk)

Imminent Risk (81-100%): Occupations in this level have an extremely high likelihood of being automated in the near future. These jobs consist primarily of repetitive, predictable tasks with little need for human judgment.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Manual Dexterity

User poll

49% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted they are unsure if this occupation will be automated. However, the automation risk level we have generated suggests a much higher chance of automation: 86% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Moderate growth relative to other professions

The number of 'Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers' job openings is expected to rise 4.3% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


Moderately paid relative to other professions

In 2023, the median annual wage for 'Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers' was $54,320, or $26 per hour

'Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers' were paid 13.0% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $48,060

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Significantly greater range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2023 there were 2,044,400 people employed as 'Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers' within the United States.

This represents around 1.3% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 74 people are employed as 'Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers'.

Job description

Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,001 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). May be required to unload truck. Requires commercial drivers' license. Includes tow truck drivers.

SOC Code: 53-3032.00


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Leave a comment

Evan (Uncertain) says
because i think that we could make self driving trucks, but the driver itself has to problem solve like first off what if the truck is about to run over a car but the sencors are broken in that area. but if we had a human driver then they could problem solve and quick swerve away
Apr 29, 2024 at 02:28 PM
Lars says
I don't think automation will be possible within 50 years for this type of work. Just think of the train that in the maximum line could also be automated immediately, but if you always try to have a train driver on board. Artificial intelligence is still too immature to be used in such a dangerous job. In conclusion, the truck driver is a job that is still too specialized and varied, to be robotic.
Apr 28, 2024 at 08:55 PM
Shayne Thomas (Low) says
I just don't believe autonomous trucking could become a thing unless people were to give up their ability to drive themselves. If no one drove and it was just robots then it is a very plausible scenario. It would probably be safer and more efficient than if humans were driving the same trucks. The counter to that, I would say, is that it would only be that way if only robots were driving. This is because of human error, being impatient, not being a good driver, and driving under the influence. There are many factors to include when putting human drivers into the equation that cannot be calculated by a machine. Personally, I don't want to give up my own freedom to drive so companies could be slightly more efficient and I'm sure there are a lot of others who would feel similar.
Mar 25, 2024 at 08:24 PM
Josh (Uncertain) says
Seems no one has visited this section in awhile. I think it's safe to say all previous comments and this assessment itself was based off over-hyped technology that has proven to be much more complicated than initially thought. The eventual automation of commercial drivers is probably high but still decades away with the current challenges.
Nov 01, 2023 at 02:18 PM
Anonymous (Uncertain) says
It's going to be automated; it's not debatable. The question is, "How soon will it happen?" My guess is that it's going to take another 20 to 50 years before the technology is sophisticated enough to displace human beings. At that point, it'd no longer be an attractive or plausible occupation for most.

If you're in your 30s, you can likely still make an income from trucking, and you may even be able to ride it out until retirement. However, if you're the next generation of kids, probably not.
Jan 30, 2023 at 02:01 PM
Jeremy says
It's truly the case that Tesla is leading with the new Cyber Trucks and future models. How much profit can be made by just selling 1,000 trucks? There is a huge market.

All they need is a new law with dedicated trucker lanes, similar to bike or bus lanes.
Aug 15, 2022 at 11:31 PM
2nd rule of the pirate code: Curfew by 10 PM says
"All they need is a new law with dedicated trucker lanes, similar to bike or bus lanes."
So, you want a dedicated lane for a Heavy vehicle to drive through, which the heavy vehicle in question is dedicated solely to transporting materials and goods.

You are describing a Train.
But specifically a train that moves on streets and highways. If there are two things the U.S loves (assuming we are talking specifically about the U.S), it's Guns and Cars. I doubt people would be too happy letting a big portion of driveable area get used up nor would they be happy to have it drive next to them, because the fear of it malfunctioning would be heightened. That's also not to mention how primitive the ai is for self driving, and the potential ethical concerns.

I do think that Ai will replace delivery jobs like this, but It'll most likely be in a form that would have the least potential to cause damage, like a drone or a train out in the middle of nowhere.
Oct 27, 2023 at 09:01 PM
Mr. Nobody (Low) says
Certain cities have a very tight shipping/receiving docks, not to mention the streets.. who’s going to chain up the tires in the snow?
Jul 12, 2022 at 08:03 PM
Nathan (Moderate) says
Even though working on trucks will become safer, it will still be unsafe and there is a likelihood of getting hurt.
May 22, 2022 at 11:16 PM
Mark (Low) says
Parts of the trucking industry are likely to be automated in the next 20 years. For instance, long-distance convoys. But truckers do more than just drive. They also do maintenance, load balancing, inspections, and sometimes loading and unloading at destinations.

As such, for short-haul routes, the "driving" part is a relatively minor part of the job. Even if it's automated, the trucker is still needed. For long-haul routes, robotic convoys will indeed eliminate the need for some drivers. But each convoy will still need a shepherd for the other duties that can't be substantially eliminated in that period of time.
Apr 19, 2022 at 01:05 PM
Matt (Highly likely) says
As a truck driver, I have mixed views on automated driving. I don't see any evidence that a truck could be 100% autonomous in my lifetime. There is so much more to trucking than just driving, a lot more.
Jan 25, 2022 at 05:22 PM
Ry says
Lol, if you've ever been a local city truck driver, this will never happen. Maybe interstate driving could be automated for the mega-corporations, but local driving in a major city? Probably never. The fact that this has such a high likelihood of getting votes proves that you shouldn't blindly believe anyone on the internet who tells you anything. Most of the votes are clearly not from anyone in the industry.
Dec 31, 2021 at 01:03 AM
RB Hopson (Low) says
Although the tech will be here soon, I think the infrastructure required to fully automate this sector will take much longer to implement.
Oct 08, 2021 at 02:20 PM
Nico Cione (Highly likely) says
I think that there will be driverless electric-powered trucks in the future.
Sep 09, 2021 at 03:15 PM
Mr. T (Highly likely) says
Especially long haul transport will be vulnerable because these routes are less complex to automize. Short-haul transport will stay relevant a little longer. Although there will be massive competition, due to the low entry barriers of starting at this job.
Sep 07, 2021 at 10:29 AM
Steve (Highly likely) says
Based on the current processes, and the vast evolution of self driving cars
Aug 28, 2021 at 04:08 PM
Andrea (No chance) says
A robot cannot replace the instincts of human driving knowledge, especially during extreme weather conditions. I haven’t even begun to discuss pre trip inspections or backing and parking a trailer in a dock. This takes many years to master. This is not like driving a car. Robots will NEVER replace a human driver.
Jun 13, 2021 at 09:09 PM
Ryan R says
Likely sooner. There are already semi trucks with AI learn cameras installed on them going around. Won't be shocked if it's sooner than a decade.
Jun 03, 2021 at 11:42 PM
Steve W. says
Bad news: Search for "This Year, Autonomous Trucks Will Take to the Road With No One on Board"
Autonomous trucks are here! Expect to find a new career as early as 2024.
May 12, 2021 at 04:31 AM
William Sturges (Low) says
Still will need a person in truck. Robots will not fuel truck or complete a UsDot inspection. It also can not get and sign paperwork or know what loading/unloading door or dock is required.
Apr 14, 2021 at 12:59 PM
R.D. (Low) says
Interfacing with the customer...a robot? The tractor's today are overweight with computer help and, create more of a problem. Just ask any truckdriver.
Mar 13, 2021 at 07:48 PM

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