CDS Tractor Trailer Training in Woodford/Thornburg, VA

Topic 20888 | Page 1

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J R.'s Comment
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I started training with CDS in Woodford, VA on Monday, 9/11/17. I successfully passed my CDL skills test at the DMV today, 10/4/17.

I can't say enough good things about this school. The instructors, atmosphere, and environment were great. It was a great experience from beginning to end.

So, slightly more in depth review (if anyone is interested):

Facility: The Woodford/Thornburg, VA location appears to be an old truck stop/truck service station. The driving range used for maneuvers is a gravel and dirt lot with between 3 to 5 "stations" set up where you'll take turns performing the straight, offset, and parallel backing maneuvers just like you'll have to do at the DMV. The range is bumpy and uneven, there are very seldom any lines painted on the dirt, and cones for maneuvers aren't perfectly straight like they are at the DMV. The trucks and trailers aren't all identical either -- they regularly use a short flatbed trailer for one of the backing stations even though you will test using a 48' dry van trailer. These might all sound like negative things but they're absolutely not. The backing at the DMV will seem easy once you're used to doing it on a bumpy dirt lot without freshly painted lines and cones that are "straight-ish". Backing the 48' box trailers will seem easy after backing the shorter flatbed a few times.

Instruction: Many of the instructors are former students of CDS that came back to teach. I enjoyed all of my instructors -- they made what could've been a very stressful experience in to one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. I can't say enough good things about these guys. As you get in to your 3rd and 4th week at the school you'll be taken on "road trips" that begin with an easy route out to a truck stop and back and as you progress you'll move on to interstate and highway driving. With each road trip you'll be instructed less and less until you're essentially driving on your own.

We had several recruiters come through during my time there -- TMC, Stephens Transport, Melton, Maverick, US Xpress, Werner, and Epes. I had prehires from all of those companies as well.

The school helps you with job placement (if you need it) and have employers that are willing to work with you whether you want to drive local, regional , or OTR.

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.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Prehire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Prehires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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