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Advice seeker - Local company or individual who will teach me to pass the practical.

Topic 20463 | Page 1

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James G.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm looking for someone who can teach me to pass the driving portion of the state test. A few years ago, I passed the medical and written test to obtain my CDL A. I was going to take the driving test, but a friend was supposed to teach me the pre trip check word for word and let me borrow his 15 ft trailer for practical driving experience. My friend let me down and never tried to show me anything. I have a dually and typically pull a 17 ft enclosed trailer on a freelance basis. I now want to get my CDL so I can take an opportunity that has come my way. Is there anyone that can help show me the ropes for the precheck and maybe let me get some gooseneck maneuvering experience? Any help would be appreciated.

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.

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.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Your path is definitely different than what most here discuss. Not to bust your bubble but the medical card and written tests only got you a CLP. (Commercial Lerners Permit). Most CLPs are only good for 6 months. Some states allow you to extend it 1 time for additional 6 months. More than likely you will need to get a new Medcard (which generally are only good for 2 years at a time) and retake all the tests for a new CLP.

TBH, my suggestion,if you can afford it, is to go thru a tractor trailer training at a private school. Get your CDL-A that way. There is far more to learn than I have a CDL in my wallet. Understand though if you go this route and take advantage of the hot shot opportunity, if the day comes you decide to ever drive a tractor trailer, you will more than likely be stuck repeating the whole process yet again.

If your goal is to drive professionally as a commercial driver than I suggest going thru school, private or company sponsored, than drive tractor trailer OTR for 1 full year. Hot shot opportunities are not going anywhere. By driving a tractor trailer for a full year OTR, you set yourself up for success in the future.

BTW, welcome to the forums. Here is are standard welcome package and some additional info:

Truck Driving Jobs

Learn The Logbook Rules (HOS)

Drive Safe and God Speed

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome James.

Patrick's summary and advice is 100% true and accurate. If you proceed down the path you described, you ultimately limit your opportunities and potentially compromise your safety.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

James, these guys are 100% right. It's easier to fill the Grand Canyon with sand, using a bucket, than it is to get on with the big companies with a self-taught CDL. The CDL is legal and all, but the standard 160 hour driving class is what makes the difference.

On the good side, most companies will either put you through their school or cover/pay back your tuition.

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.
James G.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Patrick. I actually knew I was going to have to re-accomplish the med card and the written test. My point was just that I am plenty capable of completing that portion myself. More training in the future wouldn't bother me. Life is a constant training and retraining process. Even professionals sometimes need re-education to refresh their mind on good practices. I agree with your assessment, but I'm not completely committed to driving a semi. I love to travel, but I'm not sure I would want the lifestyle of driving a semi. Taking a company's paid training for a required 1 yr of driving doesn't work with my lifestyle currently either. I'm in a unique position and try to stay extremely flexible. Retired military and I got my Master's degree in Business Administration just over a year ago. Unfortunately, putting the degree to work wasn't as everyone portrayed it. That's a different story though. Anyways, thanks for welcoming me to your forums. It seems like an excellent resource for all levels of transport drivers.

G-Town, I'm not sure how my safety is compromised on "my current path". I'm not trying to circumvent the system and would never dream of driving a semi or honestly anything other than my dually without the proper training to do so. I understand just knowing the books and passing an exam in no way qualifies me to drive 18 wheels, a dump truck, a tow truck, etc. So even though I understand taking a formal course is the best way to become a professional driver, I don't feel anybody's safety is compromised maintaining my status quo. However, if you could expand your thoughts, I could be persuaded and see your side.

Errol, I'm not looking to be a Pride, CR England, Swift, etc. driver. Nothing against those or any other companies or the drivers who work for big companies, but I don't foresee that being a path for me.

Guys, thanks for all the career guidance. It's all great information for the individual planning to make a career in semi-truck driving. I'll keep it in thought and execute on it if I decide to take that path.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I'm not completely committed to driving a semi. I love to travel, but I'm not sure I would want the lifestyle of driving a semi

It's good you said that because that's going to be the critical deciding factor right there. Trucking is so complex, dangerous, and consuming that it really takes a strong commitment to make it happen. Otherwise you're just going to be overwhelmed by the whole thing. There really is no such thing as dipping your toe in the water to see how it feels. You go all in or you don't want to go.

So I would say if there comes a day where you say you're ready to commit one year of your life to trucking and give it 100% then that's the time to give it a shot.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

James, there are a lot of rules and regulations as well nuances to those rules. As far as giving a year, it is nothin more than another trip to the sandbox. Besides, there are plenty of companies that will hire guys straight out of school to go into regional positions once done with their time with a trainer. The company I work for is one such company.

CDL schooling itself barely scratches the surface. Time with a trainer takes a few bites out of the immense amount of info. Even that leaves a lot left. That first year is digesting the entire rest of the info out there about this career. By doing it the odd way around, It is like sending yourself back basic training over and over again. Just because you can, doesn't mean it is worth doing it. Time with a trainer is like AIT. Sure you kinda learn your job, but you are still not proficient at it. The first year with a company is like your time as a private. This is where you dink it all up, but after a quick butt chewing you're pointed down the right path.

Drive Safe and God Speed!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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