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My training diary with prime inc. Paul F.

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Paul F. 's Comment
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I hope to keep this up as well as Kori did. I was so glad to read hers. It was very descriptive and gave me a far better idea of what to expect. But I live in upstate New York and received the phone call this morning that I've been accepted, with one caveat. I had a heart attack last year, and need to get medical approval first. Earlier I was planning to attend, and pay for, a local driving school. They told me I needed to pass a DOT physical to get enrolled so I got one, and already passed the physical, so I'm pretty comfortable with my chances. I am scheduled to get on the bus in 3 days for a 38 hour trip to Springfield. I've never before ridden a bus like that, and I've heard it's no picnic. I asked and was told I couldn't drive myself there as the parking situation is not condusive to people doing that, so too bad for me. As the saying goes, that which does not kill me, will only make me stronger. I guess I'll read and sleep.

A little about me. I'm 49 years old, I'm married 19 years and have a 15 year old daughter, and a 18 year old son. I have a bachelor degree in culinary arts management and have been a restaurant manager for 20+ years, and in the business for far longer than that. Hospitality has proven to be too fickle over the years. I've gotten laid off from 3 different jobs on January 4th. The early part of the year is notoriously slow until Valentine's Day (the third busiest restaurant day of the year, behind Mother's Day and New Year's Eve). I'm hoping that this driverless car thing fails. It can mean trouble for the trucking industry. I'm sure blockbuster never saw streaming as a viable threat until it was too late. I'm very excited to start this next chapter of my life, and I am looking forward to seeing the country. That's all for now. Wish me luck. 👌

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Renae S. (Angel)'s Comment
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I can't comment on the medical issues, except that they may ask for a cardiac approval in addition to the regular dot physical in order to be hired. Expect the unexpected from any company.

That said, trucking does have peak seasons, but it actually never stops. A lot of drivers take off the winter months or take vacations in the summer. Depending. The company, the type of products hauled, and driver availability may actually help keep you moving.

Good luck!

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.

Paul F. 's Comment
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Update. I was temporarally disqualified based on one medication I take. Everything else is fine. I have to be free of it for 30 days before I can start. So I'm delayed a month but otherwise I'm fine. Fyi. The disqualification is a prime policy, not a DOT regulation. Other companies may permit this particular prescribed drug. I'm totally bummed. I was sooooo looking forward to starting. So I now have more time to study, I do not feel I need the additional time, but it cannot hurt. It will give me time to complete the high road training on trucking truth, which so far I'm 19% complete with a score of 97%. I've already read through the New York CDL manual, and have the misouri book and are about 30% done and so far it is almost exactly verbatim of the New York manual, so I have 100% confidence of getting my permit.

I am grateful to prime for allowing me to participate in their training program, and look forward to holdfing up my end of the bargain. I'm glad for their training program. The local school's program offered only 10 hours of behind the wheel training in 3 or 4 sessions. I felt (after reading the DMV manual) that that was inadequate training to master the pre trip inspection (mastering that can only help my career and safety) as well as backing up. Although I consider myself to be a skilled driver, and not uncomfortable driving up to 22' box trucks I've rented, I know that combination vehicles are an entirely different thing, and as such more training would be prudent.

Goodbye for now (a quote from Eric the ack actor)

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.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Pete B.'s Comment
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Paul, Good call bypassing the local CDL school; you are definitely right in that 10 hours is not nearly enough time behind the wheel. While most schools apparently teach you the basics of driving a truck, and the companies have their 'finishing programs' or drive-time with trainers, 10 hours is still pretty inadequate. It's taken me 12 hours just to get confident with backing, and I haven't even been off the range yet. That'll happen in a few days. Good luck with your next visit to Sprimo, sounds like you're just in a holding pattern right now. Keep at the High Road, you'll do great on the written tests.

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.
Paul F. 's Comment
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Pete,

Not to break my arm patting myself on the back, but I WILL pass any written test I take, ESPECIALLY multiple choice tests. Even if I cannot produce the correct answer, if I'm shown the correct answer I will be able to identify it. I'm now 35% done with high road training, and have a score of 95%. Most of it is common sense, and the minutiae of things like 2psi loss, or 3 psi loss in 1 minute is not difficult to remember. I'm glad to hear you confirm my feeling that 10 hours are not enough. I got game, but I'm no king james (at least not yet, give me 250k miles, and I'll tell you how I feel then). I'm looking forward to getting my permit, getting behind the wheel, and seeing miles dissapear in my mirrors. Overall I'm glad for high road, because one of the TT articles covered misconceptions of training programs. It said that it is fast and furious and you really need to know much of the information going in or you will be overwhelmed. I feel comfortable that I'm a quick learner but the knowledge I'm acuiring in high road will allow me to focus on other things that I will not know, of which I'm sure there are many.

Goodbye for now.

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.

Pete B.'s Comment
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Ok, see you in 30 days!

Kori M.'s Comment
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If nothing else take the 30 days to some what prepare yourself for oh so joyous greyhound ride haha. No amount of studying helped me through that journey. It was however motivation to make sure I was going back home in my own truck and not stepping foot on another greyhound ever again. Good luck with everything! Looks like you will keep us updated. Looking forward to reading all about your prime journey.

Paul F. 's Comment
member avatar

Kori, Thanks for verifying all my fears of a greyhound trip. I hope I can return the favor someday. 😜

Monday I will provide them with all the information required, and hope to get the bus trip behind me. I'll read and sleep.

FYI. I'm 74% done with high road training and have a score of 94%. I'm planning on doing the hazmat part again as it as my weakest performance.

Goodbye for now.

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

Paul F. 's Comment
member avatar

I'm cleared for training! Woot woot!

I get on a bus in 7 days.

The Transporter's Comment
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Oh my Gawd.please tell me you are not taking a Greyhound from upstate NY to Sprimo. I wish you well. Ughhh.... it's a rite of passage I guess. That's how I looked at it.

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