A Husband And Wife Trucking Journey

Topic 19008 | Page 3

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Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you Old School! That is appreciated more than you know! Now if I can just convince my wife of the same, as she is shaking in her boots seeing all these people fail. Same goes with numerous new students at school. My wife, myself and one other guy are assigned to the blue Volvo at our school. We were told that all the new students are referring to those of us on the Volvo as the "A-team" as we all appear to know what we're doing. Now they're watching two of us fail miserably and are getting quite nervous. Hopefully my wife learns from our mistakes as she hasn't had her first test yet.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Good luck, Larry. I hope the Blue Volvo has a new clutch in it by Monday.

Now I have another question: Are semi clutches self adjusting, or is manually restoring free play to the pedal part of normal maintenance? From a self-adjusting/automotive perspective, the disk is down to its rivets, and whoever is trying to adjust that out of it would just be fooling themselves and damaging the flywheel.

Jim A.'s Comment
member avatar

Larry question do you have to retest on in cab etc. or do you just have to do the skills test over. Been awhile and I forget. My wife is going to get her CDL soon and was wondering thank you.

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.
Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Jim: I'll need to do the in-cab and the drive only. My exterior walk-around and skills are all complete and won't need to be repeated. I'm also told that it will not be necessary to go over gauges or equipment during the in-cab on this next one. Just the basic compressor cut-out, applied pressure, low-pressure light, spring brakes, compressor cut-in, tractor brakes, trailer brakes and service brake tests...then I'll drive.

Incidentally, I'm sitting here right now waiting for a call to see if I'm taking the spot of a guy who may not make his 1:00pm test time today. Aside from that I spent three hours yesterday (two separate attempts) trying to get an earlier test date and they have NOTHING for anybody prior to the 24th! (They were swapping me with a guy on Monday but, while performing the swap, they released the guys test time in the computer and it was immediately booked by someone else!)

Taxman: Thank you for the best wishes. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you regarding the clutch issue. I'm not completely void of mechanical knowledge but know little specifically about big-rigs. It was just reported to me that the clutch is functioning better right now and will be replaced completely this coming week. I hope so if I end up testing today as I haven't driven it since the last test!

Jim A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Larry

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

No problem Jim.

So no testing for me today as it looks like the afternoon guy is gonna make it for the test. No idea when I'll be testing and, for all I know at this point, I'll just be hanging out watching my wife train until the currently scheduled date of the 24th. Hopefully I can catch a cancellation and get this thing wrapped up.

For those wondering how my wife is doing...

I dropped her off early this morning so she could drive the truck to Salinas for this mornings testing. This is roughly a 50 mile round trip which involves rural roads, intercity areas and freeway. Typically a different route is taken for each direction and usually they get to Salinas early to drive all over the industrial areas. We also had some pretty gusty winds this morning, hitting at around 35mph at some points. Upon returning the instructor said she's doing great and is "out-driving us all".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

So here's the latest...

My wife finally had her first test yesterday and was assigned an examiner we had never seen before. As it turns out this female examiner was filling in from a different DMV location. My wife absolutely loved the lady and was thrilled that this examiner was so willing to be patient with her as she's VERY nervous. She passed her in-cab without issue (we do it PRECISELY the same way as we practice together every day), she then passed her exterior pre-trip scoring a 96 (this examiner actually told her the score she received). She then moved onto skills and performed her straight-line flawlessly and the offset backing equally as flawlessly. At this point she was assigned to do a parallel park to the drivers side. Believe it or not, this is one of my wife's best maneuvers. She had to use a go-around but then pulled it off without a hitch. At this point she's pretty confident she's got this in the bag, probably too confident, as she goes out driving. Upon leaving the yard she drags the trailer over the curb a bit as she's leaving. Several instructors watching say "Ooh! That's an auto-fail" but the examiner tells my wife it's ok and they keep going. As onlookers, we wait to see if she comes back immediately as if she doesn't we know the examiner let her off. Sure enough she does not return. Twenty minutes later she returns but is not coming from the prescribed route and, of course, we all know that's not good. Along the course there is an extremely tight turn out by an airport. The whole point to this part of the course is to insure you do not clip the curb. Unfortunately during my wife's drive there were several police officers and cars parked along this road, making it nearly impossible and she clipped the curb. The examiner told my wife that she recognized the added difficulty but unfortunately could not giver her a second pass on this one. All said and done my wife was thrilled as she made it all the way through to the driving portion and will simply have to repeat that and the in cab. We go into the DMV afterwards and she is assigned a re-test date of this Saturday.

Now for me...

Some prelude here. As my wife was waiting for her examiner the same lady was busy finishing up another guys test. We watched as she set out for the drive with this middle-aged Hispanic man. Upon returning the guy pulls right into the crosswalk to wait for traffic, without even attempting to stop prior to it. He's squarely stopped with the crosswalk bisecting the middle of the truck and waits for 1-2 minutes there for traffic. (See my previous posts but this is well known as being an automatic fail...ALWAYS). Every instructor, three or more, waiting say's "Oh man, auto-fail". Finally the guy comes walking across the street and my instructor asks "So you failed on the last stop?", to which the guy smiles and replies "No, I passed!". WTF???

Now here's the deal guys, I understand that reading something on the net you must assume it's just some shmuck griping. So all I can say is this. I attended the Divers Institute of Technology for an eight month course in commercial diving including numerous certifications. I was class president and graduated second in my class, being beat by the number one guy by 1/10th of a percent. Years ago I took a multi-week automotive finance school and was ranked #1 in my class. I hold a pilots license. I'm not an idiot! I do my homework and I study! In CDL school it is others who ask me for help!

So today I get my test. I simply need to perform in-cab and do the driving. I proceed to perform my in-cab with a known examiner and do so PRECISELY how I passed it before. PRECISELY how my wife did so yesterday and passed. At the end the guy says "would you perform your low pressure cut-in again". Uh, oh! This is the exact examiner who has failed numerous students on the low pressure for taking it slightly below 100 psi (which all claim they did not do). In the truck we are in you have to be dang careful as one depression of the service brake takes you to 106 and the compressor will not kick in, but two will take you to 95 or even 90. He has told numerous students it is not necessary to drop all the way to 100psi if you know it will cut in at 104-105. I gingerly depress the brake to 104 and the needle begins rising EXACTLY as I've passed previously. He tells me I'm saying everything right but that is not how the test should be performed and he expects a full brake depression and if it doesn't cut-in a second full brake depression. This would DEFINITELY drop the pressure below 100psi in this truck! So he doesn't fail me but gives me a "postponement". I go into the DMV for a reschedule and they tell me the SOONEST possible retest date is June 24th!!! These freaking people are bound and determined to put us on welfare and we have a company waiting on us!

One thing is becoming abundantly clear to those of us watching, it is far less about whether or not you know what you're doing and far more of a pre-planned "I'm gonna make this one quick". Perhaps because they don't want their breakfast getting cold, perhaps because of the color of the students skin! (In my observance it appears both are equally as likely on any given day!)

This is getting ludicrous! At this point I'm starting to check the back of my pants to make sure nobody tagged me with a pro-Trump bumper sticker!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Man, that really sucks. The reality is that the trucking industry really is loaded with jerks, no doubt about it. There's a lot of fragile egos looking to make themselves feel better by belittling others. It's sad, it really is.

That whole spiel about doing the brake test but being careful not to go below 100 psi and all that? I drove for 15 years, and retired almost ten years ago, and I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. They're failing people for trivial, stupid stuff that has nothing to do with anything. Unbelievable.

Years ago I went to school full time for a year for Harley Davidson Mechanics. We had an instructor like that. Literally every student and every teacher in the entire placed hated the guy with a passion. They lost count of how many guys waited for him out in the parking lot, and how many times the police had to be called to defend him from getting killed out there. I honestly have no idea how he survived any of it.

He'd take away points if your shirt was untucked a little, or if you set a tool down too loud, or a million other trivial stupid things that had nothing to do with anything. And we were paying $12,000 grand to be there and for whatever reason the school let him completely distract everyone from the task at hand over an untied shoelace or a screwdriver with the wrong color handle.

Honestly, there isn't anything you can do but keep pushing forward. You've been around, you know there's guys like that out there, and this won't be the last. I don't mind you venting about it here, I would want to do the same. One way or another you'll get through it.

I really wish there was something I could offer to help. I really do. All I can say is that after almost 25 years in this industry I've watched this kind of thing happen time and time again. We have some amazing people in this forum that have been here for many years now and I watched them go through the same type of nightmares you're going through now. It doesn't help your situation any to say it, but I assure you that you're far from alone. Many people have suffered the same sort of nightmares, and there will be many others that come behind you.

Whatever you do, don't give up. Don't even consider it. Someday you're going to get through it, and for years you'll be able to use your story of perseverance to help others get through their own troubles.

We're certainly pulling for you guys. I hope you'll keep pushing forward and I hope you'll keep us updated. Believe me, if I had any ideas on how you could get some testing sooner I'd darn sure tell ya.

Cornelius A.'s Comment
member avatar

I will second old school on your posts I completely stopped watching the tv show I was watching when I started reading your posts,,... started from day one and they are so amazing. they read like a novel

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Larry doth protest (I would too):

At the end the guy says "would you perform your low pressure cut-in again". Uh, oh! This is the exact examiner who has failed numerous students on the low pressure for taking it slightly below 100 psi (which all claim they did not do). In the truck we are in you have to be dang careful as one depression of the service brake takes you to 106 and the compressor will not kick in, but two will take you to 95 or even 90. He has told numerous students it is not necessary to drop all the way to 100psi if you know it will cut in at 104-105. I gingerly depress the brake to 104 and the needle begins rising EXACTLY as I've passed previously. He tells me I'm saying everything right but that is not how the test should be performed and he expects a full brake depression and if it doesn't cut-in a second full brake depression. This would DEFINITELY drop the pressure below 100psi in this truck! So he doesn't fail me but gives me a "postponement". I go into the DMV for a reschedule and they tell me the SOONEST possible retest date is June 24th!!! These freaking people are bound and determined to put us on welfare and we have a company waiting on us!

Good grief..., emphasis on "grief". This examiner; we'll call him Officer Pickanitty , should read his state's CDL manual (Cally, I think?). The compressor should cut-in no lower than 100psi or near 100psi, as stated very clearly in the manual. There is nothing in any CA manual I was able to review (within an exhaustive 5 minute search) that states anything resembling his issue of "it's not necessary to knock the air down to 100psi if you know the compressor will start at 104psi". Wh-aaaat? It depends on the equipment...if he expects every student to know exactly where the compressor cuts-in, 102, 103, 104 psi in order to gauge the number of times the service brake pedal is fully depressed, that is incredibly unfair and not relevant in testing a student's knowledge, especially if (and here is the kicker IMO) their narrative was spot-on. How contradictory is that? His issue with taking the pressure under 100 isn't even an interpretation, it's arbitrary and unsupported.

Not that I suggest confrontation, but at some point I'd love to hear his justification for this. Although I cannot come up with his rationale on this, he may have a legitimate reason.

I'd probably flunk his test...OMG.

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.

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.

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