Airline Pilot vs. Truck Driver Comparison

Numbers of professionals 590,000 7,000,000
Number of Planes / Vehicles 222,000 8,000,000
Age Limit 65 None (we know of at least one who is 85)
Legally can operate taking prescribed narcotic drugs? NO YES
Physical required Every 6 months Every 2 years
Flying/Driving hours (legally allowed) 30/week, 100/month, 1,000/year 60/week & 70 in 8 days, 240/month, 3,120/year
Above hours tracked? Electronically (“black box”) Drivers allowed to keep logbooks (honor system) until Dec. 2017
Deaths in the last 3 years Less than 50 12,000+ and 300,000 injured
Federal regulatory annual budget Over $15 Billion Roughly $0.5 Billion
Average Pay per Bureau of Labor Statistics $102,520/year $40,260/year

The drivers of large commercial vehicles, we believe, have at least as much responsibility for the safety of the public as do airline pilots. After all,we buy tickets to voluntarily get on commercial aircraft. However, all of us share the public roadways on a daily basis with heavy commercial trucks.

The term “tractor-trailer” or "big-rig" used on this website
refers to all Class 8 trucks which is the heaviest class.

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