Consumer goods that are imported to and exported from France have to get to their destination somehow. While some companies will pay to have their freight transported by plane, those who are transporting their goods domestically will generally choose to have their products transported via truck. This creates a need for truckers throughout France and these professional drivers have earned their income transporting everything from petroleum to sporting equipment for years. Learn what you need to know about the lifestyle of truckers, the types of trucks and trailers that are used in France, how much truckers earn, and other valuable information by reading on.
French Trucker Lifestyle
If you enjoy driving, being a trucker may sound like a great lifestyle. Not only do you earn money to drive on the open road, you also get to experience new areas of the country that you probably would not venture to if you were not a trucker. While the trucker lifestyle is right for some, it is not designed for everyone. You might picture the standard trucker wearing trucker hats, smoking, and stopping to eat at small cafes when their schedule permits. While this is true for some, the modern trucker is nothing like what you might picture.
The quality of life for the trucker has improved dramatically as technologies have advanced the way trucks and trailers are built. Electronics have also improved a truckers life on the road and given them access to directions and traffic reports in a matter of seconds. Truckers generally sleep in a space that is referred to as a “condo” which has a stand up sleeper berth. Gone are the days where truckers are forced to sleep in a small bunk. With more space, truckers can bring some of their basic comforts from home on the road with them. Some of cabs have microwaves, hot plates, refrigerators, televisions, and everything the trucker needs to cook, sleep and entertain themselves during off hours.
Common Trucks and Trailers in France
Now that you understand what trucker life is like, you need to find out what types of trucks and trailers are popular in France. As previously mentioned, the inside of the truck’s cabin has significantly changed. In the past, the cabin was very small and did not provide much room for the trucker to stretch as they worked. But the increase in available space is not the only change that has happened over the years as technologies have advanced.
Gone is the rough ride the older trucks and trailers have offered. Now, with French companies investing in trucks with air ride suspensions, the ride is smooth and far less noisy. The suspension systems are not the only components that have changed in trucks used for transport in France. More and more companies are moving away from trucks with a standard 10-speed transmission to invest in a fleet with an automatic transmission. Not only does this make a long drive easier for the truckers, it will also save the company quite a bit of money in gas and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Companies will use standard trucks or trucks that are called swap bodies. Swap body trucks are designed to transition loads from the truck to the railway easily. Cranable trucks are easier to load full loads when products are heavy. Lorries are the front-end with the engine and trailers are attached to their lorries. The trailers can range in size and there are several manufacturers in the industry. Renault is a respected manufacturer of transport lorries in France and offers distribution, long distance, and construction trucks. The Premium Route, Magnum, Midlum, Premium Distribution, Kerax, and Lander are all popular models for commercial transport. Trailer sizes are available in 12 meters, 18.75 meters, and 16.50 meters. These dimensions are based on regulations in France.
You should always be concerned about how much you can earn when you are changing careers. If you want to become a professional driver, you need to find out just how much and how truckers are paid in France. You have to keep in mind that truckers are away from their families for days or weeks at a time. They are also on the road for long hours which can make the career more dangerous than other jobs. While truckers in France do not earn as much as Spanish and German drivers, they do earn more than several other workers in France. The average income for truckers in France is between 14 and 19 euros per hour. Full-time truckers will take home between 2300 and 3200 euros each month.
Most truckers will receive benefits from the company they work for because of the hazards that are on the road. After strikes demanding better pay and benefits, employers have gotten better working conditions and benefits. They have been given a lower retirement age and unloading and loading the vehicle is now considered working time.
Price of Fuel
Most trucks operate on diesel fuel. While employer truckers do not have to pay for fuel out-of-pocket, individuals who own their own trucking company in France are concerned with the rising cost of gas. When your business is based on the road, the rising cost of gas can quickly cut into your profits. Currently, as of April 19th, the cost of diesel fuel was reported at € 1.43. There may be large variations throughout the country, but this average takes into account the highest and the lowest price at the time. Most trucking companies will have corporate gas accounts with specialty gas stations so their truckers can fill up on company credit.
Major Routes Used in France
There are more than 1 million kilometers of road in France. All of the roads are connected through the French motorway network or the autoroute system which is primarily toll roads. There are about 30,000 kilometers of national routes and the remaining roads are owned by private companies. The most popular routes taken by truckers are the national networks which have gates out of France. Routes like France to Barcelona and Le Havre are the most popular traveled because they are major two lane highways.
The speed limits throughout Europe will vary dramatically. Truckers should know the laws specific to France before driving in France for business. In France, a truck up to 12 feet can travel at 50 km/hr on urban roads, 80 km/hr on highways, and 90 km/hr on motorways. Trucks longer than 12 feet may travel at 50 km/hr on urban roads, 60 on highways, and 90 on motorways.
Licensing Requirements for Truckers in France
The licensing requirements for truckers will vary significantly in Europe. You need to know the requirements of the country where you plan on working so you can meet these requirements before becoming a trucker. You must have a valid European Union license in France to operate any type of motor vehicle. You will need a Class D license to drive commercial heavy-duty vehicles. Class A and C are the licenses for driving private passenger vehicles. You must undergo a medical examination and have periodic exams when you have a Class C or D license in France. You are also required to pass a written examination proving you know the safety laws.