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What Does a Yard Driver Do?

Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A yard driver is a person who drives tractor trailer trucks within a yard or space, hooks up trailers to tractors, unhooks trailers, and organizes trailers and tractors within a company's yard space. This job is usually intended to help facilitate quick and easy loading and unloading of trucks, as well as inspecting those trucks and preparing them for transport. A yard driver generally does not need any specific level of education, though it is a wise idea to earn a high school diploma if a candidate is trying to obtain such a position.

The qualifications for becoming a yard driver are fairly minimal, but the candidate will need to get experience driving tractor trailer trucks. In many cases, a commercial driver's license (CDL) will be required, though this is not always the case. Sometimes a yard driver can operate vehicles without a CDL because he or she will not be operating the trucks on public roadways; instead, he or she will work exclusively on the property of the shipping company or trucking company, thereby avoiding the need for a CDL altogether. A valid driver's license is always required, and a clean driving record is usually desirable or required.

Many trucking companies throughout the world will also have age restrictions for candidates seeking to become a yard driver. In the United States and many other countries, a candidate must be 18years old or older in order to work in this position. Many companies will also require drug testing; if a candidate cannot pass the drug test, he or she will usually be ineligible for hire. Once the yard driver is hired, he or she will need to undergo several weeks or even months of training to ensure the safety of the equipment and the people operating or surrounding that equipment.

The yard driver must learn how to hook up trailers to trucks, unhook those trailers, stabilize them, load and unload them, and otherwise drive them around tight truck yards. A familiarity with the technology used on such trucks is required, though job candidates can undergo job training once they have been hired in order to learn more about the equipment. Adherence to safety regulations is exceptionally important, as the risk of accidents can be quite high in this job. The driver will need to learn communication methods as well; radio communication as well as hand signals and verbal cues are all used during the process of driving through the yard.

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