Prime Inc. CDL Training. Springfield, Missouri

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Turtle's Comment
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Get your 30k trainer already? I assume your pulling flat with someone? Cant wait to hear what you pull if you are.

Yup, my psd trainer had me set up with a TNT guy a few days before I took the cdl exam. Once again, things just fell into place for me as far as training go.

I'll get into a little more detail on the first load when I get a chance.

Must........have........sleep!

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Patrick R.'s Comment
member avatar

Woooo updates! Lol. Good goin man! Look forward to hearing from you on the road

Buck_weat's Comment
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Congratulations Turtle!! I'm very happy for you, and glad you are doing well.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

So the last few days have sorta run together for me. I went right from a comfy casual life at campus, straight into a normal trucker's life.

As mentioned, my TNT trainer (Brian) was set up for me days in advance. This was another stroke of luck on my part. Early on in my PSD phase, Danny had said he would set me up with one of the better TNT guys he knew, depending on availability. By chance, Brian called Danny on Monday to see if he had any students nearing completion. So just like that, I was assigned to Brian's truck. According to Danny, this guy is a good trainer, one who shows the right way to do things.

After passing the exam Friday, Danny took me around to complete all the paperwork required. Then on to DMV to show test scores. Then back to Prime to get a new badge. After all of this, I'm informed that I'm officially hired! Now THAT is a great feeling! This is also when I finally start getting paid too!

It's during this time that we ran into Brian. He said he already had a load scheduled to be in CA by Monday afternoon, so I was to meet him Saturday afternoon. He said I should try to stay up Friday night, so that I can get myself accustomed to driving the night shift.

It was extremely hard staying awake, seeing the last two nights have been nearly sleepless for me. I was so anxious about the cdl exam I couldn't sleep well. But I did make it to 3am at least.

Brian picked me up at around 1700, and we head off towards California. He drives first for about an hour and a half, before handing the wheel to me. He explained that he likes to work 12 hr shifts, 5 to 5. This way it keeps team drivers on a regular body sleep schedule. The only problem is my body has ALWAYS been on a day schedule lol. But I'll adjust.

After giving a brief tutorial on the GPS and qualcom operation, he leaves me to drive while he closes the curtain and hits the bunk.

Finally alone, I'm left to just my thoughts, and the radio in the background. The emotions I feel are almost surreal, and hard to describe. Here I am doing something that up till now has just been a distant plan, or a dream even. You spend months planning and training for this abstract reality, it's hard to believe when it's actually here.

Excitement keeps me going through the night. I'm absolutely exhilarated to be doing this. I only wish it wasn't nighttime so I could see the scenery. But even in the darkness I can see that the landscape is far from anything I've seen before.

I drove 7 hrs straight before needing to take my 30 min break. I pull up to a rest stop near Amarillo, TX, and feared the parking situation. Would I find a spot? Would I be able to get it in that spot? The words I've heard over and over again here in TT kept resounding in my head: DON'T HIT ANYTHING!

To my delight, as I crept along the row of trucks, a pull through spot opened up for me. Easy peesy for my first parking attempt!

After my break, I continued on until Brian took over at 0500. All in all, I'm extremely pleased with this first experience on the road.

I'll be back when I can with more...

Peace

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Patrick R.'s Comment
member avatar

Ugh so jealous! And super happy for ya congrats! Im sure you will see a ton.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Well, my first trip couldn't have gone any better. Our load took us through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and ended in California. Prior to going to Prime, I'd never been any further west than Alabama, and that was over 30 years ago. So this was quite an experience.

The downside is most of it for me was during the night. The rest of the time I was sleeping, or trying to sleep I should say. I did however get to see some of New Mexico during the day time. Let me just tell ya, it was amazing! I've never seen terrain anything close to this. I can only relate it to old westerns I've seen. Seeing it in person is 20 times better.

So I mentioned trying to sleep. That was tough. In one sense I was all amped up. In another I was exhausted from lack of sleep, and excitement from the last couple of days. Sleeping in a moving, bouncing big rig must be an acquired talent. I didn't do so well on my first attempt. It seemed like i would wake up every 20 to 30 minutes, though it may have been a little longer. It will take a bit to get accustomed to it, but that's just part of the learning curve.

My next shift went as well as the first, though I was a bit more tired due to the accumulated lack of sleep over the last few days. Thankfully I only had to drive about 5 hours. Brian wanted to stop in Barstow, CA for the night. Our delivery was only an hour from there, and this would be the nearest truck stop.

At the TA in Barstow, there's a restaurant called the Black Bear or something like that. I ordered a steak and eggs breakfast and boy did they pile on the food! At $10 that was a hell of a deal.

After my 11pm breakfast, I called the wife and bragged about my driving prowess of course. Seriously, driving one of these things makes you feel BIG. So the natural thing to do is brag about it. Though in reality I can't believe they really let me drive this beast.

I hang up with the wife after an hour or so, then I'm left with the ordeal of trying to stay awake. You see, I'm still trying to get my body clock set for the graveyard shift, something I've never done. I'm the kind of guy who can give you 130% of effort for long periods of time. But when I'm sleepy, I'm miserable until I get to lay down. This was one of those miserable nights. But I have to do it if I want to drive safely without fear of falling asleep.

My suggestion to you future Primates is to talk to your trainer asap about drive shifts. Find out what he wants and condition yourself accordingly BEFORE you go out for TNT training. Don't be driving while drowsy.

The morning delivery went smooth. Nothing much to speak of there. Afterward we had to switch trailers at a nearby drop yard, then go nearby to California Steel to pick up our next load. At the gate, Brian had me sign us in. The guard asked to see my safety glasses........

Umm....... well the only ones I have are the prescription shatterproof sunglasses I use on my motorcycle. I brought them with me to use while driving. No one told me I had to have CLEAR safety glasses. But in hindsight it makes sense. A lot of places take safety seriously. Hard hat, CLEAR safety glasses, long sleeve shirts, and closed-toed shoes are a must.

So after searching in vain for an extra pair of safety glasses, I ended up having to wait in the guard shack while Brian went in and got our load. They would not let me in the facility. It was embarrassing, but a good lesson. On the plus side, I had a great conversation with the guards. And they told me this happens all the time.

I was mostly upset that I wouldn't get to see how this load of steel rolls gets secured. But Brian only put on enough chains to get the load outside to the parking lot. There he showed me how he chains and tarps these steel rolls. A great learning experience, for sure.

From here it's time for me to finally crash. Hopefully I can get some good rest before my shift tonight. We're headed to Brighton, Colorado with this load. Awesome! We'll be going over the famed Vail pass with a max load.

Peace

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Patrick R.'s Comment
member avatar

Sleep is overrated! lol. glad to hear its all going well, I'll have to keep in mind needing to get some glasses before I ship out, I am still looking into flatbed. My BP hates me though so havnt called Prime yet.

Danielle's Comment
member avatar

I really enjoy your "blogging skills" turtle. Your experience gives me so much hope of starting school. I was super proud of you passing the exam and even more enthused that you're keeping us updated. Godspeed Turtle. I am hoping to soon leave my office job and get on the road. Thank you so much for your time. By the way You the man!!! lol Be safe and keep us posted!

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Turtle wrote:

From here it's time for me to finally crash.

What an great way to end a perfect day! Something we typically avoid and definitely never plan on doing. Awesome, LOL!

We need to work on your new vocabulary and the list of forbidden words like "crash".

embarrassed.gif

Sounds like you are doing great, keep up the good work.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

The load of steel we picked up in Fontana was destined for Brighton, CO. I did my best to sleep while Brian drove the remainder of his shift. Sleeping is still rough. I'm having a hard time convincing my body that day is now night, so to speak. 47 years of being a "crack of dawn" kinda guy is hard to break.

During my shift, I got my first real taste of mountain grades in a semi. You really gain an appreciation for drivers when you're the one climbing and descending these mountains. If you're not on your game, things can go foul real fast. You really have to be hyper aware of what your truck is doing and know when/where to use your Jakes or brakes. Brian gave me the instructions, then left me to perform safely. I think I did pretty dang good. Some may say I was too careful, but I made it up and down safely on my first attempt. That's a win in my book.

Later, after Brian assumed the helm for his shift, we headed toward Vail. I was excited to see the famous ski area, as well as the scenery. We had already checked the DOT website for road conditions and knew we'd probably have to chain up due to snow up top, but what came next was definitely not expected. We along with tons of other trucks were herded into a parking lot/rest area to wait out a road closure. It seems there was an avalanche...........

Yup that's right, an avalanche somewhere up on Vail pass, blocking the road. Apparently this is a common thing. The dot guy said it'd be cleared up in an hour.....3 hrs later we were still there.

Then came the news that ANOTHER avalanche had occurred near Eisenhower tunnel, this time involving a tractor-trailer, though no injuries reported thankfully. Suddenly I've gained a huge level of respect for this place, without even seeing it yet.

After a total of 6 hrs in the holding pen, we were released to continue up the pass. Sometime before the ascent, we stopped to put the chains on, and I was glad to learn the process. Much easier than I'd thought. Now we climb.

Unfortunately we ran out of daylight halfway up, but I could still see the surrounding mountains and villages, and the beauty was absolutely stunning!

The climb itself went without a hitch. Some sections are fairly steep, but the chains made light work of it. I'd say we topped out at 30mph top speed, though some cars and trucks were whizzing by without fear. I was glad to take our time up there, so I could see better and enjoy the experience.

On the descent, Brian put on a clinic on jake braking. We were hauling 47k pounds of steel, so he was very careful coming down, and I paid very close attention to his technique. I was very quiet throughout this. So much so that Brian at one point looked at me and asked if I was all "white knuckled" over there. Hell no, I was impressed, and soaking it all in!

Near the tunnel, we saw the truck that was taken out by the avalanche. It was covered in snow, but some of that may have came from them clearing the road. No sign of the trailer. I'm guessing it was towed away?

This trip ended up with us and our cargo safely delivered to our intended designation. I have Brian to thank for teaching me the proper, safe way to handle steep and long grades. For it to happen so early in my training was a blessing. This kind of knowledge can only be learned first-hand.

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.

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