A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Topic 19008 | Page 2

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Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

So this update is likely rather boring. Due to the holiday weekend we were informed prior to beginning training that this week would be fairly lax as a couple trainers would be out for the entire week. This was already factored into our training schedule. Since we had a limited number of instructors nobody could go out on the road and all training was simply continued practice in-yard.

DAYS 9-13 (Monday 4/10 - Friday 4/14)

Continued practicing all in-yard skills. Straight line backing, offset backing, 90˚ alley docking, parallel parking etc. Also continued working on both our in-cab and exterior pre-trip. My wife and I really nailed down the in cab portion this week and are pretty confident we could pass the whole pre-trip DMV exam without issue at this point. (I should mention this was all pretty overwhelming prior to training, so don't sweat it!)

As we had lots of study time this week we hit the books pretty hard for our hazmat endorsement. We're now able to pass virtually any online hazmat practice test we can find and are thinking that we'll go take the real deal at the DMV at the end of next week. Still nervous about it as we've heard many folks say they were doing great with practice tests and then went in and failed miserably due to receiving numerous questions they'd never seen before!

The big event this week was further confirmation from our chosen employer. Up until this point we've had a pre-hire from our prefferred company but it was solely based upon verbal communications. This past week they finished reviewing our applications and completed all the necessary background checks. Good news! They're still eager to have us join the team and will have us in for orientation shortly after obtaining our CDL's! (In the meantime we are still continuing to research and speak with other companies. Options are good!)

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.

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

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hope I am not hijacking it, but I am in California and being trained as a WIOA Grant recipient. I am unemployed IT Manager that worked my way through the ranks, but I never attended a college or university, so I have no degree. All the IT Management jobs I ran across required a degree, and and when I applied for entry-level positions I was told I was over qualified for the position, and the mid and senior level positions all required a degree, and I would get the thank you but you don't meet the minimum educational requirements for the position. 20 years of experience does not count these days.

My experience was a bit different getting the grant. In the County I live in you don't visit EDD, I had to visit a Job Training Center of California (JTCC), the local EDD Office may have information on where to apply, but I would Google search WIOA and your county name, that would probably be faster, we don't have a local EDD Office, and they have limited phone hours.

Once I found where I needed to go, I walked in, was told I needed an appointment, made one, but it was 2 weeks away. When I finally had my initial interview, they filled out a form to see if I qualified for WIOA based on family income, then had to schedule taking the tests mentioned above (Reading, Math, Comprehension). Looking back, I should have asked for the interview and test appointments for the same day, the JTCC is not local, but a bit of a drive. Then I waited for a response, asked for a status when I was at 4 months of unemployment, and was told to wait longer.

When I exhausted my unemployment benefits and living off savings for 2 months, I was brought in for a second interview, and given a Grant Application, which was 12 pages. The first few pages were my past job history, then I had to write why I needed to be trained, and why it would benefit me. After that, I had to list the schools I had visited, who I had talked to, and I had to interview 2 people that are driving today. At that point I had to hand in my Grant Application and wait yet again.

It took another month, but I was told my training was approved, and it was at that point I found out they use the schools you visit, the first one I listed was the one they made the voucher out to. They gave me the start date, as well as who to contact at the school. My school is not local either, but a 30 mile drive each way. I am lucky as the school starts you out with computer based learning and practice tests, they allowed me to do those from home, so I did not have to commute. When I went to DMV they paid for the permit, as well as my DOT Physical, not all schools do this, so you need to ask when you are visiting the schools you want to attend.

Good luck, I see you are in Joshua Tree, you will probably need to go to Victorville or San Bernardino for testing and interviewing, or that would be my guess.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

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.

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.
Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes, ChosenOne you are absolutely correct, sorry if I wasn't clear. The EDD does not handle WIOA. You have to go to your county career center and, in my area, that will be the same place in which you would go to meet with EDD or perform any of the required things necessary for your unemployment benefits. Multiple agencies within the career center.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Lynn H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you very much for all the info. It sounds like it's worth a try for me and that it's a time consuming process, so I should get started ASAP. I have created such a weird situation where I have tons of education but none that's in demand and no recent, verifiable job experience. I take dispatch calls from home, but it's as an independent contractor. I can't even get hired at Walmart even though I have tons of customer service experience from my younger days. Which is how I remembered that for a long time I've occasionally thought I'd like to be a trucker, and here I am.

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.

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Time for another update (days are flying by)...

Days 14-18 (Monday 4/17 - Friday 4/21)

We continued practicing all the skills we've learned up to this point. To this we added parallel parking to the passenger side as well as training on coupling and uncoupling trailers. Neither of the new skills turned out to be any big deal. If you can parallel park to the drivers side it's an easy transition to the passenger. Coupling and uncoupling is cake and simply one of those things in which you want to be dang sure you're diligently performing all the steps, as failing to do so may turn out ugly! We also got out on the road several times this week. I'm already feeling ready for the DMV test and the instructors agree. My wife, who had a much bigger nut to crack, is right on my heels. Boring as the training portion of the update may be there actually were a few major things to report this week.

Hazmat

My wife and I went into the DMV yesterday (4/20) and both took, and passed, our hazmat tests! As it turned out the horror stories we had been told were completely unfounded. The test was actually quite straight forward, had no surprise questions we hadn't studied for, and was actually relatively easy in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, we did end up with a bit of drama from later in the evening. The schools office lady calls us up, somewhat panicking, as apparently another student had taken an endorsement exam and the DMV cancelled the students skills test and forced him to reschedule. For those who don't know, in California you can not take the DMV driving test for a CDL within two weeks of receiving your permit. When you receive your permit the school immediately schedules your drive test as the appointment must be booked way in advance. Our test is exactly two weeks from yesterday morning and we took our hazmat yesterday afternoon. Our office lady was implying that this two week requirement applied to endorsements as well, and that our test may now get rescheduled. This could potentially throw us off by a month as appointments are difficult to get scheduled. I was pretty sure this was BS as the lady at the DMV was made well aware that our drive test was two weeks out and that we intend to go in next week for doubles/triples and tankers. Her response to this was simply to inform us that we needed to get them done prior to the drive test or we'd have to pay for them again. The clarification, as of today, is that I was correct, however the school is still tripping about this other student and requesting that we hold off on doubles/triples and tanker till after we obtain our CDL's. We're debating but at this point I'm thinking we'll go in next week as planned, verify one more time that this has no effect on our test date, and just get them done!

Employment

Our preferred employer changed this week! For months now, well prior to school, we thought we'd identified our top choice of companies. This was a very personalized decision based upon our wishing to drive as a husband/wife team, the type of trucking we're interested in, the obvious criteria such as pay and home time, and even the fact that being able to take our little fourteen pound dog was non-negotiable. This week we received yet another pre-hire from a company we were interested in. They fit all of our criteria and are offering better pay, guaranteed weekly minimum pay (essentially an advance but it's something) AND they will train my wife and I together as a team rather than separate us. (More about that when the time comes). Most importantly I'm getting a better vibe from them. They are far more responsive than the other companies we've spoken with and seem genuinely eager to have us on board. Don't get me wrong, this is a recruiter and I get that, but if a company can't manage to hire recruiters who aren't rude and short with us when their trying to sell us, then how will the company themselves or the fleet manager be down the road? (Pun intended) They also have generally better reviews. Again, don't get me wrong, EVERY company we've looked at has ten bad reviews online for every good one, giving one the impression that this industry is as shady as one that advertises "management positions" and turns out to be door-to-door knife sales! This particular company just happens to have a few less bad ones per good one. You'll have to take my word that my wife and I have zero background issues, zero drug/alcohol issues, we have a strong work ethic and we understand the concept of paying our dues. With that being said our greatest fear is that the horror stories will prove true and we'll end up stuck in a truck somewhere with no available loads and being financially starved for weeks or months. Short stints are anticipated as just part of hauling freight, but long term would obviously be an issue. Online chatter gives one a genuine concern for just such an outcome and gives the sense that this whole venture is a major gamble. If that's a concern for you...then stay tuned as I'll be telling you how it goes.

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.

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.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Another update and a lesson learned!

Days 19-24 (Monday 4/24 - Saturday 4/29)

As far as the training update goes it was a typical week. All of the above over and over. Practice, practice. We both received a significant amount of time out on the road and made several trips to and from the commercial DMV to deliver the truck for other students taking their tests. My wife is doing very well and it has been debatable for a week now as to wether she'd test on schedule or need an extra week or two. At this point it's looking like she'll get a reschedule just to make absolutely sure she's fully comfortable, but I'm blown away with her progress. (Incidentally there are several students, who had previous experience driving manuals and pulling trailers, who are also taking the extra time.) As far as significant events...

Hazmat Security Screening

We drove into San Jose on Thursday afternoon for the screening. The opportunity to finally get over and get it done was not anticipated so, while we planned to fill out the application online in advance, we ended up just being walk-ins. I have to say the whole process was both easier than we anticipated and completely bizarre. As we were making the hour long drive after school we were expecting to get there and find ourselves embroiled in a completely inefficient half DMV, half TSA, mess of a system. We had pictured a multi-hour long wait due to not having an appointment, followed by a 300 pound guy in a TSA uniform rolling our fingers in ink. What we got was something quite different. We arrived to find a small office appearing more like an upscale attornies office. The place was adorned wall-to-wall with sports memorabilia, including cases with signed jerseys, signed baseballs and even Super Bowl rings. Clearly it is a privately owned outfit contracted to perform this service. Adding to the unexpected atmosphere was the fact that every employee working there was a young girl who could best be described as a 12 on the ole 1-10 scale and was dressed to the nines. Yes, even my wife couldn't help but notice this! It was noticeably odd as it seems the management collects sports memorabilia while providing NFL cheerleaders with day jobs! Five minutes after getting there we're called into an office by a young woman dressed as if she were on her way to prom. We provide our drivers licenses and passports, get electronically fingerprinted, answer some questions and off we went. Odd experience but all-in-all, very quick and easy.

The Completely Unexpected DMV Test!! (And the lesson learned!)

So our original DMV test dates have been scheduled for this coming Thursday, May 4th, since starting school. I've been doing very, very well in school and the instructors have felt that I've been ready for a solid week now. Today I receive a call at about 8:00 am from the owner of the school. He tells me that there is a slot open to test immediately! Today! On a Saturday, which I didn't even know they tested on Saturdays! He says that he feels I am "more than ready" then asks if I want to come in and "take a crack at it" and explains that, if it goes south, I can just consider it a "free chance" as I'll still have my Thursday appointment. Next thing I know I'm in the car and on my way. I arrive at 9:15 am and discover that two of us are testing. The other guy is a reschedule and not there yet and, if he arrives, they're gonna give him the 10:00am and I'll sit around and wait till 1:00pm. Needless to say 9:50 rolls around and he's still not there. The instructor calls and the guy says he can't find his permit and won't make it in time (thanks for the heads up!). Just like that...I'm testing right now! My only concern was doing something stupid on the drive that would be an auto-fail, like stopping in a crosswalk or shifting on train tracks. The rest of it I've had down pat for two weeks, especially in-cab and pre-trip. So, as instructed, I'm to do the in-cab first and, of course, there can be no mistakes on this part. I begin with compressor/governor cut-out test...no problem. Applied pressure test...no problem. Low warning light test...no problem. Spring brake test...no problem. I then run through all equipment/gauges as I build pressure for the compressor/governor cut-in test...no problem. I then say "my compressor and governor should cut-in at 100psi and the needle should begin to rise" and then perform the test. Afterward the examiner say's "what pressure?". Thinking she actually didn't hear me I say "100psi". She then says "is that what the instructor taught you to say?". CRAP! Now I know somethings wrong! I think for a moment and, knowing damn good and well it's 100psi, I repeat "my compressor and governor should cut-in at 100psi". She says "is that what the manual says?". At this point I'm thinking "Great! I must have been taught the wrong psi!" because I've studied this a million times and I know it's 100psi. I say "yes, I'm pretty sure it says 100psi" to which she replies "okay, let's go talk to your instructor". Of course I know that's examiner speak for FAIL! My instructor comes over and she tells him my answers verbatim and then explains that I failed to say "NO LESS THAN"!! I said "at 100psi" rather than "at no less than 100psi". Auto-fail and, of course, I knew that all along! I simply got nervous and screwed up my terminology. So just like that I'm back to my Thursday test date! Don't get over-confident! (Won't happen again!!)

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

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

If you're testing in California, especially if at the Salinas commercial DMV , you may want to read this one...

Days 25-29 (May 1st - May 5th) ...yes May 5th is actually tomorrow...read on

So training is more practicing all of the above. My wife's test date was set for the 23rd, so not much to say there. This update will be about testing and what has evolved since my first unexpected test opportunity last Saturday.

In the past week I've been tasked, numerous times, with driving the truck to the DMV testing yard for others to use for their tests. Of course, we are not the only school there for testing. Because of this I have literally watched a dozen or more people take their CDL's. Of that dozen I think I've seen ONE pass in a week, with the majority not making it beyond in-cab, and the remainder failing at skills. Each time I've sought to learn from the mistakes of others by questioning as to what happened and storing that as a mental note for my own knowledge. Today was my official "first" test date aside from my "freebie" opportunity last Saturday. Just prior to me today I watched a person from our school fail for a second time, but he made it to the alley dock prior to doing so this time (we've been studying together). Then I watched as a person from another school failed at in-cab. Then it was my turn.

I walked into today with one thought in mind, there was NO WAY I was going to give them even the slightest excuse to fail me. At every step I reiterated what needed to happen and what I was going to do to perform that given test. It went beautifully...at first. In cab went off without a hitch. I made sure to both word things and perform things in such a manner that it couldn't have been judged anything other than passing. Then came the walk-around. I've had this down pat since the first week of school and did the worlds most thorough walk-around. (The examiner even enthusiastically said "good job".) Then came straight line backing. Again, got it down and backed straight through the cones without issue....easy peasy. Next offset backing. Again, I've got it down, I backed into the other lane without a pull-up or any issue whatsoever. Finally I was randomly selected for an alley dock rather than parallel parking. I pulled into position and began to perform the maneuver before realizing that I hadn't judged my starting position properly and would exceed the outer boundary (my perception was a bit different than at our yard). No problem, I took a go-around and started from a little further forward. Pulled it right into the "dock" with two pull-ups (one just to be extra safe) and utilized both my get-out-and-looks, again, just to be safe. All is well I'm thinking as we head out for the on-road portion.

So out we go and I gotta say everything seemed perfect on the drive as far as I was concerned with the exception of the route being all screwed up today! Heavy traffic, construction forcing awkward merges and a standstill on the freeway. None the less I handled it fine. Shifting smoothly, up and down, watching mirrors...all good. Now a couple pre-cursors here. The truck I'm using has had the clutch going out for two weeks! We've repeatedly reported this and it was "adjusted" last week, then again last night. Also, upon returning to this DMV yard there is a crosswalk in mid-road (meaning nowhere near a light) and you must stop before the crosswalk if you do not have a sufficient gap in traffic to make the left into the yard. EVERYBODY knows about this as it is an auto-fail, right at the very end of the course, if you stop in that crosswalk! So on the second half of my drive the clutch is beginning to slip very badly! So badly in fact that I can barely get moving in 4th if starting on any upward slope whatsoever (with a 53', but empty, trailer). The last light is at the top of a relatively steep hill and I'm forced to stop on the worst part of the slope with several vehicles between me and the light. I'm so worried about wether or not the truck is gonna move I debate starting in a lower gear than 4th but decide to do as I was taught and PRAY. Sure enough the dang thing barely moves and I slip my way up to the light at 3mph to catch the red light again. Finally we approach the yard with oncoming traffic so I stop prior to the crosswalk to wait for traffic (it's heavy). I get what I would consider a huge gap and begin pulling forward to turn. At that moment the examiner says "stop, there's not enough room to make the turn", with an oncoming car WAY down the road in a 35 zone. So now I'm stopped in the crosswalk and know that it's over as that's an auto-fail. We stop in the yard and the examiner begins to go over, what I already know, was a failed drive because of that final stop. She also points out that I was "doing some weird lugging while releasing the clutch at several points" and points were lost. Uh NO, the freaking thing is on it's last leg and it had nothing to do with me or my driving! I would have otherwise passed if not for the final turn into the yard. (I swear I had more than sufficient room in that gap!) So, re-test scheduled for 19 days from now with a hope I can slide into an earlier date!

Moral of the story. If you see a school truck sitting in the middle of the road in Salinas waiting for a two mile gap in traffic before making a turn...yeah, that's just me taking my next test. (No school tomorrow as the truck is supposedly getting fixed this time. We'll see!)

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.

Taxman's Comment
member avatar

Maybe you scared her by repeatedly 'slipping the clutch' and feathering the throttle when she wanted you to just go. (you weren't riding the clutch, but it sounds like she didn't know that) And then, on that final turn into the yard, you were slipping the clutch again so she stopped you.

I can think of three things you could have done there, were all three automatic fails?

1. Stop when she told you, right in the crosswalk. Autofail seems to have been the result, but you obeyed a safety order from the licensed driver in charge of the vehicle.

2. Complete the turn she just ordered you not to take (autofail, right? or worse than autofail, if that's possible?)

3. Abort the turn and stop after the crosswalk. Is this a fail too?

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Unfortunately, if she tells you to stop, it's all over with and you auto-fail. The crosswalk crosses the road and intersects with the sidewalk about five feet prior to the gate entrance to the yard. If the truck were fully on the far side of the crosswalk you'd have missed the entrance, which is why you must stop prior to the crosswalk if there is not a sufficient gap in traffic to make one fluid turn into the yard. I genuinely felt I had more than ample space to turn in without cutting off the oncoming car (and with traffic the way it was, the gap was about as good as it was gonna get). She explained to me that if your turn so much as requires an oncoming driver to lift their foot off the throttle for you, then you didn't have sufficient space. The only correct DMV answer is to wait for one enormous gap! Easier said than done in heavy traffic and certainly not the norm as I can't get through the industrial area of Salinas in a four wheeler without routinely slowing for maneuvering trucks. That being said the DMV route takes a turn around a very congested truck stop. Today it was busier than I've ever seen it and we actually got stuck there for about ten minutes as trucks were literally stopped in the road waiting for others to exit so they could enter. As we sat there she kept pointing out driver after driver who "should be ticketed" or shouldn't have a CDL. A bit disconcerting when in the middle of testing for your CDL. To be completely fair I had to agree with her on one guy who tried to make a left at a light into the completely stopped traffic and ended up stuck at a 45˚ angle across the entire intersection, blocking everyone for two full light cycles until trucks were finally able to move. He also attempted to backup and nearly hit the guy behind him. She made me promise I'd never drive like him. Lol.

As a final update. Got a call from the school right after making that last post. I'll be re-testing Monday as I'm taking another students appointment due to them not being ready. Third time better be the charm as this is getting embarrassing! Taking my private pilots exam wasn't this much of a pain in the butt!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Larry, your posts are full of great information, and well thought out. Thanks for all your efforts!

Don't worry too much about failing several times. There are a lot of professional drivers out here who failed their driving test three or four times. You're actually learning a lot from your multiple tests, and all of that will benefit you. It's frustrating, and maybe a little embarrassing, but ultimately not any big deal. Three or four years from now it will be a distant memory with absolutely no ramifications to your career.

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