Lyght's Journey To Become A Truck Driver

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Lyght's Comment
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Start Date: October 13, 2016

Hello. My wife and I will be getting our CDL's and working for XPO Logistics! Before we start school with them, they want us to get our CDL permits, so that is the first step. Tomorrow we will be going down to the DMV and getting a CDL book as well as using what goodies can be found on this site. In Alabama this is what we need to do to get our permits.

CDL or CDL Learner License Applicants

Current driver license. Social Security card.* If transferring from out of state, applicant must present one document from the “primary” list (in addition to the Social Security number document). Current Department of Transportation long medical form (unless medically exempt). $25 testing fee (no checks). Transportation Security Administration background check if transferring or obtaining a hazardous materials endorsement. If not a U.S. citizen, applicant must legally be in permanent status in the United States and domiciled in Alabama. Skills test if upgrading a license or first-time applicant (test by appointment only; $20 skills test fee). Proof of insurance. $66.25 to purchase class “A” license. $56.25 to purchase class “B” license. $36.25 to purchase class “C” license. $36.25 to purchase commercial learner license.

I look forward to posting about my journey, I have never been so nervous in my life and this is likely the third largest live changing event I have ever gone though.

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.

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.

Donnie M.'s Comment
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Keep us posted on your progress Lyght! Like you my wife and I are about to embark on the same journey. As of now XPO is at the top of our list after completing a private school.

Lyght's Comment
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I'll do my best to keep you updated. Today we're working on going through the CDL manual, I've taken the practice CDL exam on this site (which is a big help again a huge thank you to the people running this place) just trying to common sense my way through it and so far haven't gotten less than a 70 on it, not enough to pass the exam but high enough I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'm doing the XPO training I'm honestly a little confused on what their schooling will consist of since they require a permit before going and that covers most of the book. Still excited about it though. How do you feel about the 3 months of separate behind the wheel training?

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.
Donnie M.'s Comment
member avatar

I was told buy XPO recruiter Courtney that the separation would be 3 to 4 weeks. 7500 miles driving each. We have discussed it quite a bit and honestly it might be better in a couple ways to be apart. My wife would not have the pressure of me being over her shoulder while she learns the basics. Also we both would get training from two different perspectives, which could be beneficial when we hit the road together. However if the separation were to be for 2 or 3 months, we would go another route. We have been a team for 25 years with only being separated for 2 weeks when I was on a business trip to England a few years back.

On the permit studying, along with the study guide here, we were able to find an Oklahoma DMV CDL test on youtube that helped out also.

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.

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.

Lyght's Comment
member avatar

I'll double check with the recruiter I talked to but I thought she said it was 90 days that we'll be separated for. My main worry with being trained apart is that we might butt heads on things because we learned them differently, hopefully you have something there about the different perspectives being being a good thing. I mean I can see how it could come in handy when new things pop up along the road though.

I didn't even think to look on youtube thanks for the advice on that.

So far I finished section 2 of the manual I could likely go faster but I'm trying to member as much of it as I can and I'm taking notes re-reading parts of it. The pictures I'm trying to memorize all of them and were everything is on the images, I'm most likely over thinking it.

Lyght's Comment
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So far I've been reading the manual and answering the end of the section questions. I also found an audio version of the manual on youtube but it was honestly to boring to be of any value I might look for another one. Now I'm reading the manual and using the CDL Training Program on this site. The training program is basically the same as reading the manual but with a quiz at each page its really enforcing a lot of the stuff I need to learn. So far I've found that I'm having a hard time on the braking math other wise I'm understanding and learning it pretty easily. I really should have been doing this a long time ago. At first I was going to drive from Prime and they didn't require a permit when joining so I didn't worry about it, now I wish I did. Either way, I'm wanting to finish the manual (and training program) by Wednesday and hopefully take my permit test by the end of the week.

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.
Lyght's Comment
member avatar

Alright I made the phone call yesterday and set my appointment to take my CDL permit on Friday, October 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM my wife will be taking hers the same day but half an hour later. I'm nervous about the DOT physical I need to get I've looked up the price and I've seen anywhere from 50-300 dollars which would be doubled because we need two. If we can get them for 50 each or even 100 each we will be alright but I don't know if we can afford it if it ends up costing us 300 each. We both quit our jobs (way to soon kicking ourselves in the butt for that now) to do this so right now we don't have an income and have a set amount of money saved up to do all this. My dad did say he will help us if we need it but I'm hoping to not ask him.

To study I'm using the state cdl manual, listening to http://cdlstudybuddy.com/ntds/section6.php while I'm unable to study and using the High Road Training Program. On top of that I have a word document I'm using to take notes on. My wife is just using the paper manual I'm trying to talk her into the High Road Training Program too but so far I've had no luck in getting her to give it a try.

Air breaks have been the only area I've been confused on, the rest seems pretty easy and I've been able to get on my first or second read. I down loaded the google app from this site and have been taking practice tests and honestly flying through them.

--- Donnie M: I haven't gotten back up with my recruiter yet I was waiting to double check when my wife gives them a call. She's doing a good job reading the manual but she's starting to drag her feet a bit on everything else.

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.

Lyght's Comment
member avatar

I've finished:

● Rules & Regulations

● Driving Safely

● Transporting Cargo Safely

● Air Brakes

● Combination Vehicles

Pre-Trip Inspection

● Driving Exam

In The High Road Training Program. Air breaks are still giving my some problems that I'll want to want to go over again. o With all brakes released, the air loss rate should be less than 2 psi in 1 minute for single vehicles. o With all brakes released, the air loss rate should be less than 3 psi in 1 minute for combination vehicles. and o Air loss rate should be less than 2 psi in 1 minute for a single vehicle. o Air loss rate should be less than 3 psi in 1 minute for combination vehicles (vehicles with a trailer).

The break released verses I guess normal air lose? Still confuses me and I often get those questions wrong. I'm still trying to memorize Perception Distance + Reaction Distance + Brake Lag Distance + Effective Braking Distance ------------------------------ = Total Stopping Distance

as well. I know stopping times are 1 second per 10 feet of vehicle length at speeds below 40 mph and to add a second for over 40 mph, but trying to use that math stuff.

Other than that I'm nervous and excited. My permit test is on Friday, so I'm going to use this next week to take some practice exams. I might take a day or two break from the stuff honestly feeling a little study burnt out and I know my wife is too.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Donnie M.'s Comment
member avatar

Good luck on you test! I was also having a hard time on the air leakage rates, but came up with something that helped us out. I got the number sequence of 2,3 and 3,4 planted in my head.

2, 3 single 2 for brakes released 3 for brakes applied

3, 4 combo 3 for brakes released 4 for brakes applied

Also, on our permit test, the Pre Trip and Driving sections of the manual were not on it. These will come into play when our schooling starts. Just threw that out there so you wouldn't overwhelm your brain with too much for the permit test. Though, already knowing those two sections should give you a good jump on the schooling side of things when you start.

Our DOT physicals ran $300 for both. $150ea

We were supposed to start school on the 31st , but they called and said that there was and opening this Monday the 24th, so our adventure will start a week earlier.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Lyght's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the tip Doonnie! I'm also glad to hear I wasn't the only one having a problem with the air break. I'm some what using the same 2-3 3-4 thing so I know if one answer is 2 the other has to be 3, and that you lose more air when the breaks are pushed. I didn't think the pre-trip or driving would be on the permit at least in to much depth since a lot of that seems hands on changes depending on the truck you'll be driving. Good luck in your schooling, are you going to the one in Joplin, MO?

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