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Orientation at West Side Transport

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Susan D. 's Comment
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Okay, today was the day I've been working towards. I got to the hotel lobby to catch the shuttle to orientation. The shuttle dtiver arrived and we head for the van. She slipped on some black ice, falling and hitting her head quite hard on the bumper of the transport van. We help her off the ground and 2 guys assist her back to the lobby where her head, knee and hand were iced and she was taken to the hospital to be checked out. Luckily we found out later shes okay. Limping badly, but ok.

Shuttle driver #2 shows up and we arrive late. It's no big deal since the hotel called ahead and explained our lateness.

First off was a trip to a doctor for company physical and drug screening. We have been told that DOT physical must have the name of your employer, because that is a law. New job, new physical. FMCSA rule?

We stopped by our largest customer to learn where their drop yards are and rules which must be followed when on their property. The rules are non-negotiable and if you aren't allowed at this customers facility because you break the rules, you will be fired. Only because they are fully 50% of our business and if a driver can't go there, it would be very difficult for load planners to keep you running.

LESSON LEARNED: A new driver was obviously lost at this customers location and the guy driving our shuttle refused to help the new driver when we suggested it. His reason? The driver should be able to figure this out without having his hand held.

Classes on how to handle things the right way, using qualcom and the varous macros, tons of paperwork which needs to be filled out. . Tonight. Lol. We were given some very sage advice about remaining calm NO MATTER WHAT. Why? Because if you get excited, you will tend to make mistakes, which can cause more panick and bad decisions, which often lead to making even worse ones and can end your career before it even gets started.

We covered logs and hours of service too. Snow storm tomorrow and WST will most likely shut down. Safety and compliance above all else here. We also heard how important communication is. Probably do our road testing Wednesday. Pay and bonuses were explained too.

Now off to finish my mountains of paperwork.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Fm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Oh yeah.. and the DM for new grads was quite slick about coming out to the smoking area whike we were taking a break. We had no clue who she was but very nice! She later revealed who she was and has apparently been watching us to gauge our personalities to match us with our trainer. She says she is quite certain she has chosen the perfect one for me. I'll meet the trainer Thursday afternoon most likely. Excited and happy.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
C. S.'s Comment
member avatar
We have been told that DOT physical must have the name of your employer, because that is a law. New job, new physical. FMCSA rule?

I don't think this is law, unless it just took effect at the beginning of this year. I still have my med card from September 14, have worked for two companies and never had to take another physical.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Fm:

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

You know I asked if it was new and was told no? It appears I was the only person who did not seem to already know this lol. Others in my orientation class are from Iowa, Ohio, and Illinois. I'm guessing it's something that has been in the works already but maybe has a date in the future in which companies will be required to be compliant. This company is definitely very conscious about being compliant and they don't drag their feet adopting new FMCSA regs.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Orientation day 2... so far so good. Today we discussed the Smith System, which they are very big on here as well as learned to use the Qualcomm and did our benefits enrollment. We talked about the safety system in the trucks,. The thing that puts on the brakes if it senses you are too close to a vehicle in front of you. We discussed payroll and paperwork scanning requirements and how to qualify for bonuses.

I specifically asked if our company trucks have road and or driver facing cameras and told they do not. Apparently they tried them and decided that the costs required by the monitoring company was not a good use of their money at this time.. basically said the owner felt it was too expensive. I was told that a couple drivers have installed their own dash cams and in 1 case it did help the company prevent a lawsuit. They may revisit the idea if the monitoring costs decrease substantially.

We should do our road tests tomorrow. We were told we will have to alley dock and I let them know it wasn't required in Kentucky so I was never taught that and consequently have never done it. I was told that would be no problem whatsoever, that they do not fail new grads on their orientation road test, but use that info to assist the trainer in knowing what we are lacking. What they wilk do is road test us again after our 30 day company training and basically gauge improvement. I laughed and said improvement certainly won't be a problem since I'll be able to learn how to do it. Out of the 6 of us new grads, 3 of us have never been taught alley docking, so I'm not alone. They will also be teaching us the safest way to enter a dry van and sliding tandems , etc.

Until tomorrow....

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Orientation day 3! We did quite a bit of trip planning today and did some macros on the Qualcomm , learning how to drop and pick up loads, etc.

I took my employment road test today. The lady from safety was so nice and actually told me that if she had to train a new grad, she would choose me because she liked the way I drove, turned tight corners, and handled traffic, etc. She said she was positive she could sleep knowing i was behind the wheel and that whoever my trainer is, they will be very lucky.

I'm very excited. They told us to be packed up in the morning and if our trainers will be arriving, they'll bring us back to the motel before checkout time to gather our luggage.

Woohooo! So excited and ready to roll.

dancing-banana.gif

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

dancing-dog.gifgood-luck.gif

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Day 4 of orientation was short and sweet. I received my employee ID and my fuel card. I found out that my trainer wouldn't be in til this coming Tuesday. I said I was hoping to go out much sooner and they asked me if I minded training with a guy. I told them it absolutely made no difference to me, that a trainer is a trainer. The gal that matches up new grads with trainers said "well we have this guy who trains and he got here this morning and mentioned he'd be willing to take a new hire." I told her that sounded great and she told me she'd let him know. Turns out, I'd already met him lol. He walked outside and we were talking when tge trainer coordinator was like, hey Mike, how you feel about taking a female today? His response was "a driver is a driver.. makes no difference to me. " Perfect match lol.. we had already began becoming friends. Have many similar interests and general outlook on things.

He was on his 10 hour break and when that was done, he showed me the truck, gave me a set of keys, showed me where I could store all my stuff, asked me if I needed the bottom bunk. (Told him I was fine with the upper one and he said okay, but NO upper bunk if he was driving. ) He said generally they have people observe the first 2 days and he mentioned that he prefers to drive at night. Lol.. we headed to St. Louis for a delivery, discovered some trailer damage (it was dark when we left Iowa so we hadn't noticed it. We swapped out the trailer after several delays and headed to Adairsville, GA. We've been sitting in Montgomery for his reset and unload in Pensacola this morning.

I drove from St. Louis to Nashville and he said he was impressed. My shifting is a little rusty but said it would be like riding a bike, that it would all come back. He actually fell asleep while I was driving, so needless to say he trusts me. I drove from Adairsville to Montgomery. We cant pick up our load in Pensacola til this morning so hung out here getting to know each other. He covered my pretrip which he said was very good and seemed pleased I understand how the motor works.

Turns out the gal I was supposed to go with is his best friend. Said she's a real sweetheart but a couple things he said made me realize we would have clashed. Very happy with my trainer. He's such a tool that he keeps me cracking up laughing. Heck of a nice guy and while he is a bit long winded occasionally, it's going great. Starting in Pensacola, he's going to have me run the truck and he's going to answer questions and help drive a little. He says he's not taking any hometime while we're out but we'll be running near my home often and if I want to stop for a bit I could. He's one of the few SE regional drivers that WST has. Lucky for me I can run either midwest or southeast. I'm loving the warmer weather.

Until next time I can get a wifi signal. ..

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Jetguy's Comment
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Good info. good-luck.gif

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

It's been a while since ive been able to make it on here lol. I went out with a trainer within hours of completing my company orientation. The female trainer I was supposed to go with wasn't going to be in Cedar Rapids for 5 more days. I wasn't thrilled about the idea of sitting in a motel room all that time not getting paid so they asked me if I was willing to go out with a male trainer. Absolutely! Hahaha turns out I'd already talked to this guy outside smoking.

I got lucky. Excellent trainer despite being a hard ass and a neat freak at times. We have many common interests, he's as nutty as I am and we click well. We've been to Chicago 3 times, St. Louis, then on to Pensacola, to North Carolina, Georgia, back to Chicago, then to Springfield, MO where I got to deliver to Kraft at the Springfield Underground which is incredibly cool and my first cave driving experience.

Since Kentucky didn't require (so I was never taught) alley docking this has been a major priority. My shifting is rapidly improving after a night of mountain driving then a rolling reset. I've alley docked 4 or 5 times now so I'm beginning to understand the different ways of setting that up. I hate to say it but if my trainer would just leave me alone while docking it would be easier lol... hence the hard ass comment. It had nothing to do with not being able to back lol, just that I wasn't taught how to set it up. It's been comical to say the least with his ever changing and never agreed upon hand signals, my eye rolling, him telling me to hurry when by golly I'm going to take my time and get it perfect lol. I'm sure you all get the idea. But despite all that, it's going super well. He's bragged about my lane control, smooth lane changes, following distance, etc. while I learn to ignore his wacky backing instructions. Hey nobody can be completely perfect.

I'll see you all soon.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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