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Orientation at West Side Transport

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G-Town's Comment
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Good for you Sue! Keep up the good work. Safe travels.

Susan D. 's Comment
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I know its been a week since I've been on here lol. Things are going well and they've been running our butts off. We're back in Florida. . Ft. Pierce tonight and Miami in the morning. Will reload and head to Georgia and hoping we'll get a load through Louisville or Indianapolis so I can drop by the house for a few.

Happy, tired, and it's all good in the hood. So far WST is exceeding all my expectations and my trainer is AWESOME. He's really filling in the gaps on what I'm lacking from cdl school. . Namely alley docking and my shifting has improved so much I can go from 1st to 10th in under a block. I drove in snowy weather in Wisconsin and Nashville. . been dealing with heavy city traffic and a little mountain driving. I got to back into a dock in a cave and tomorrow I'm going to have to alley dock inside a building.

It's been great so far!

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
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You're batting 1000, Sue. This is what it's all about. Keep rolling!

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Susan D. 's Comment
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Another week, another breakdown lol., the 2016 Cascadias are lemons.. at least my trainer's is lol. Hey at least I'm learning how to deal with towing, repairs, etc . Been stuck in Indy since about 1:30am on Friday. I was dropping a trailer at PepsiCo and when I went to slide the tandems the truck lurched, there was a pop and my trainer who had released them was hit in the face with needle bearings as the front of the drive shaft failed and literally dropped to the ground. Luckily he wasn't hurt. The Freightliner dealer here (Stoop) says they've seen this several times with the 2016 Cascadias. We have no date for repairs to be completed but at least the motel is decent.

As a side note, they literally had only 1 room left. I thought it was funny that my company had no problems sending me with a male trainer but are having a fit because we had to share a riom LMAO. Well what's the difference? The room has two beds. Wtf. I guess if they wanna spend $200/night for 4 beds they can just knock themselves out and that's exactly what I told them and they shut up. My only concern is I'm supposed to test out of training at the end of this week and we were SUPPOSED to spend this weekend practicing my 90 degree alley docking... grrrr

The plus side of my 30 day training is my trainer and I have realized we are so much alike, personality wise, we've become good friends.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of the truck with only 85k miles that is constantly in the shop for repairs.

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".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
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After 3 days in a motel they lianed us a truck to get me back to cedar rapids to test out. Was issued my own truck and leaving for Indy later tonight and then some much needed home time. I'm one happy gal and loving WST. My former trainer's truck is finally repaired and so he's a happy camper too.

Fonzell T.'s Comment
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Hey Sue any advice for a nervous wife? Hubby just left for WST for orientation this morning.. Thanks

Dan C.'s Comment
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Hi Sue I am considering Westside Transport was wondering how you like it ? I was thinking about doing otr for say 6 months then doing a flex position They seem like a great company How many miles you getting ? How is hometime will they work with you Thanks for any info I would be out of glen wood Dan

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.

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.

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
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Dan, sorry it took so long to reply.. Im on hometime in Columbus, GA as we speak. Does West Side generally run here? Of course not but they never fail to get you where you want or need to be when you need to be there.

I team drive these days and am only one out of two teams at WST. This is a Solo Midwest Regional focused company. Our team start was rocky while they got us sorted out but we are quite happy with our team miles finally. These folks truly have solo down to an art as you are always preplanned well before youre empty. Its typically short haul but they keep you moving.

Sometimes they do share freight with other companies so you may occaisionally have to call a broker to get your dispatch info, which is weird, but its a good thing. They do this to keep drivers from getting stuck in areas they dont generally run (or to get a driver somewhere they dont normally go) Im sure we will have a broker load to get us back out of here tomorrow. Were visiting my codrivers mother, who's health is ailing. Been rearranging furniture, cleaning flower beds, and all kinds of fun stuff but she is a sweet lady.

Anywho, West Side is a wonderful company. They start a little low on cpm but bump you up fast. Family type atmosphere and its great being known by name and not just another number. As a midwest regional driver youll be home every fri/sat or sat/sun.. Your choice. Min pay guarantee of 1K/wk. If you choose Network fleet, youll be routed home every other weekend unless you tell them not to. Min pay on fleet is 1200/wk. If you have to be home at a different time for an appointment or whatever, just let them know and theyll have you there.

I really love this company. We have very well maintained equipment and they want drivers to be happy. They have a company store where you can buy hoodies, tshirts, etc in cedar rapids. A nice thing about WST is if you have a problem.. ANY problem at all with your DM , miles, equipment, another driver.. Whatever, if you talk to them about it without whining and act like a reasonable adult, they will listen and attempt to fix it quickly. Some new drivers start, have a problem and dont speak up and then quit.. Its their loss because this small company works hard to retain drivers. Our turnover rate is only about 40% annually, versus the industry norm of about 110%. They say 40% is too high. They are serious about CSA scores. Our scores are so good that i can say i have NEVER (yet) had a DOT inspection ever. Im sure i will, but it hasnt happened yet. We actually got a commendation by the Wisconin DOT last week, thanking us for our safe and professional driving. Im proud to say i was one of the drivers referred to and often get a friendly wave from officers when im up there

Our customers are "the bomb". Its very rare to get treated with disrespect at our customers Don (our owner) has worked really hard at maintaining great relationships with our customers. Disregard their safety rules or get rude and **** them off and you are history. Same thing if you get a citation for more than 4mph over any speed limit. We have 4 main customers who are the bread and butter of our company.. If you get banned from them, it would be difficult for WST to find you loads.

As a inexperienced driver your orientation is in Cedar Rapids. Youll stay at the Clarion, which is very nice and has a wonderful breakfast. Experienced drivers have orientation at Glenwood... Not sure where they stay.

West Side is a great company and there isnt much information floating around about them, but thats a good thing.

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.

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

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

Susan D. 's Comment
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Oh and as far as miles go.. Dont worry about miles. As long as you make your pickups and deliveries on time and are available to drive at least 5 days a week, youll earn more than the minimum pay committment. They dont promise that pay and expect you to sit. As a solo driver i always earned more than the minimum and averaged about 3k miles a week... Sonetimes more, sometimes less but that guarantee makes your weekly paychecks consistent. With drop/hook pay, detention pay, higher pay for shorter runs, fuel , safety, and mileage bonuses etc. (What they call accessorial pay) you can run fewer miles and still make more than the minimum. Just focus on getting there safely and on time and the rest takes care of itself.

Ken H.'s Comment
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Hello Susan D. Thank you for posting you're progress :) :) I enjoyed reading down through, kind of gives a person a heads up, what one can be aware of in the training :) does WST hire drivers from IL? I have my CLP/D.O.T. cert, only thing its from Illinois. Thanks Ken

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

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