What Is the Best State to Be a Truck Driver?

When you plug “What is the best state to be a truck driver?” into Google, a mountain of different answers appear. Because some of those results are based on outdated criteria, this article brings you a list of the best states to be a truck driver using the most current and updated data out there.

What Is the Best State to Be a Truck Driver

The states on this page are ranked according to the following criteria:

  • Average truck driver salary in each state
  • Number of truck driver jobs in each state
  • The average cost of living in each state
  • Number of truck drivers in each state
  • Cost of commercial truck driver insurance in each state
  • State regulations regarding truck driving

We hope this list helps you get a feel for the truck driving industry across the United States, and that it helps you make a decision as to where you’d like to work after you get your CDL.

What Is the Best State to Be a Truck Driver?

We’ve compiled a list of the top five states in six categories relevant to the truck driving industry. Using the information below, you can get an idea of the best state to be a truck driver. 

So, what is the best state to be a truck driver? It’s whichever state matches your preferences!

Although that seems anticlimactic, the truth is that the answer to this question is entirely subjective. The best state to be a truck driver depends on your career priorities, goals, and desires. This article gives you a general overview of which states top the lists on paper.

The salary data and truck driver number data in this article are from a 2019 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Highest Average Salary

The top 5 best states to be a truck driver according to mean annual salary are:

  • Alaska – $59.8K
  • North Dakota – $53.9K
  • New York – $53.2K
  • Washington D.C. – $53.2K
  • Wyoming – $52.6K

It’s no secret that truck drivers earn a competitive salary. No matter which state you’re in, the starting salary for truck drivers’ starting salary is higher than in many other industries. On top of that, your salary scales to your years of experience, meaning the longer you’re in the industry the more you’ll make. The best part—there’s no college degree or prior experience required! All you need to do is attend a truck driving school to get your CDL.

Most Truck Driving Job Openings

According to Zippia, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver following the number of truck driving jobs are:

  • Texas – 16K jobs
  • Pennsylvania – 14.4K jobs
  • Illinois – 14.1K jobs
  • Ohio – 11.2K jobs
  • California – 8.7K jobs

Because there’s a national shortage for truck drivers, there are many open positions around the country. The above states are only a snapshot of the vacuum in the market. The fact of the matter is that billions of tons of freight need to be moved, and there are few drivers to move it. The result is a massive demand for new drivers. Looking at the states with the most truck driving jobs indicates where a lot of that demand and opportunity is in the country. 

Lowest Cost of Living

The results below are based on the cost of living index, which provides a percentage difference between locations. The lower the number, the lower the cost of living. According to World Population View, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver following the cost of living are:

  • Mississippi – 84.5
  • Arkansas – 86.9
  • Oklahoma – 87
  • Missouri – 87.1
  • New Mexico – 87.

The cost of living is a major deciding factor when you’re considering any job. Although truck drivers have great salaries and may not need worry about the cost of the state they claim residence in, it’s an excellent metric to use if you want to understand a state’s economy. The states with the lower cost of living indexes have more affordable housing, groceries, entertainment, taxes, and more.

Where Truck Drivers Live

According to the previously mentioned BLS data, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver following the number of truck drivers that live there are:

  • Texas – 199.5K truck drivers
  • California – 146.7K truck drivers
  • Florida – 92.5K truck drivers
  • Pennsylvania – 86.3K truck drivers
  • Ohio – 77.1K truck drivers

You can also take a look at the states where the most truck drivers choose to live. Much like the amount of truck driving jobs in each state, truck drivers themselves reside where the truck driving market is most favorable. 

Most Agreeable State Truck Driving Regulations

3,287 truck driving professionals were asked questions about general costs and regulations in each state. The results are as follows.

The top 5 best states to be a truck driver according to simple state regulations are:

  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Indiana

Writing in detail about each state’s truck driving regulations would result in a long-winded and boring article. However, thanks to a survey conducted by Merchant Cash USA, we have a picture of which states have the most favored regulations. 

Owner Operators

According to data from Progressive, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver according to the cost of commercial truck driver insurance are:

  • Mississippi – $4.6K
  • Wyoming – $7.1K
  • Nebraska – $8.6K
  • Iowa – $8.8K
  • Idaho – $9K

Being an owner-operator involves additional responsibilities and coasts. One of the most costly, and most necessary, expenses are commercial truck driver insurance for your vehicle. The rates fluctuate greatly based on what type of coverage you choose, which company you select, and where you live. Choose the best and most comprehensive coverage you can afford.

Get Your CDL With TDI

As you can see, each state has its pros and cons. It’s all about your priorities: salary, cost of living, easy regulations, job density, or other criteria that aren’t on our list. The answer to, “What is the best state to be a truck driver?” is up to you and your research. 

The bottom line is, no matter which state you live and work in, the first step is always to get your CDL. There are many truck driving jobs available all across the country, and new drivers enjoy high starting salaries and incredible benefits.

At TDI, you can get your CDL in just two weeks, and our job placement program has a 90% success rate. Are you ready to learn more about our CDL A course and how we can help you find a new career no matter your state?

Contact us today to begin your journey!