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Lyght's Journey To Become A Truck Driver

Topic 16621 | Page 3

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Lyght's Comment
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Alright I'll be leaving Sunday the 27th Joplin MO if everything goes as planned! They're doing a background and credit check, hopefully my bad credit doesn't keep me from being hired really don't see how it would, the e-mail they (CFI) sent me has:

Rejection Reasons:
Discharged from last driving position for safety reasons
More than 3 preventable accidents/incidents or 3 moving violations in the last 3 years. (No more than a combination of 5 in the last 3 years.)
Felony or Misdemeanor convictions are reviewed on a case by case basis
DWI/DUI/BAC or any drug related charges- in the last 5 years.

I have one accident that they know about from July but they know about that and don't seem to think it's a big deal especially with the list saying 3 in 3 years. So I'm excited! I don't want to drive doubles or triples so I really don't plan to get that endorsement but I will be getting my tanker and hazmat one the company wants that with in 120 days of being so right now I figure I have two weeks before I leave might as well do it now. Money is an issue I'm flat broke so likely can't take the tests for them now but I can still study. Feeling nervous but I look forward to the challenge.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Nancy F.'s Comment
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Just curious, why hadn't you gone with a company sponsered school? That would guarantee you had a job

G-Town's Comment
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Nancy asked:

Just curious, why hadn't you gone with a company sponsered school? That would guarantee you had a job

Nancy,...some perspective is warranted here, there are no true guarantees of employment with company-sponsored. Not sure where that misconception came from. The flunk-out rate at many of the company sponsored schools approaches 70%. Any recruiter worth their weight in salt will tell you that. It is not a cake walk by any means. If you graduate, get your CDL , successfully complete road-training and pass the final road test, then yes, you have a job. In many cases that's a 3-4 month time investment.

Employment is contingent on "making the grade".

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
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First off, oops. I clicked report not quote the first time, I think I cancelled it though, this is why I shouldn't internet while sleepy (and for sure wouldn't drive while sleepy). If it went through I apologize for the mistake.

Just curious, why hadn't you gone with a company sponsered school? That would guarantee you had a job

I'll be going through XPO/CFI's sponsored school, but they wanted my permit first so I had to get that first. Now I'm just waiting for my recruiter to finish up the paper work, background checks and everything else. I'm really hoping that goes smoothly. I read XPO/Conway Training via Crowder College that Buster's Buddy posted and it sounds great. XPO/CFI offers a year contract to the person that pass their course and that sounds great to me. Like G-Town said you need to make the grade to make sure you get the job so I wanted to take matters into my own hands as much as I could before going in. Like now, I'm studying my dad's papers from when he went to school with CR England. I quit my job to become a truck driver, and even if all goes as planned I'm not leaving until the 27th, so I'm trying to use my time between now and then to the fullest.

Lyght's Comment
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I leave Saturday at 11 to head to Crowder College. I'm mostly packed and ready to go. Really excited and scared. I still only have my paper permit as the plastic one hasn't arrived yet, I hoping it comes on Friday because other wise I'll have to hope I can trust someone to pick it up from my mail box and then mail it to me in Mo, and hope I have an address it can be sent to.

Lyght's Comment
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Ended up with a toothache on Thanksgiving, I'm on meds for it hopefully that wouldn't mess up my drug test but I have a prescription for it so hopefully that is taken into account. I'm trying not to take the pain meds and only using the antibiotic to cut down on the risk of a failed test. The bus ride really killed by back I'm hoping its not that painful to drive a truck as it was riding on a bus. It didn't help that the bus driver got lost and ended up needing to ask some of the passengers to look up the directions for her putting us way behind. That did cut a three hour layover into an hour layover so thankfully we weren't late getting here. Made it to Joplin alright only to find the room wasn't booked, it being a Sunday I had a hard time getting a hold of a real person at the company but after about two hours or trying we were finally able to get a room, but its only for one night tomorrow I need to get with my recruiter and have her extend the stay. A few others had the same problem so I didn't feel as bad, I don't blame the recruiter and it was taken care of. Just hoping the rest of the training goes more smoothly.

Nancy F.'s Comment
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Wow. And thanks for the school info.

Lyght's Comment
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Oh wow okay there's so much to cover. Time at Crowder College seems to fly by. Class starts at about 7:45am and runs until 4. Breakfast is at 7, Lunch is at 11:15 and dinner is at 5:15. So you go straight from breakfast to class. For lunch there's a bus that comes picks up from from class and takes us to the cafeteria then at 11:45 picks you up and drives you back to class. There is no bus to class after breakfast or back to the dorms (or apartments) after class which kinda sucks since the two are on opposite sides of the campus. The food is pretty good but if you're like me and didn't bring a person car if you don't like it you don't have much of a choice. So far there's only been one dinner that had food I didn't like. Wifi in the dorms is awful... but I hear its pretty good in the apartments. The dorms are oldish, and the sound carries from one to the other pretty easily but other than being a little cold they're not that bad. There's plenty of trucks here and they all appear to be in really good shape, on campus they also train diesel mechanics so they are able to use that to keep them all running smoothly, I believe they have 13 different rigs. In the classroom there's three simulators that have all kinds of programs on there to help you before even getting behind the wheel. The book we use it J.J Keller's Tractor-Trailer Driving Training Manual 3rd edition and yes we do have homework. The first week we had five chapters to we had to do.

That's about all I can say about the school itself, the program it great though. The teachers are all ex-truck drivers so they know what they're teaching because they've done it. The classroom is really relaxed, we have stuff to do and are almost always busy but we're free to make jokes and if something is boring even the teachers will agree its boring but then tell us why we need to watch it even though its boring. The class moves fast! I was on a simulator on day two and then today I was driving a real truck and working on my straight backing. My wife has never driven a manual before and by the second day she passed the little shifting test they have before you can get behind a real truck. She's not perfect yet but she's getting good and they're taking the time to work with her on it. The timing was perfect really. With the holiday coming around there's no classes following our group of students. That means we have more trucks and more teachers for us. Next week the last class ahead of us tests out, after that our class of nine will have all 13 trucks and all the I want to say 10 teachers to just us. Also they don't have co-ed dorms here, so normally my wife and I would have been split up but this time of the year there's so few students here my wife and I got a dorm all to ourselves. The small class size and well trained staff is a major plus. However, a big thing that I don't like is that they only go over the pre-trip inspection once then you're on your own with it, but its going to be part of the mid-term and the CDL exam itself. They have a dvd in each dorm room that covers it (but the dvd player in my dorm room doesn't work) which might help. I really wish that was covered more, between class, homework and studying, its hard to find the time to walk across campus (in the cold) to where the trucks are kept (in bad lighting) to do it on our own, and with no teacher there to make sure we're doing it right. Over all, although this is my first week I really like it and feel like I have learned a lot. I started on Nov 29th and they say we'll finish Dec 23rd or sooner. I'll try to do more updates with better detail this was more of just an over view of the campus and a little info on the program here.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Donnie M.'s Comment
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Thanks for the update Lyght. Glad to hear all is going well!

Lyght's Comment
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Alright end of the first week. So far I've driven seven different trucks three of them were on one day. Some of the trucks are easier to drive than others but that's great because you never know what kinda truck the company will give you. So in the first week we worked on up shifting and down shifting, turning, parallel parking, straight back backing, I think it was call sight backing but I could be wrong on the name and we've had two road tests driving through town. We've done five chapters worth of book work as well. I'm good with going forward and turning but backing up so far is not my friend.

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