N00b Questions You (Probably) Have But Were Afraid To Ask!

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Miss Miyoshi's Comment
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Thanks! Yeah, I'm an hour in the negative on my 14 so I'm stuck. I've got 3.5 hours to go until my hours come back, so I'm going to just sit at the receiver until then and if they tell me to leave I'll tell them I can't.

Brian J.'s Comment
member avatar

Let's face it: The first year or two of driving professionally can be pretty tough and somewhere along the way you realize you don't actually *know* some fundamental things that you really should know. Either it was a situation that never came up during training, or maybe something you forgot but is now relevant. We all have these questions. I know I do. But after driving for a year or so, we shouldn't have these questions, right?

WRONG!!

Everyone is different, and some things just take a little longer to remember. Or you actually never thought about it before and now you're curious.

I definitely have some questions I'd like to put out for our more experienced drivers that might seem obvious, but to me they're not. I'm asking the questions some of you might not want to ask yourself.

1. Does a bobtail have to go through a mandatory weigh station?

2. We all know we're not supposed to use Jake/engine breaks and/or cruise control during inclement weather because it can cause skidding. How much precipitation is the cutoff? What exactly is going on in the truck that causes the skidding in these circumstances using these tools? (Basically, WHY can't we use these?)

3. What exactly is DEF and will my truck really shut down if it runs out?

4. If Channel 19 is the "general" channel on the CB, what are all the other channels for?

5. If I'm at a truck stop and there is a craft beer or wine that is unique and I want to transport it unopened until I get home, is that legal? If so, what are the rules?

6. What is a parked regen and when will I know if it needs to be done?

7. What are the basic scheduling criteria for general maintenance? For example: How often does the oil need to be changed? How often do I need a tune up? Do they have similar maintenance requirements like a passenger vehicle?

8. Do those little deer whistle things actually work?

9. Will driving while off duty start my drive/14 hour clock? Can I off duty drive if my hours have not yet come back?

10. What exactly is a differential lock? When would I need to turn it on?

11. Why in the world would you want to slide your fifth wheel?

12. 10 speed manual transmissions seem to be the norm. But I've heard of trucks with 13 and 18 gears. What are the extra gears for?

13. When sliding tandems , how important is it to make the weights match the drives? Also, when at weigh stations, are they looking for balance between axles or are they just making sure each axle and the overall truck isn't overweight?

14. When fueling, are both fuel tanks completely separate or can the truck be completely filled using only one pump? (Some really out of the way fuel islands don't always have satellite pumps.)

15. If you lose a light while driving but it will be some miles before you can safely pull over to replace it, can DOT still cite you for it?

Ok. I think that's all I have for now. Please feel free to contribute to this thread!

Thank you! Really these are the basic things, but as for me - I can not answer the biggest part of these questions.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar
I'm going to just sit at the receiver until then and if they tell me to leave I'll tell them I can't.

I just saw this so I'm too late, but this is what I was going to suggest. You don't have hours or anywhere to go so your receiver can just suck it. There are usually other options but sometimes you have no choice.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Line 5 (off-duty driving) 'Personal Conveyance' has very specific criteria that must be met before it can be used.

1) Unladen - You must not be under a load. DOT & FMCSA does not state whether that is Bobtail or Deadhead.

2) Not Under Didpatch - You must not be under dispatch to travel to your destination

3) Intent to Return - You must intend to the location where you began off duty driving.

4) Personal Conveyance - The reason for your travel must be personal in nature. Food, Shopping, Shelter, & Home.

5) Reasonable Distance - You are only allowed to travel about an hour. Rule of thumb is you are limited to the distance you can travel to a location, get 8 hours of rest and return to the origin.

I hope this helps explain off duty driving.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Fm:

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.
Brian J.'s Comment
member avatar

1 - Yes - any commercial vehicle with a DOT number on the side, has to go through a weigh station unless you get a BYPASS on your Pre-Pass or indicator at the station.

5 - company regs aside - the only time you are allowed to transport alcoholic beverages in the cabin of a CMV , it, for example - going from a store to a hotel while you are OFF DUTY. You can't pick up some cool craft beer and ride around with it until you get home/off the road. And you can't keep it in the trailer, unless it is on a BOL.

This brings up another interesting point. Most states consider you to be DUI if you are over the limit and have control of the vehicle. I've seen friends get charged, for being parked, passed out - with the keys in their immediate control/possession.

Remember - ANY PRESENCE OF ALCOHOL is an OOS violation - and .04 is a DUI in a CMV (versus .08 for everyone else).

So if you're sitting in a truck stop swilling cold frosties, the law sees you, knocks on your door - and you have the keys in the vehicle, that is constructively a DUI. Even WORSE if you're idling - as the vehicle is running with the keys in the ignition and you are intoxicated. You might as well just be DRIVING IT with a beer in your hand.

DUI in a CMV, is the KISS OF DEATH (even worse than failing a pre-employment drug test). Do yourselves a favor and save the drinking for HOME TIME - and use your own car or Uber to fetch your alcohol.

6 - Dash indicator (idiot light) will tell you. In the newer trucks with cool LCD multi-function displays, it comes up there too.

9 - No & no/maybe. If you are out of hours, you can't (legally) use off duty driving if you are under a load. Example: 20 minutes to go to the truck stop and you're out of hours - so you switch to off duty driving - NOT LEGAL. If you're at a truckstop and out of hours, have NO LOAD in the box (not under dispatch the rules say) you can go to a restaurant or store AND BACK legally on off duty driving. You can't just keep driving on your load.

14 - Pretty much all fuel tanks are cross-connected - but the hose connecting them is (typically) much smaller than say, the fuel pump hose. It takes awhile for them to balance out. So, for example - if you are nearly empty in both tanks (on the fuel gauge), and you fill one to the top, after a period of time they will balance and your fuel gauge (and range) will be at 1/2 tank.

15 - yes

Errol is right. WE MISS YOU. Stop in more often...

Rick

Thank you for this explanation. Really useful!

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

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.

Adam B.'s Comment
member avatar

For whatever reason, Prime says you must be on duty driving when going home. I was bobtailing home and was not under a load or available for dispatch. Used line 5 since I met all the criteria it seems. Im about 10 minutes from hone when the Qualcomm starts saying I used up all my off duty driving time. My 70 was also gone so the Qualcomm was saying I'm violating the hos rules. Received a message from logs a few days later saying going home must be on duty driving.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Line 5 (off-duty driving) 'Personal Conveyance' has very specific criteria that must be met before it can be used.

3) Intent to Return - You must intend to the location where you began off duty driving.

5) Reasonable Distance - You are only allowed to travel about an hour. Rule of thumb is you are limited to the distance you can travel to a location, get 8 hours of rest and return to the origin.

For whatever reason, Prime says you must be on duty driving when going home. I was bobtailing home and was not under a load or available for dispatch. Used line 5 since I met all the criteria it seems. Im about 10 minutes from hone when the Qualcomm starts saying I used up all my off duty driving time. My 70 was also gone so the Qualcomm was saying I'm violating the hos rules. Received a message from logs a few days later saying going home must be on duty driving.

Did you meet all the criteria in Patrick's post, including #3 and #5?

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
For whatever reason, Prime says you must be on duty driving when going home. I was bobtailing home and was not under a load or available for dispatch. Used line 5 since I met all the criteria it seems.

Going home is supposed to be on duty driving. More than likely they are going to dispatch you from your home when it is time for you to roll again. Therefore it is highly unlikely that you will meet the requirement of returning to where you started without being under a dispatch order.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

The only case I see where line 5 is truly applicable for going home is when there is a drop yard or terminal within 1 hour of your home. As stated you must intend on returning to the place you began off duty driving.

Here is the thing though, if you receive routing directions to your "home" then you are under dispatch. You are being told to go home and are being routed home. Remember every condition must be met. Majority doesn't work. My company doesn't allow us to use line 5 at all. We do not have access to it. We are not allowed to use our vehicles for personal reasons.

I have Tcalled a load in the drop yard in my town. And have bobtailed home. I have to "get permission" first. Granted it is just me sending a QualComm message stating I am going home. Dispatch just says ok. That simple exchange is the company officially telling me to take my truck home. At that point I am considered to be, being routed home. I.e. Dispatched.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

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.
DahBrazilian's Comment
member avatar

Hey miiss myoshi. Im not really sure how to PM on here so I guess this might be the best way to ask you a question. Im finishing up my TNT in 2 weeks and was interested in getting a lightweight but im really debating about doing otr vs NE regional because I live in MA but dont really have a need to go home much. On average how much have you been able to make doing regional. I would only do OTR if it would mean more money. I have no interest in driving around the country. I did it enough during TNT lol. Im looking to make as much momey as possible since i have no bills, single, and 21 so I can really take advantage of this opportunity

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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