A Husband And Wife Trucking Journey

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Bud A.'s Comment
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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/

That is interesting. I have heard that the reason Nebraska's weigh stations are manned by the State Patrol instead of DOT employees is that the DOT folks were soliciting bribes from truckers with overweight loads. "Your truck weighs 80,400 pounds. Just leave 400 pounds of steaks and we'll let you go without a ticket." I'm not sure if that's really the reason since I couldn't find anything when I searched on the internet for a story, but the person who told me is generally a knowledgeable and reliable source, and that sort of thing might not hit the news.

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.

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.

Larry K.'s Comment
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Pre-Orientation Update

Well, we're here and all checked in at the motel for orientation. Gotta say that at this point we're both just sitting here thinking how weird it is to finally be at this stage. The hotel they put us up in is a perfectly acceptable basic travelers motel. Room is clean & comfortable, a/c works and the internet is free and faster than what were used to on our boat. The whole experience is oddly reminiscent of my being shipped off to New Orleans for the diving industry, except that this time it's me and my wife rather than me and a dozen other guys stressing out over what's going to happen over the next few days. My wife did get a kick out of counting all the female truckers we passed going over the Grapevine on the way here. No less than half a dozen or so counted just on the Grapevine itself.

Our recruiter had told us that, upon arriving at the hotel, the front desk would give us a packet of paperwork to fill out and that we should e-mail her to confirm our check-in. In fact we were told that if we could arrive early we'd be able to get the packet filled out and be one step ahead for orientation. Unfortunately the front desk had no packet for us but instead just a "welcome" letter telling us to meet the shuttle at 6:30am tomorrow and listing what we'd need to bring. I then e-mailed our recruiter from the room, as requested, and immediately received an auto-response stating she'd be out of the office till 6/19. and provided the e-mail of another recruiter who'd assist individuals seeking assistance for orientations beginning 6/12. Apparently she failed to mention to us this past week that she would be gone the week of our orientation. Not to worry, I fully expected the recruiter to drop us like a hot potato the moment we arrived for orientation. Of course, we also don't actually need her for anything at the moment so I'll think positive and just assume that if we need something the other gentleman will handle it.

Anyhow, orientation will last three days and I'll post a "what we did today" in the evenings if time permits. Obviously this is a critical stage so we'll keep our fingers crossed that all goes well and take it one day at a time.

Update to the update....lol

Just prior to hitting the "submit" button the room phone rang, A company representative called us down to meet in the lobby and went over the details of orientation. Nice young lady. So far it seems like they've got it together!

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

David's Comment
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Good luck to you and your wife. reading through your story, i couldnt help but think of the team couple on youtube that i've been watching... "Lovin Truckin"

Enjoy ya'll night, and enjoy orientation tomorrow =D

Larry K.'s Comment
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Company Orientation Day 1

What a day! Phew! Not particularly difficult in the "hard work" sense but rather in the very stressful "if we're gonna get sent home, it'll likely happen today" sense. We woke up about 4:00am, after neither of us having slept particularly well, to meet the shuttle at 6:30. We arrived to discover that we had gotten lucky with an exceptionally small orientation class of seven people. The first few hours were filled with watching videos while simultaneously filling out mounds of paperwork. Periodically throughout this we'd be pulled out, one at a time, to perform our physical agility tests, blood pressure tests and drug tests. Paperwork consisted of everything from benefit enrollments to sexual harassment policies. The videos ranged from company introductory videos to comdata videos. Unfortunately, very little from the videos stuck as we were doing paperwork and being pulled out of the room as they were playing. After all the morning activities were completed we had a short, 10 minute, drive test. The final task, performed at the end of the day, was to complete two drives on the simulator.

Physical Agility Test & Blood Pressure

I had watched videos on the physical agility test and really wasn't concerned about it for either of us. As it turned out it was a cake walk. You're taken into the terminal weight room and you begin by having your blood pressure taken. THIS I was worried about simply because I stress and my blood pressure can spike to borderline levels. Turned out it was 120/89, or right about there. They then have you doing ten squats in which you must place your hands together and touch the floor each time. Afterwards they check your heart rate. Then you lift a milk crate filled with 30lbs off a knee high bench and must turn 90˚, squat until it touches the floor, lift it again, turn 90˚ back to the bench and set it down. You repeat this three times and then they take your heart rate again. They then place an additional 20lbs in the crate, for a total of 50lbs, and you repeat the same process. After that they have a diamond plated steel bench designed to simulate the rear of a trailer. You must step up on the lower bar, then kneel up onto the deck, then place one foot flat on the deck in front of you. You then reverse the process to get down and they take your heart rate. You are then taken to a pull bar, which is a bar tied at both ends which attaches to a scale mounted on the wall. You first must pull the bar and I believe the target number was 90lbs. Then you push the bar for 75lbs. (The weight may be backwards there but that's what I believe they said.) They then take your heart rate again. And that's it! All done! (Incidentally my wife and I are in our early forties and are each packing 30 more pounds than we should be. Still not an issue.)

Drug Test

Pee in a cup, then initial it.

Drive Test

To my wife's credit she jumped at the chance to be the first one in the truck. I nervously watched as she drove out and returned about ten minutes later. Passed! A couple guys waiting on trainers told me as she left that it was easy and really just amounted to going around the block. I was however warned that there was one turn where everyone clips a ditch. When my wife returned I went out to meet the examiner (I guess that's what you'd call him but we later discovered he runs the whole show here). As I met my wife she told me she had passed, but warned me that she got dinged for taking the second turn to wide (which I thought was odd). She also informed me that the truck was far different from any we'd driven, the gears were much tighter and the layout was different. I made a mental note and headed out. As I got in the truck it was clear that she was correct. It will be great driving these trucks in the long run but there was zero time to get to know it and it was far different from our old Volvo at school. I approached the second turn (all right turns) and remembered to watch taking it to too wide. Bad advice! I kept it tight and barely, and I mean barely, hung the outside of my tire over the ditch. Needles to say I got another chance and passed just fine. Turns out the issue was that my wife held it in the left lane too long before getting over. That's what she was dinged for, not "taking it to wide". Anyhow, we passed!

Simulator!

This was a trip as we'd never had access to a simulator at our school! There were two drives, the first being a super easy simulator introduction. The second drive is what I'll call the "the roads are packed and EVERYONE is a freaking a@&hole" test!!! It was insane! Over the course of a few simulated miles you have people that won't let you merge, idiots running out into the freeway, a semi on the opposing side of the freeway that crashes and explodes making you think someone hit your truck, an ambulance parked on the shoulder that veers out in front of you to respond to the crashed truck, cars cutting in front of you, people changing tires half in the road, rain, thunder, lightning and ice. It was freaking nuts and felt like we were playing Grand Theft Auto - Trucking Edition!!! My wife scored a 94% and I scored 93%. Both generous scores if you ask me, and yes, she beat me again!

We're not supposed to know if we're hired till Wednesday. That being said, we literally passed everything critical today so, barring something completely unforeseen, it's looking good.

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.

Larry K.'s Comment
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Company Orientation Day 2

As stated in the last post, all the critical stuff was completed yesterday so today was far more relaxed. The morning began by meeting the shuttle at 7:50am for the twenty minute ride to the terminal. Upon arriving we sat down in the classroom, with coffee in hand this time as we couldn't have any yesterday, and began watching videos. After watching a couple hours of videos we watched a few more videos, then they threw in a couple more videos just for good measure! Lol! As far as the content they were more training related today rather than introductory in nature. They ranged from very informative pre-trip procedures to training on how to use the Qualcomm. Our company is primarily a team based, hazmat orientated, company. As such we spent the latter part of the afternoon going over the hazmat related aspects of the companies freight. I should probably mention for those just looking into the trucking industry that "hazmat" is often very innocuous, everyday items, such as batteries or lighters. We've always known that the real training would come after CDL school when we finally got on with a company. Today we spoke in detail regarding the numerous clients we may service with this company and one thing became abundantly clear...we have a LOT to learn in the months ahead aside from simply how to safely maneuver a truck!

A Hazmat Issue To Be Aware Of

So if you've read the entire thread you are aware of the issue we had regarding our school requesting we hold off on our doubles/triples and tanker endorsements. Initially we planned on banging them out anyhow but decided against it as we didn't want to chance any further delays in the testing process. Upon receiving our CDL's I e-mailed our company recruiter and explained that we had our hazmat but did not obtain the other endorsements due to the schools request. She explained that we could do them in the future when, and if, we wished. Well today we discovered that is NOT the case. Our company does not run tankers, however, we must have the tanker endorsement to run hazmat. In fact, if I understood correctly, everyone must have the tanker endorsement to run hazmat after this past April. (Someone experienced may be able to shed more light on that.) Anyhow, guess what we'll be doing Thursday? Yep, back to the DMV to hammer out a couple more endorsement tests. Shouldn't be any big deal, but it sucks.

Company Impression Thus Far

I have to say that so far we are both very pleased with our decision to come to this company. We've been treated well in terms of accommodations and they've been providing all meals. Nearly everyone we've met has been great, from the experienced drivers and fellow students to the terminal personnel. This particular terminal is not the main terminal for the company but it is clean in terms of the drivers lounge, laundry facilities, showers and classrooms. From our inexperienced perspective the equipment all appears new, clean and well maintained. From the end of the day yesterday and throughout today we've seen indications that the job is ours to lose and that we hold value as a husband/wife team with clean backgrounds. It was clear today that some individuals are already experiencing issues regarding background related items. At least one has been sent home and it appears two others may be having issues (We mind our own business but can't help but notice). We, on the other hand, brought a mound of paperwork, just to be on the safe side, and haven't even had to show any of it other than the basics. I'm guessing our background checks made it pretty cut and dry.

Incidentally, we were singled out today and it was pointed out that if we "really want to maximize our income" they "really like" husband/wife teams for their long distance dedicated refrigerated runs. We actually hope to go refrigerated as we've heard numerous times that the freight and miles are more consistent. We also happen to know that this company services a refrigerated client just 14 miles from our home, having numerous trucks there everytime we pass by. We're just not sure about the concept of running a dedicated route yet. We know that's likely where the money is, and we see the benefits of knowing our route like the back of our hands. We also want to see the entire country and gain the trucking experience from doing so though. In addition we have friends running a dedicated route with Schneider and, as the husband in this equation, I'm not sure I want to drop my wife directly into the exhausting situation of running out our clock every week with a 34 hour reset at home. I'm sure we'll learn more as our training progresses and determine what's right for us. In the meantime, and as I said before, it's nice to have options!

I'm sure that eventually someone will ask what company we're with and I'm also aware that some experienced folks may very likely be able to guess. I think that in order to have the freedom to convey our experience as it actually happens it's important that I don't make this a company specific thread and withhold that bit of information.

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

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.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Company Orientation Day 3

Not a great deal to report today. We reported for orientation at the same time as yesterday and continued with training videos. Today the videos were focused more upon route planning, safe driving practices and company apps which we will be utilizing. In the afternoon we continued going over how to fill out our paper logbooks and completing them for the days we have "worked" so far. We also spent a great deal of time in just general conversation and I have to say, again, everyone has been fantastic.

As it turns out we will have one more short day of orientation and will likely finish around noon tomorrow. While some individuals were informed they were hired today (primarily those coming in with experience) we were told that they should have our paperwork completed tomorrow morning and that we will receive our employee ID numbers and be officially employees at that time. As we will be training together as a husband/wife team we expect to get our trainer sometime next week. We could be wrong, but we both get the impression that there is a genuine effort being made to insure that they get us a good one. Fingers crossed that we are correct in that!

Do You Vape? We do!

So this is a side note item but something we were initially a bit concerned about. I think others may be as well. My wife and I quit smoking and switched to vaping in late 2009, before hardly anyone even knew what "vaping" was. Neither of us has touched a cigarette since. As such we were concerned that in order to have a trainer tolerant of vaping we'd have to subject ourselves to being with a smoker, which would have been really tough for my wife especially. Turns out that our concerns were completely unfounded. I've been amazed at how many experienced drivers have rolled into the terminal and are vaping rather than smoking. We informed our safety manager today that we do vape and, if we had to, we'd go with an out-of-truck smoker if it was necessary. He responded with a resounding "NO" and told us that as vapers we don't want to be in a truck full of smoke and ashes that would soak into everything we own, or even an out-of-truck smoker for that matter. Very understanding! It makes total sense to me that companies would prefer vaping, after all the same benefits it provides us are major benefits for the company. The vehicles don't stink, you're not burning everything, you don't have ashes and trash everywhere, etc. Anyhow, we're both very pleasantly surprised that this turned out to be a complete non-issue!

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Company Orientation Day 4 (Yesterday)

Day four was less of an orientation and rather was centered around one thing. We are now officially hired! The morning was spent simply going over the last minute details of actually being employed with the company. We were issued our company ID numbers, assigned our comdata cards, assigned to a training team, a trainer and a fleet manager.

After that was finished we met with a wellness coach. This is simply an individual contracted with an outside company that assists drivers to stay healthy and meet their personal health goals while on the road. They also assist you in insuring that you'll pass your future DOT physicals. Incidentally, they took my blood pressure again to establish a base-line. As there was nothing riding on this blood pressure test there was no stressing over it and it came out ideal for my age.

DMV Fiasco (Again!!)

I'd love to say this day was nothing but celebration and high-fives for getting hired, unfortunately that was not the case. After orientation was over we headed to the DMV to take our doubles/triples and tanker endorsements. This DMV was packed and we waited a solid twenty minutes just to get to the check-in window. Here in California you must now prove residency and citizenship with multiple documents and, thinking ahead, we brought all of that with us. As we checked in the lady asked for these documents, as well as our CDL's, and looked everything over prior to even giving us a number. She even chuckled that we were on top of things and had clearly been through this before. My wife received the lower of the two numbers and, after about a thirty minute wait, she was called to a window and went to take her tests. Then I was called. My wife received her official license a couple days prior to leaving for orientation, unfortunately, mine did not arrive and therefore I'm still operating with the paper temporary one. Needless to say they would not allow me test until I receive the hard copy, thereby making this trip to the DMV pointless as it's a both-of-us or neither-of-us situation. (It would have been really nice if the lady at check-in had mentioned that as we'd have just left!)

My wife easily passed both her tests and returned to the window. Now at this point this would have been little more than an inconvenience, that is until she was informed that her hazmat had been dropped from her license!! Hazmat is critical for us, so this was not good! They were telling her that she'd have to re-take the hazmat test in order to have it added again. While she very likely would have passed, she hadn't even looked over the information since passing the first time and was absolutely distraught at the concept she may fail. As she was unwilling to even risk the possibility they initially were going to void her application for doubles/tripes and tankers and just drop her back to hazmat only so she could leave having what she came in with. Anyhow, this literally turned into tears being shed (she's been stressed as it is and didn't need this crap at this point). Ultimately they managed to wave the need for her to test and she finally walked out having hazmat, doubles/triples and tankers. Unfortunately, as they wouldn't allow me to test for tankers, it really has no benefit at this point. Upon returning to our company we were told that the DMV was incorrect to begin with and that she never should have been required to re-take hazmat since she passed and received it so recently. Gotta love the DMV!

So we're now just hanging out waiting on our trainer at this point. As he's currently on the other side of the country were waiting on a decision for one of three options. Either he'll drive here and pick us up, he'll fly here and we'll drive a local truck back to the main terminal or we'll fly to the main terminal and meet him. We're good with any of those options and simply waiting.

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

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Company Orientation Day 4 (Yesterday)

Day four was less of an orientation and rather was centered around one thing. We are now officially hired! The morning was spent simply going over the last minute details of actually being employed with the company. We were issued our company ID numbers, assigned our comdata cards, assigned to a training team, a trainer and a fleet manager.

After that was finished we met with a wellness coach. This is simply an individual contracted with an outside company that assists drivers to stay healthy and meet their personal health goals while on the road. They also assist you in insuring that you'll pass your future DOT physicals. Incidentally, they took my blood pressure again to establish a base-line. As there was nothing riding on this blood pressure test there was no stressing over it and it came out ideal for my age.

DMV Fiasco (Again!!)

I'd love to say this day was nothing but celebration and high-fives for getting hired, unfortunately that was not the case. After orientation was over we headed to the DMV to take our doubles/triples and tanker endorsements. This DMV was packed and we waited a solid twenty minutes just to get to the check-in window. Here in California you must now prove residency and citizenship with multiple documents and, thinking ahead, we brought all of that with us. As we checked in the lady asked for these documents, as well as our CDL's, and looked everything over prior to even giving us a number. She even chuckled that we were on top of things and had clearly been through this before. My wife received the lower of the two numbers and, after about a thirty minute wait, she was called to a window and went to take her tests. Then I was called. My wife received her official license a couple days prior to leaving for orientation, unfortunately, mine did not arrive and therefore I'm still operating with the paper temporary one. Needless to say they would not allow me test until I receive the hard copy, thereby making this trip to the DMV pointless as it's a both-of-us or neither-of-us situation. (It would have been really nice if the lady at check-in had mentioned that as we'd have just left!)

My wife easily passed both her tests and returned to the window. Now at this point this would have been little more than an inconvenience, that is until she was informed that her hazmat had been dropped from her license!! Hazmat is critical for us, so this was not good! They were telling her that she'd have to re-take the hazmat test in order to have it added again. While she very likely would have passed, she hadn't even looked over the information since passing the first time and was absolutely distraught at the concept she may fail. As she was unwilling to even risk the possibility they initially were going to void her application for doubles/tripes and tankers and just drop her back to hazmat only so she could leave having what she came in with. Anyhow, this literally turned into tears being shed (she's been stressed as it is and didn't need this crap at this point). Ultimately they managed to wave the need for her to test and she finally walked out having hazmat, doubles/triples and tankers. Unfortunately, as they wouldn't allow me to test for tankers, it really has no benefit at this point. Upon returning to our company we were told that the DMV was incorrect to begin with and that she never should have been required to re-take hazmat since she passed and received it so recently. Gotta love the DMV!

So we're now just hanging out waiting on our trainer at this point. As he's currently on the other side of the country were waiting on a decision for one of three options. Either he'll drive here and pick us up, he'll fly here and we'll drive a local truck back to the main terminal or we'll fly to the main terminal and meet him. We're good with any of those options and simply waiting.

I gotta say, I don't miss CA DMV... the only state where you have to show 16 forms of I'D, surrender your first born, and take every test even though you just did 1 week prior... ( I took my General, air and combo test then went back to add tanker and they made me do alll 4 again) good luck to you and the Mrs. Look forward to hearing about your 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

About to embark upon the biggest hurdle

It's hard to believe that, after all the nerve-racking things we've been through, permit testing, medicals, first day driving a semi, all the incredibly stressful and chaotic DMV final testing, all the evaluations necessary to get hired...it was all leading up to today and the beginning of what seems universally considered to be "the hard part". Trainer should be here by noon and we may leave as early as this afternoon (possibly in the morning). Minimum of 5 weeks living in a truck with a complete stranger as he teaches us what this is really all about. Fortunately, we're both intelligent enough to know that, at this point, we know nothing! Our first run will be about 2000 miles to Tennessee. The experienced folks have all assured us that we'll want to quit within the first couple days (not sure that helped). Right now it's an odd mixture of excitement, anticipation and utter dread!

Incidentally, as soon as we received our trainers name I Googled him. A company article came up from 2013 in which he won his state truck driving championship and was sent on to represent the company at the national level. VERY glad to know we'll be with someone experienced who knows what they're doing!

Wish us luck! (No, seriously....wish us luck!)

As they say... "The only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude!"

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
As they say... "The only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude!"

That was exactly the point I was going to try to make. Approach it all as a grand adventure. It sure was to me! I was lucky enough to have a great trainer and I only had a two week training period before going solo.

But seriously, have a blast. Even if your trainer isn't the friendly type, it's only short term, and you're still getting to drive a big rig around the country! How cool is that, right? And before you know it you guys will have your own truck and the rest of your lives to enjoy yourself out there. So just keep the long term goal in sight, don't sweat the small stuff, go really slow in the parking lots, and always get out and look when you're backing in somewhere.

Keep us updated and have a blast!

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