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Re-introducing myself

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Chris M's Comment
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Well, it's been a little over 2 years and the itch is back. I'm Chris, and I started on this journey in early 2014. Allow me to share my story.

Around January/February of 2014 I started feeling around the industry, knowing that driving a truck was something I had always been interested in. I was tired of my office job, and wanted a change. I got married, and decided I had a new plan, and went for it.

I did research, more research, and then even more research, which led me to this awesome website. I read the forums every day for hours. I went through the online training, read about hundreds of different companies and experiences, spoke to recruiters, and made a decision on how to proceed. After reading through the very well written blog by Daniel B, I decided to go with Central Refrigerated (at the time, in-process of merging with Swift).

I went to Atlanta, did their classroom training, then hopped a Greyhound for the ride from Atlanta, Georgia to Salt Lake City, Utah. Anyone who's every ridden Greyhound knows that trip was an absolute blast..............

So I went through the range training, then road training, and I won't hide the fact that I was extremely proud of myself when I received that Class A license on my first attempt. I set out in a truck with a trainer, a great guy named Charles. He really taught me a lot, and it started when our first trip together was from SLC, to Los Angeles, California. My second day pulling a loaded 53 foot trailer was in the middle of the day in Southern California lol.

After approximately a month with Charles, I drove us back to the yard in Utah, and 3 hours later I was holding the keys to my very own Freightliner......with a giant yellow "S" on the side. My first solo trip took me back towards the southeast, where I made my first mistake. In Port Allen, LA, I was focused too much on the dock, and not enough on the curb I was about to drag my tandems against. My first "accident" was less than a week into my solo career. 1 replaced rim later and I was heading home to pick up my wife.

I can proudly say that I never had another issue of any kind after that.

For the next 8 months, my wife was with me the whole time. It was really a great experience, and I learned more lessons than I can even count. I backed into docks that looked impossible, I drove a truck through a cave, navigated mountain passes that had my heart rate through the roof, drove through whiteout conditions across US-287, and maintained a 100% on time record. I visited 45 of the continental United States, the only exceptions being Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. I don't mean to sound braggy in any of that. I never lost respect for the things that can go wrong on the road. I was always the guy that held things up for a minute or two just to get out and look that one extra time.

But, there came a point where it had to end. Due to some health issues that were plaguing my wife, I had to stop driving after 9 months, and return to my office job.

This brings us to today. The itch is back. Due to other, personal circumstances, I am single and tired of my office job. Now I'm back and looking for a little advice. Because of the fact that I didn't complete a full year of driving for Swift, when I left, I owed them money for the training. With my wife's health issues, and other things that happened in life, I wasn't able to just pay them off. I tried to make payments, but was told that they only accepted a payment in full. So, with the fact that I do owe Swift money, I am curious if I have options of going back to driving with another company. Also, when I stopped driving, I didn't really think I would be contemplating coming back to it. I absolutely loved it, but didn't expect life to go the way it did after I left Swift. So I didn't keep my Medical card up to date (really kicking myself over that). My license has been downgraded back to a class D operators license, and I believe that since it has been more than 6 months, I'll need to re-take the road test.

So, before I start calling recruiters, I wanted to just sorta feel things out a bit. Once you start making those phone calls, they are on you like flies lol. So I want to get my bearings straight before I dive back off into things.

So that's my story, and it turned out a little longer than I meant for it to lol. But I appreciate any words of encouragement, or advice, or criticism from anyone. If anyone has experiences that might go along with where I'm at now, I would really really love to hear them!

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

I remember you Chris! Its been forever. I'm a local driver now.

I think you'll be fine. Just apply usingthis link and see who calls back. Im positive you'll get tons of phone calls.

Patrick C.'s Comment
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Not to point out the obvious, but give Swift a call. Let them know your life circumstances have changed and you are able and want to finish your commitment to them. Perhaps they will also help you obtain your CDL again.

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.
Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
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I agree, give Swift a call, then take it from there.

The answer is no if you don't ask, 50/50 shot they might say yes if you ask.

If you lay all your cards on the table with them, and are being honest, I'm fairly sure they will listen to your story and give you a straight up honest answer.

Ernie

Chris M's Comment
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Hey guys I really appreciate the replies!

Daniel, I see you on Facebook some and it definitely looks like you got a great local job.

I'm definitely not ruling Swift out, and I think they will probably be my first call. That would seem to be the path of least resistance, although it is Swift lol.

I've gotten a copy of my DAC and thankfully it appears to be "mostly" correct. I admittedly didn't give my DM a lot of heads up, but that was due to the situation. But I turned the truck in and took a leave in the beginning. When my DM called me after 2 weeks, I told him I didn't have a timetable for a return. They never called me back and I never called them back. Looking back, I should have made a call and told them I wouldn't be coming back. They show me as "resigned/quit", but under work record it says "no show".

But the more important thing in my mind, is that it doesn't say I'm ineligible for rehire. It says "review required before rehiring".

So I think tomorrow I'm gonna give them a call and see what happens. That will at least give me an idea of what step to take next.

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.

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.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

In an attempt to inject levity.

Just call your DM up and be like I'm ready to come back to work now. I am officially ending my extended LOA. When told that you were terminated, play dumb.

Just kidding, sort of.

In all seriousness, I hope it works out for you. As far as Swift being Swift there are SEVERAL successful drivers on this forum that drive for Swift. G-Town is definitely one of many examples. Swift would definitely be your best bet for getting back into trucking, I would think.

Drive Safe & God Speed.

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.
Chris M's Comment
member avatar

Ok well I just got a call back from Swift. I called this morning and explained things, and he put in a request for a rehire review. Just got the call that all is good and I'm eligible for rehire. I've gotta update my application and get it back to him. Now I'm waiting on a call back from the DMV. I'm afraid that since its been over 6 months I'm gonna have to retake the road test. I'm not afraid of failing, but I don't have a truck to take the test in. So fingers crossed that maybe I can just renew my med card and be good to reinstate the class A license.

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.

Blake 's Comment
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Hope it all works out for you!

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Good Luck

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Chris wrote:

Ok well I just got a call back from Swift. I called this morning and explained things, and he put in a request for a rehire review. Just got the call that all is good and I'm eligible for rehire. I've gotta update my application and get it back to him. Now I'm waiting on a call back from the DMV. I'm afraid that since its been over 6 months I'm gonna have to retake the road test. I'm not afraid of failing, but I don't have a truck to take the test in. So fingers crossed that maybe I can just renew my med card and be good to reinstate the class A license.

Hey Chris, that's really good news. When I went to the Swift Academy there was a student who had a similar story as yours. They fast-tracked him through the program, and he only mentored for two weeks as opposed to the 240 hours of student driving during the mentoring phase (it's 200 now).

I think you will do really well...there are several drivers I work with, who left, came back, found there way and are doing quite well now.

Best of luck!

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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