YATD - Yet Another Training Diary

Topic 16801 | Page 2

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John L.'s Comment
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The program prepares us for our class A CDL exam. DMV comes out to the school at the end of the first week to administer the tests for our learner's permits, but we must go to a DMV office to pay the fees and get our permits.

The school will bring three of their trucks and trailers to the DMV CDL testing site during the last week (week 8) of training. We will use the trucks to do our pre-trip inspection , backing maneuvers, and road course tests - proctored by DMV examiners.

I'll update this diary at the end of the week, but next is more practice with pre-trip inspections, backing maneuvers, and road work. Next week we will be tested on all of this by our instructors. We MUST pass all of these tests before the school will allow us to test at DMV.

After graduation I intend to go to Indianapolis for orientation with Celadon - still not sure if I want to drive refrigerated or dry-van...

All but one of the tractors we use are Freightliner Columbias - mostly 2004 models. There is one 1998 Kenworth... I'll have to get back to you with the model number.

Oh, and that is the mouth of the James River in the background... just before it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

John L.'s Comment
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Week Six:

This was a rather uneventful week, and that is probably a good thing.

All we did this week is practice our pre-trip inspections, backing maneuvers, and road courses.

Although the parallel parking maneuvers are still a bit challenging, we can all do them without collecting too many cones. I've found that I can correct most problems and park the rig well enough to pass the test. I suspect that when we test (at the end of next week) it will be considerably easier and, hopefully, with a better score.

I'm feeling much more comfortable when we are on the roads. Even some of the narrow and more congested routes that we take are feeling less intimidating.

On a side note: I spoke with my recruiter this afternoon and she was able to confirm that Celadon will be starting an orientation session on the third of January. I let her know that I will be ready to attend that session. She will be setting everything up on her end to make that happen for me.

Next month at this time I'll be in Indianapolis!

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.

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Week 7:

Today is Wednesday, however the week is - for all practical purposes - over.

Monday and Tuesday we all had our final exam for our pre-trip inspections. I think that there were two people who scored a B. Everyone else scored an A. We continued practicing our backing events and road course driving. Overall, both days were rather uneventful.

This morning our instructors announced that we were going to complete our final exams today, rather than on Thursday and Friday as we had been expecting. I started the day in one of the road trucks. I performed well, overall, but did have a few missed gears, and forgot to announce two of the clearance signs (or lack thereof) at the underpasses. My final score on the road course was an 89, so a good solid B+.

I wound up as the very last student to test on the backing events for the day. Everyone passed the road course test with an A or B.

Only one of us - out of 14 that made it this far - failed the backing events.

So we have been excused from class tomorrow. On Friday we will get a briefing on what to expect when we go to the DVM site. Our instructors have assured us that their testing is much more stringent than DMV's, and there are some differences in how the backing range is marked and how the events will be scored. They also assured us that in the past 10 years they have only had one student pass the schools final exam and then fail at DMV.

The end is near...

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.

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.

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Week 8 - Testing at the DMV CDL testing site:

Monday was test day at DMV. We had three trucks from the school and twelve of the 14 students from the day class (night class will test Tuesday, and the remaining students - including anyone who needs to retest - will be Wednesday and Thursday) and three examiners. The day was not to cold but there was a steady light rain all day. As luck would have it, I was one of the last three to test.

The good part was that I had the opportunity to watch everyone else do their pre-trip inspection and backing exercises. Another good part was that I was there to congratulate all but one of my classmates (he'll retest on Wednesday). The bad part of course was that I had to wait until after 1pm for my turn. Another bad part was that the conclusion of my tests was anticlimactic because all of my classmates were gone by the time I finished my road trip. But the best part was that I did pass all the tests.

My pre-trip inspection went well, although when I finished the examiner confused me by asking, "Are you finished?" I didn't realize that she was prompting me to state that I was finished, so instead started reviewing the pre-trip inspection until I determined that I hadn't missed anything. She asked me again if I was finished, and then I understood that she needed me to say, "I'm finished with my pre-trip inspection." Once I said that, she told me that I passed, and only forgot that my lights were working properly. With that, we moved onto the backing...

The truck was parked in the right-hand lane to begin the exercise. First was the pull up for the straight-line backing, then the pull up for the offset-left event. I bumped a cone for one point on the offset, but used one of my free pull-ups to straighten out and finish the event. She then moved the cones to mark the box for a conventional parallel parking test. I struggled a bit with this event, but only used two free pull-ups to get into the box without any points. Parallel parking was the only bit of the day that I was worried about, and everyone of my classmates had difficulty with this event.

My road test was uneventful. I tried to keep focused by concentrating on my narrative, calling out my gear selection, speed, and repeating the instructions (move into the left lane, turn right at the next light, etc) from the examiner. Although I missed a couple of gears, I corrected the errors quickly. I had one light - a left turn signal where I was slow during my take-off - that changed to yellow before I cleared the intersection, but otherwise I made all my stops properly and I was fairly happy with my performance.

At the end of my road test, the examiner told me to just pull the truck straight into the lot (since there were no other students to test) and stop the truck. She thanked me for a pleasant drive and congratulated me for passing my exams.

Tuesday (today) I visited my local DMV office, paid my fee and now have my temporary Class A CDL. My license will arrive by mail within 7 to 10 business days.

Friday the school will host several recruiters from several companies, hiring local and OTR drivers. Afterwards, they will be presenting us with our certificates during a graduation ceremony.

That concludes this part of my journey. In a few weeks I'll be heading out for orientation at Celadon, and then out for 4 to 6 weeks with my trainer.

Thanks for all the support and information that Brett at all the members of Trucking Truth have provided. I would not have made it this far without you!

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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Congratulations John! Well done.

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Part 2 starts today.

Sunday, Jan 1, 2017:

I'm packed an ready to go. I'll be leaving later this afternoon to drive to Indianapolis, IN to attend orientation beginning Tuesday, Jan 3. I'll stop for the night just north of Louisville, KY and finish the last hour or so of the drive Monday morning. That will get me into Indy rested and leave me plenty of time to check into the dorm at CDA and find my way around the campus.

For my fellow radio amateurs: I'll be monitoring the 2m FM calling frequency and transmitting my position via APRS.

For anyone on CB radio: I'll also be monitoring CB channels 19 & 21

For anyone who is interested in tracking my progress: You can track my position as reported via APRS by clicking here.

I'll post my next update after I arrive at Celadon Driving Academy on Monday. And I'll resume weekly updates on my training at that time.

I hope that everyone has a happy, safe, and prosperous new year!

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.
George G.'s Comment
member avatar

Good luck John! I will follow your progress on APRS thanks for doing that. Good luck and drive safe!

Miss Rose's Comment
member avatar

John,

Congratulations!

I had meant to study more of The High Road Training Program tonight but, I ended up pulled in by reading diaries. I gravitated towards yours when I read that you are in Virginia. I'm in Yorktown and was considering the TCC program. I haven't decided against it completely but, I have enough existing student debt with my undergraduate degree and graduate program; adding more to it is the last thing I want to do.

Thank you for sharing your diary. It's very detailed and well-written. At this point, I'm thinking that we should have a signature line available that always reads "Thanks, Brett! and Thank You, Trucking Truth!"

Congrats again on your CDL! Looking forward to your updates.

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.
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