Just Finished Training At Swift Academy, Lewiston, ID

Topic 20605 | Page 1

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Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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I finished the Lewiston, Idaho Swift CDL Training Academy last Friday. My experience was very good, even considering a major misunderstanding.

I will only say that if a person is serious about learning a serious career, has a strong work ethic (is willing to *work* for it), can listen to instruction and take a little initiative, that person will succeed here. I was very happy with the curriculum, with the instructors, and with the equipment.

I give Swift Academy Lewiston 5 stars of 5.

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.
G-Town's Comment
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Congratulations!!! Good luck with the mentoring phase.

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Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Thanks! I didn't add much detail to my original post, but I will add a bit more now.

I used the study materials from Trucking Truth almost exclusively in preparation for my CLP , and did very well with them.

Our class at Lewiston had 12 on Day 1. One walked out as we were preparing for our UA's, and by Day 3 we were 8. Of the eight, four of us graduated on schedule. Of the four, I was (very happily) surprised with the success of one, as he had seemed to not be taking it seriously until the final week, but he got serious and succeeded.

Of my class, I will be the only one attending orientation and mentoring at Lewiston, as the others are back to Washington for the next steps.

I've seen it mentioned on these forums that CDL school is just the first part of the job interview process, and I behaved accordingly. I worked hard and it paid off.

We had 4 classmates held back, and none of those came as a surprise. With one, well, her heart was in it but she just wasn't able to listen, hear, and DO IT as told. One guy couldn't accept that this isn't theoretical physics. He badly over intellectualized *everything*. Another was so nonchalant and uncaring about safety that I began to hope he'd fail just so I wouldn't have to share the road with him.

I have no doubt that some of the students that I watched getting held back will spread sour grapes about the company, the school, and the industry. That's a shame, but honestly, the idea if any of them flying along at highway speeds with 80,000 lbs strapped to their ass scares the heck out of me.

I had a pretty major misunderstanding with an instructor early in the second week, (there were some raised voices and threats of expulsion), but I stood rock solid and didn't crack. I also didn't argue, make excuses, or talk back. It turned out for the best. It earned me some respect and some self respect. Was it a test? I'll never know, but if it was, I passed with flying colors.

I guess that for me, the bottom line is that a LOT of what I've read on these forums was dead accurate about my experience. If you're serious, work hard, ask questions that show you're head and heart are IN IT, your instructors will bend over to see you succeed.

I treated Swift Academy Lewiston as Step One of a job interview. I move on to Step Two, orientation, next Wednesday. I'm excited, humbled, and a bit proud.

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.

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.

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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One other thing that I'd like say to if it helps even one person: STAY POSITIVE.

G-Town's Comment
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Good luck Blue Zombie Hunter. I recently wrote this piece about the mentoring/road training phase...hopefully you will find it beneficial.

Click here: Going On The Road with a Trainer/Mentor

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Excellent post, thanks G-Town! (And you're right, setup was barely touched on.) :)

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Excellent post, thanks G-Town! (And you're right, setup was barely touched on.) :)

I don't mean this as any sort of criticism; the academy has very little time to cover a whole lot of material, and they do it quite well.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Their only goal is to teach you just enough to pass the CDL. Nothing more.

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.
Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
member avatar

Understood, G-Town.

Had an interesting chat with a chip truck driver from St Maries today. I asked about how long his daily turnaround run takes, (we have an MDF plant here,) and as soon as he found out that I just got my CDL , he was incredibly friendly and helpful.

He stressed a few points that we see emphasized on this site: *Stay positive. *Don't whine about insignificant stuff. *Expect that a lot of what you were told by recruiter types was... a sales pitch.

He also mentioned that for a certain mega carrier, only 4 out if 100 *new* drivers finish out their first year with that company. Wow.

But he also stressed the importance if a strong work ethic and a thick skin.

Really good feeling to... belong.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Bluezombiehunter wrote this:

He also mentioned that for a certain mega carrier, only 4 out if 100 *new* drivers finish out their first year with that company.

Everything your friend said I agree with except the above. Why would he say that, if for no other reason but to dissuade or discourage you from driving for that company? Not sure if his claim is true or false. But my guess? He was referring to Swift. I've driven for them for over five years and do not know anything about a statistic like that. One has to wonder how he would know that type of information unless he worked for that company's Human Resources Department. Or, he just made it up.

Although it's not necessarily too far off, it applies to most every company and has more to do with the overall difficulty of the job, unrealistic expectations on the part of the new driver and not any shortcomings of a given company.

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