A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

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Larry K.'s Comment
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Brett- Thank you, and a special thanks for TruckingTruth as this site has been invaluable. Not to worry, we have absolutely no intentions of giving up and will keep playing this game till we come out on top. I'm sure we have countless challenges ahead however, I'd like to believe that after this we'll be dealing with individuals who have some vested interest in the driver. I know our future company trainers get bonuses if we pass our upgrade and can't imagine companies want to waste time and money by deliberately screwing with people. (I could be completely wrong about that, we'll see.) The problem is the DMV examiners could care less and simply go sit in their cars, in their little shack, or walk across the street to 7-11 and wait a couple hours for the next student if they fail someone quickly. Incidentally, and this may be typical but came as shock to me, our school has been dealing with these examiners for quite some time. Of the five typical examiners we are told that only one has a CDL themselves and has ever driven truck, three have admitted they can't even drive stick! They're simply there to insure you follow their checklist as they interpret it. That blew me away as my examiner for my pilots license had 30 years in the air, many of my instructors and examiners in diving school were ex-navy seals and all had numerous years in the industry. Of course the big issue in all this, and the reason for my venting, is not simply about having to retest but the fact that when they pull some trivial junk like this it can take up to a month for that next opportunity. The vast majority of these students are currently unemployed...so it's a big deal to those of us just looking to get back to work!

Cornelius- Very glad you're enjoying! Hopefully we'll have something beyond the training to share sometime soon.

G-Town- Exactly! It is my understanding that the compressor/governor low pressure cut-in is conducted to insure that the compressor/governor will cut-in properly and before pressure drops to an unsafe level (100psi by the book). That's it as far as I'm aware (and please correct me if I'm wrong). I received a "postponement" rather than a fail because this examiner and I talked in detail and he is absolutely, 100%, well aware that I understand this system...I just didn't perform it the way he wanted me to. As I know that some of the examiners will auto-fail you if you get too close to 100psi, especially this particular one, my wording is designed to absolutely insure there's no chance of that and I've practiced it a thousand times. Specifically I say, "I am now going to perform my compressor and governor cut-in test. My compressor and governor must cut-in at NO LESS THAN 100psi. In this truck I know that my compressor and governor will cut-in at 105 and therefore I am going to depress the service brake until I reach 104". I then depress the brake until I reach 104 and wait the prescribed 7-8 seconds until I see the needle rising and say, "my needle began rising at 104 and therefore I know my compressor and governor are cutting in properly". I can not possibly understand how that can be construed as a failure in any way as I've literally made sure to cover all bases. The compressor/governor are in fact cutting in above 100psi, I've identified where it does cut-in, and I've avoided any possibility of being accused of dropping below 100.

Side note: The owner of the school thinks he can get me into a testing spot a week from this Saturday. He says he'll know by next Tuesday. We'll see, fingers crossed.

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
Specifically I say, "I am now going to perform my compressor and governor cut-in test. My compressor and governor must cut-in at NO LESS THAN 100psi. In this truck I know that my compressor and governor will cut-in at 105 and therefore I am going to depress the service brake until I reach 104". I then depress the brake until I reach 104 and wait the prescribed 7-8 seconds until I see the needle rising and say, "my needle began rising at 104 and therefore I know my compressor and governor are cutting in properly". I can not possibly understand how that can be construed as a failure in any way as I've literally made sure to cover all bases.

Ya know, all I can think about as I read this is, "Imagine all of the critical job skills and potentially life saving knowledge you could have been learning if it wasn't for the time you're having to waste because of the idiots who are supposed to be training and evaluating people in this industry. As someone who mentors new drivers into this industry I'm just embarrassed on a regular basis by so many of the people who are supposed to be the true professionals - the instructors, the road trainers, the CDL examiners, and the veteran drivers.

Even the largest website in this industry, which does not need to be named, is an embarrassing cesspool which has destroyed untold thousands of careers before they were even able to get off the ground, and cost millions in recruiting costs for the higher turnover they're causing. And yet Google's algorithms have determined we're only the second best place to go for trucking industry knowledge. Good grief, it's exasperating.

Every one of us here feels we're fighting the good fight for those who want to learn what it takes to be a true Top Tier Professional in this industry. But man is it an uphill battle all the way. We'd love to raise the standards in this industry. We'd love to see better trainers, better training programs, CDL Examiners who actually know how to drive a truck, more professional appearances and conduct, and so much more. We've helped millions of people over the years ourselves, no question about that, but I know for a fact that a lot of people and a lot of opportunities have slipped through the cracks and it feels like a raging river we can hardly fight against.

As I've mentioned, we have a ton of super high quality people here who fought through all kinds of ridiculous, unnecessary struggles to get their start in this industry, and there's never really an end to it completely. You just become far better at learning how this industry operates and avoiding many of the pitfalls.

The one saving grace that you can count on over time is that the cream really does rise to the top in this industry. This is a performance-based industry all the way and by God there's no faking it. You either have what it takes to perform at the highest level consistently, or you don't, and you're not going to fool anyone if you don't.

I'm sure the others here would agree that you sound like the type that's going to push through all of this garbage, you're going to learn all of the tricks of the trade, and you're going to rise to the top like the best of the best have before you. You've accomplished a lot already and you'll do the same in trucking if you keep yourself focused on the end goal.

Thanks a ton for sharing your story so thoroughly with us and we certainly hope you'll continue to do just that. We'll do all we can to guide and encourage you, and your story will do the same for many others coming in behind you.

Keep a great attitude, as hard as that can be sometimes, it'll be worth it in the end.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brett wrote to Larry:

I'm sure the others here would agree that you sound like the type that's going to push through all of this garbage, you're going to learn all of the tricks of the trade, and you're going to rise to the top like the best of the best have before you. You've accomplished a lot already and you'll do the same in trucking if you keep yourself focused on the end goal.

Definitely agree with the above.

Larry once you pass, please ask Officer Pickanitty how his approach to the "cut-in" evaluation will make for safer drivers. Embarrassing.

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

First major hurdle down! CDL's obtained!

My wife's retest was scheduled for 10:15 this morning and, by absolutely pure luck, the owner of the school was able to catch a cancellation and get me into the time slot immediately following hers. We both passed without any issue at all this time and literally did so back-to-back! There were a few interesting tidbits regarding some issues with our truck, both the trucks we had in for testing in fact, but at this point I'm just gonna leave this update with a big "WE PASSED!" and enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend!

We spoke to our company yesterday and, making the assumption we'd both pass today, they scheduled our orientation date. We're gonna take a week to decompress from phase one and square a few personal things away in preparation for being gone. We'll then be leaving on June 6th and will begin our three day company orientation on the 7th. After that we can start tackling the next major hurdle of company training!

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

YEEES! Congratulations! Dancing bananas are the tradition when someone gets their CDL , and tonight we have two CDL's! That's fantastic!

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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.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Congratulations to you both!

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G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Great job!!! Very happy for you both!

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Old School's Comment
member avatar

Congrats to him...

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

And Congrats to her...

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

First off let me start with a big thank you from both of us for all the congratulatory comments. Much appreciated!

Update - June 6th

As today was supposed to be the day in which we were to depart for tomorrow's orientation, I thought I'd post an update as to the current status. This, again, is simply so that those who wish to embark upon this journey in the future can see how it actually goes down, or at least can potentially go down.

Initially we were supposed to receive our hotel confirmations from our company on Monday of this week however, we were called Saturday mid-day and informed that the Wednesday (6/7) orientation at the California terminal was, unfortunately, full. As such we were given three potential alternatives and were given thirty minutes to discuss them prior to having to call back and confirm. We could leave Sunday morning and attend orientation beginning this Monday, we could wait till the following Monday (6/12) to attend, or the company would immediately book us plane tickets out of San Francisco to fly us directly to the Tennessee terminal for a Wednesday orientation. I was actually rather impressed by that last option. I wasn't even aware companies would be willing to spring for last minute plane tickets as most of the stories I've read involve Greyhound tickets, even over great distances. We've sent the company several documents and, supposedly, they have actually conducted all of our background checks so at this time I'm choosing to believe it's a sign that we are highly desirable as potential employees. (Probably not the case, but it sounds good!)

The first option involved departing less than 24hrs from being notified and posed numerous issues. We had a rental car booked (no desire to ride Greyhound if it can be avoided) and we'd have to reschedule, on the weekend, and for the next day (a Sunday). We also have arrangements secured for our dog to be taken care of while we complete company training and had no ability to positively rearrange that in thirty minutes.

The offer to fly out, while appreciated, involved having to get someone to give us a ride to San Francisco International Airport, which is an hour and a half away, on a Tuesday and during work hours. Again, not something we could positively arrange and confirm within thirty minutes. I'll also be honest in that my wife and I like to have our bases covered. We're aware from the stories of others that orientation is NOT a guarantee of employment and that individuals can be sent home for any one of numerous reasons. Often times we hear that people are left high-and-dry when this occurs and stuck trying to find a way home on their own. If this should happen to one or both of us, we'd rather be in Southern California with a rental car than in Tennessee needing to pay for a return plane ticket to California on a last minute booking!

Ultimately we selected the option of going next Monday. We'll depart Sunday the 11th and begin orientation Monday the 12th. And to think, I was under the impression that all the hurry-up-and-wait stuff wasn't going to start until we began running freight!

Interesting side note:

Upon going into our school to pick up our diplomas the office lady confided in us and told us a story which explains the headaches we experienced with testing at our commercial DMV. I immediately had to come home and Google it for myself. Apparently, and from what the office lady told us, this DMV is still under a major crackdown as it is embroiled in an ongoing investigation due to one of these false CDL's being issued to an individual who got into an accident resulting in multiple fatalities. My wife is absolutely convinced that they had me pegged as being undercover! Lol! (Who knows, but I wouldn't doubt it.)

See for yourself: https://calcoastnews.com/2015/08/salinas-dmv-employee-traded-drivers-licenses-for-bribes/

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Cornelius A.'s Comment
member avatar

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First major hurdle down! CDL's obtained!

My wife's retest was scheduled for 10:15 this morning and, by absolutely pure luck, the owner of the school was able to catch a cancellation and get me into the time slot immediately following hers. We both passed without any issue at all this time and literally did so back-to-back! There were a few interesting tidbits regarding some issues with our truck, both the trucks we had in for testing in fact, but at this point I'm just gonna leave this update with a big "WE PASSED!" and enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend!

We spoke to our company yesterday and, making the assumption we'd both pass today, they scheduled our orientation date. We're gonna take a week to decompress from phase one and square a few personal things away in preparation for being gone. We'll then be leaving on June 6th and will begin our three day company orientation on the 7th. After that we can start tackling the next major hurdle of company training!

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

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