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Company Training and Non-Compete

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Lucky Life's Comment
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Dart, Have you personally spoken to your FTM this week? Maybe that person would be willing to share what your 3rd Mentor had to say about your skills and safety concerns. I am with everyone else on this, it just doesn't add up. I trained many employees over the years running my business, I always expected some rough patches and loss of revenue but if they showed promise it was at least a 6 month process.

Dart's Comment
member avatar

I spoke with my FTM on Monday before I was terminated. All she really said about it was she had to talk to her boss about what's next. Later that afternoon was when I was terminated.

I spoke with her prior to that on Friday. During that call she voiced her concerns over my following distance and ramp speed. She also voiced a concern that 2 trainers had mentioned these items (my 2nd and 3rd trainers...I vastly improved on both following distance and ramp speed on the 4th day with the 3rd trainer). To that I responded with my own concerns of how I was being trained (pace, switching trainers, fleets that I was being trained on, and having weekends off). I did also agree that proper ramp speed and following distance are important. I also stated during that call that I was feeling a lot better about my pace and had no concerns about the training with my 3rd trainer (who I was still out with at that time). She also mentioned possibly putting me with a local trainer, to which I voiced my concerns about the pace of such work due to my experience with my 2nd trainer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Dart thinks:..

I'm thinking (and this is 100% assumption) that my 2nd trainer has said things about me that are not true and/or embellished and I have not been told what was said.

First of all, I cannot help but think there are missing pieces, details to this story.

That said, we are all taught very early on to maintain a safe following distance and to half the posted speed on the off-ramps (unless said speed is posted specifically for trucks). It's drummed into our heads beginning with studying for the permit test. Very basic stuff that quite honestly isn't difficult to comply with once understood. The real problem Dart wasn't with your 2nd trainer...the problem is you allowed him to force you to drive way beyond your current comfort zone, against company policy and possibly the law if following too close. If this were me, I would have immediately voiced my opposition to his training tactics, and if unable to work it out amicably, contacted the direct report in either safety or the training department.

Never allow yourself to be "bullied" into knowingly perform any unsafe driving act, regardless of who is directing you to do so. Although you are a student driver, you are ultimately responsible for safe operation when behind the wheel.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I've thought about this situation quite a bit. It's rare that we come across this type of situation and can't immediately figure it out. In this case, there seems to be a lot of smaller, more subtle factors that have gone into the decision to let you go.

For starters, following distance should never be a concern. You follow a simple formula. From our High Road Training Program:

[The distance] you should keep in front of you is at least 1 second for each 10 feet of vehicle length at speeds below 40 mph. At greater speeds, you must add 1 second for safety.

So at 60 mph you keep 7 seconds of following distance. This doesn't take practice. It doesn't take experience. You simply count how many seconds you're behind the vehicle in front of you.

So if this was something that was mentioned by even your third trainer then it seems they felt you simply weren't catching on to this.

The same goes with ramp speed. You have to get on the brakes and get that thing slowed down. I can see if it takes a few ramps to get the feel for how long it takes the truck to slow down, but again, if even your third trainer had mentioned that this was a concern they must have felt you weren't catching on like you should have.

Another concern is that you mentioned the pace of training several times:

I responded with my own concerns of how I was being trained (pace, switching trainers, fleets that I was being trained on, and having weekends off)

I voiced my concerns about the pace of such work

After two months in training you should be able to keep up at a faster pace. Not only that, but your self-confidence should be a lot better at that point. Trucking companies worry a lot about people who aren't confident in themselves. It takes a lot of nerve to handle this job. You're in a lot of life-or-death situations, heavy traffic, snowstorms, huge mountains, and all kinds of potentially unnerving situations.

So a person that's tentative or is lacking confidence will throw a red flag in the mind of trainers. They don't like to see that. They want to see people who are eager to get better, confident that they can learn, and anxious to get their opportunity. If you were telling them after two months of training that you wanted to keep the training at a slower pace, that had to really undermine their confidence in you.

I mean, this is all I can really come up with from what you've told us. There is no silver bullet in this case that makes the end result obvious. Normally there is. Normally I can look at a situation and immediately know exactly what happened and why the outcome makes sense. In this case it seems to have been a judgment call on their part that you may not be cut out for this. Now that's not to say you can't do it. Not at all. You might go on to be one of the best drivers anyone has ever seen.

But then again, you might not. After two months of training I think the company felt that it should be obvious that a driver is going to be successful. Unfortunately, after two months of training I think they were just too unsure of whether or not you'd come around.

That's all I can figure from what you've told us.

If you want to continue pursuing this career I wouldn't let this stop you for a moment. I would grab the very next opportunity someone gives you and run with it. Without talking to your trainers or seeing you drive for myself I can't really predict how it will go for you. But there are people who have faced far tougher odds and came out on top in every career imaginable. Just because one company lacked confidence in you in the beginning doesn't mean you can't go on to become great at this.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dart's Comment
member avatar

It may or may not make a difference, but my first month with Roehl was CDL school (students are emoloyees of Roehl day 1 of CDL school). My 2nd week on the road was with my 2nd trainer.

Either way, I'm in this situation now and must push forward in any way that I can, with just about any company that is willing to hire me and put me with a trainer.

While not ideal and will be more of a last resort, I got a text from CRST this morning (not really wanting to do team driving once out of training, but if it's all I can get, I'll take it). If going to Swift and training with my friend doesn't pan out, I'll give CRST a call back. At this point, just about anywhere that I can get some experience at is better than nothing.

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

It may or may not make a difference, but my first month with Roehl was CDL school (students are emoloyees of Roehl day 1 of CDL school). My 2nd week on the road was with my 2nd trainer.

Either way, I'm in this situation now and must push forward in any way that I can, with just about any company that is willing to hire me and put me with a trainer.

While not ideal and will be more of a last resort, I got a text from CRST this morning (not really wanting to do team driving once out of training, but if it's all I can get, I'll take it). If going to Swift and training with my friend doesn't pan out, I'll give CRST a call back. At this point, just about anywhere that I can get some experience at is better than nothing.

Western Express might also be an option.

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.
Greg H.'s Comment
member avatar

Whew, I'm glad a few people weighed in on this (especially Brett, he made a lot of sense), I was feeling a little freaked out here. I hate to be intimidated by anyone or anything, but it happens. And ohhh, I do recall the training days well. And I remember my first trainer really well. He was a nut job. I'm sorry, but he was.... And let me just say, with the next company I went to work for, I thought very highly of the two trainers I had. But, that one, he was a thorn.....

But, I've been out of the trucking world for quite sometime. I don't have mummy and daddy to lend me the money for school. I may or may not be able to get a scholarship or a grant. I'm most likely going to go with a company that will put you through school themselves. But, WoW, what a mess..... I'm doing this not only for a job, but as a long time career, at this point and time in my life. I don't have time to play games. I don't have time for misunderstandings. And I don't have time for myself making mistakes that will prevent me from getting and keeping a good driving job. I'm with Brett, I needed to know more.... a whole lot more. I don't want to find myself in a world of a mess with some company. I can't afford to....

And I'm sorry, but noone wants to turn in a trainer. You're only there to be trained and get a job. And as a newby, you just really don't have much say so and rights. Or at least, you don't think you do, and you don't want to for that matter. At this point in my life though, I'd probably just bust his sorry behind myself (nothing physical, only verbal), if he was expecting things of me that weren't company policy or lawful. I'd tell him, dude.... I don't think so. And I will be talking with your boss, and his boss, and any other boss I can get a hand on.

Good luck with all of this.... and thank you again Brett for weighing in, you made a lot of sense.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Greg wrote:

At this point in my life though, I'd probably just bust his sorry behind myself (nothing physical, only verbal), if he was expecting things of me that weren't company policy or lawful. I'd tell him, dude.... I don't think so. And I will be talking with your boss, and his boss, and any other boss I can get a hand on.

I totally agree...basically what I stated in my reply before Brett's.

And trainee's do have rights; they have the right to exercise their common sense, taking responsibility of what is right and wrong, professionally declining to perform something that jeopardizes/compromises company policy, DOT law and basic safety.

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.

Greg H.'s Comment
member avatar

Greg wrote:

I totally agree...basically what I stated in my reply before Brett's.

And trainee's do have rights; they have the right to exercise their common sense, taking responsibility of what is right and wrong, professionally declining to perform something that jeopardizes/compromises company policy, DOT law and basic safety.

I know, I read what you wrote G-Town, and it's good to see that all drivers don't condone the bad ones in the group. But, I was trying to steer away from coming down on trainers. Not because I thought I'd get in trouble for it, but it really wasn't my main focus, or at least I didn't want it to be. I guess my main thought was that it's a real drag when you actually do have to deal with a bad trainer, or person for that matter. I'm just such a stickler for the rules, and it ****es me off for someone to undermind them or me for trying to obey them (not that I'm perfect by all means, but I do try). I guess that would be my main point. ha ha, both of my trainers at the second company I went to work for were ex cops... I found that to be amusing. Good guys, a little ruff around the edges, but good guys.

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.

Dart's Comment
member avatar

I'm getting a second chance to pursue my dream. I'm now scheduled for orientation with Swift at the Lancaster, TX terminal on Monday. It's also looking like things are lining up for my friend to train me.

Armed with the knowledge I've learned from my time at Roehl and from speaking with everyone here, I will make it work this time.

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.

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