What's the Difference Between Over the Road, Regional, and Local Trucking?

From CDL endorsements to comprehensive benefits, truck drivers have a wide variety of career options. When you have a career that spans the open road, you also have options with how you travel down it. Companies offer over-the-road (OTR), regional, and local trucking opportunities to choose from. By knowing what your options are ahead of time, you can come to a decision that best fits your lifestyle.

What Are the Different Types of Trucking Routes?

Over the Road

Also known as long haul drivers, these truckers journey the furthest from their main terminal. Their shipments will have them out on the road for sometimes weeks at a time. You’ll not only get to experience more of the sights the country has to offer but you’ll also make a good salary.

OTR trucking is one of the most lucrative trucking options. Without accounting for potential bonuses, benefits, and money made team driving, over-the-road drivers earn approximately $55,000 a year, according to Jobs.net.  

Since long haul truck drivers work so often, they receive extended time off. Many companies pay them during their off periods as further incentive.

There are also fringe benefits, such as extra freedom. Since you’re working for days and weeks at a time, you can drive whenever it suits you—during the day or at night—as long as your shipments arrive on time and you follow the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 11-hour driving limit, as referenced in The Balance.

You also won’t have to load or unload your freight—companies will have their employees handle it, allowing you to relax in between jobs.  


A regional truck driver based might have a route that covers parts or all of the areas they’re based in. For example, a local trucker might cover the tri-state area of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Regional drivers don’t travel as far, or for as long as over-the-road drivers and are home for the weekends. Like long haul drivers, regional truckers don’t do their own loading or unloading of freight.


Local drivers usually work for a single company and stay near to their main terminal. The limited road time allows these truck drivers to work in the morning and return home at night, though there are the occasional overnight deliveries.

The set schedule means you’ll likely be home on weekends and travel the same route daily, fulfilling deliveries for the same clients.

How to Choose What’s Best for Your Lifestyle

Young and single truckers might be enticed by OTR driving, given its pay scale and the ability to travel across the nation.

As you age and you start a family, regional and local jobs provide a solid standard of living while still allowing you to remain near your loved ones.

Our accredited CDL classes provide students with the tools they need to become truck drivers. For more information on our financial aid or veteran’s services, contact us at (330) 239-2229.

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