TDI Forsyth Georgia CDL Training Experience

Topic 12007 | Page 3

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Farmerbob1's Comment
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Day 15:

Arrived at school, advised that I would attend the DMV at noon. Went out on the yard, and practiced every backing maneuver several times.

At 1000 went to the DMV, in case an opening came up.

At 1130, I started my maneuvering tests at the DMV.

Straight back. Ended up needing to pull forward when I was 3/4 through the maneuver. It's EXTREMELY annoying that I'm having difficulty with long straight backs. No cones or lines hit.

Blind Side offset parking maneuver. Bang. Done. No get outs or pull ups. No cones or lines hit. I did have to make some extra adjustments. The trailer and tractor combination is different from what we practice on. The tractor appears to turn faster. The trailer brakes are hair trigger, and FAST brakes. Touch the brakes and the trailer tires lock.

Alley Dock. This is where the unfamiliar truck and trailer bit me. I used my first get-out to verify my set-up. Glad I did. I was nowhere near where I needed to be, off by at least three feet. On my first approach, barely clipped the near side front cone. Had to pull up. On my second approach, overcompensated and nicked the line. Had to pull up. The third time was the charm. Snuck the trailer straight in, no pull-up needed. Used my second get-out to verify I had the DOT bumper in the box.

After that, the road was fairly easy. I had been warned that the truck had anemic acceleration, and verified it in the yard test. I started in third gear on all uphill grades. I did stall out once, but I was not blocking traffic at an intersection, and there were no vehicles forced to stop or slow due to my stall, so no auto-fail. Other than that, the only points I lost were for some gear grinding and changing gears in an intersection once.

So, I am now in possession of a paper Class A CDL. Yay!

Called Stevens Transport, and plan to attend their orientation in Dallas, starting this coming Wednesday.

It's been a rough three weeks. I'm hitting the bed now, and will wake up when I wake up.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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WOOHOOOdancing-dog.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing.gif

Congrats!!!

Are you going to do a Steven's diary?

Farmerbob1's Comment
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WOOHOOOdancing-dog.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing.gif

Congrats!!!

Are you going to do a Steven's diary?

Thanks!

I think I will, though I'll probably also be a little more cautious about how I word my criticisms since Stevens Transport will be paying me. A lot depends on how I perceive the training program. The more strict and regimented they are in the training program, the more careful I will be when commenting on it.

Farmerbob1's Comment
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Wireless access is costing me money I can barely afford to spend. Even a dollar a day is rough.

Stevens is pushing us through a fairly in-depth safety program as well as lots of paperwork.

I'll end up needing to do a recap on a day when starting new thread and documenting the training is not going to cut into my sleep time.

Chad L.'s Comment
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Matthew B. Congrats to you on getting your CDL. I will be attending TDI Forsyth starting on Monday.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Farmerbob1's Comment
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Well, I'm on the road with a fairly old school Stevens driver. He's a top earner, and wastes almost zero time, and doesn't like spending time at truck stops, so I haven't exactly had a lot of time to devote to updates. I was flown in to meet him on Wednesday afternoon. We finished a delivery Thursday AM, then ran about 80 miles to pick up another load. I did not drive due to heavy traffic potential. The trainer wanted me on a less crowded interstate for first time driving.

That load was... problematic. But we managed to grab it, sort out the problems, and go before the blizzard hit. Our documents said three Colorado deliveries. The papers given to us said two Colorado and one Utah delivery. Many phone calls and Qualcomm messages later, we rolled.

The trainer drove for six hours from Strasburg, VA up to 70 West across. He kept us out of the blizzard, however I still ended up driving for real for the first time when he started running short of drive time.

I drove in light snow and wet but not frozen roads, in the dark, with 30,000 pounds cargo. The trainer kept me to 55 MPH at most, and I drive for about three hours until we were finally completely clear of the storm.

We barely made it out of the horrible East Coast Mess. I'm writing this now from Denver Colorado. I've now got @ 20 hours total road time, a delivery, a pickup, and we're currently waiting for a Kenworth dealer to look at the front end blinker/running lights. The turns work. The hazards work, but the lights do not stay lit as maker lights when they are not blinking. The truck is sill under warrantee, and we have 24 hours before we need to make our first delivery, less than an hour from here.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Farmerbob1's Comment
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Matthew B. Congrats to you on getting your CDL. I will be attending TDI Forsyth starting on Monday.

Good Luck! It's not a pretty school, but they will get you your CDL if you follow their curriculum and give them a little slack for their rough edges.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Susan D. 's Comment
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Congratulations! My nephew loves driving for Stevens. He was jyst through here Monday and is California bound now.

Farmerbob1's Comment
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It's been a few months since my last update, but I think a follow-up is a good idea.

I finished my training phase with a trainer about 4 months ago. I ended up having to leave the first trainer's truck with about two weeks left because I had to get my permanent drivers license from the GA DOT , who will NOT honor forwarded mail. I have nobody near my house who could have gotten it for me, so I had to get it in person. This may have been a good thing. Serious cabin fever with the first trainer after about 5 weeks in a 10x10 box. My second trainer and I actually had quite a bit in common, and we got along much better.

However, there was one thing that we bumped heads on. My first trainer never floated except when downshifting into 7th when on an upslope, and also only used the jake when on a significant downslope. My second trainer was the opposite. He always floated and never turned off the jake, using it for most of his braking needs.

By the time I got off the second trainer's truck, I could float, but I don't much care for it. If I do not have the luxury of time to work through gears, I'll float, but if I am not in city traffic, I generally just take my time and double-clutch.

I leave the jake on during highway driving to help me control my hill-rolling without using brakes, but off the interstate , I leave the jake off. Why? I realized that there were TWO reasons why jakes are a problem in close-quarters driving. First is the noise. It's not so bad when properly muffled on modern trucks, but it's still loud sometimes. Second is the fact that the jakes DON'T TURN ON YOUR BRAKE LIGHTS. In city driving, slowing without using brakes can get you back-ended really fast. If you get a four wheeler tangled in your DOT bumper and the computer on your truck shows you were using a jake when the city is posted no engine brakes, you're looking at a nasty court case.

Welp, back to the main reason for the post. After finishing my accompanied training, I got my own truck, and started solo driving in the Stevens graduate fleet. Three months of having my hand held by special grad fleet driver managers.

For the last month I've been out of the grad fleet and on the road solo with less oversight. While I will not say the job is fun, I do not dislike it, which is more than I can say for any other decent paying job I've ever had.

So, four months on the road by myself. No accidents. No incidents. No tickets. If I can keep this up for a few more months, I will probably start looking for a different OTR company that pays more per mile. I'm happy with pretty much everything about Stevens Transport but the pay is low compared to other OTR companies that run solo drivers, from what I've been hearing.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Raz-is-Pretty's Comment
member avatar

Day 3:

Took the DoT CDL tests, passed all three. I am now a CDL permit holder!

Hi FarmerBob, I was wondering if you remember when your paper CDL expired... I won't be able to start training OTR if it expires too soon (within 6 months) and I'll be forced to wait for the hard copy. Some states will issue you a paper CDL that doesn't expire for up to 8 years! I look forward to your response, Raz

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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