Training Question

Topic 21013 | Page 1

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Keith G.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone,

I've driven for a long while (certainly not as long as many) during my time in the military. I drove regularly our LMTV's & trailers, and our tankers. I've also worked in a DC handling the logistics and operations in the civilian market. So I understand generally how the business works.

I've gotten my CDL A and honestly the course was pretty basic and a standard fair. I've lined up a few good offers for work, but have a hopefully quick question for those more experienced and willing to give a honest answer.

So pretty much everyone I've spoken to is saying 4-8 weeks of driving with my trainer. Due to my experience and background working within the industry I inquired if training would be cut short if I clearly demonstrated my capabilities and conducted myself upto and above their standards. Truth be told, each company went into very vague responses. The summary is "it depends".

Have any of the trainers here ever gotten a driver with experience and clearly seen they where capable and ready within a matter of days? Can the training be cut short so both drivers can contribute faster?

I appreciate any feedback and look forward to the discussion.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Keith. Welcome to trucking, and to our forum. I see this happen fairly often. It will be more up to your trainer than your company's policy. It is the trainer themself that determines whether you are ready or not.

There's a few things you need to keep in mind here.

  • The trainer's performance, or track record, is evaluated by the company. The last thing the trainer wants to do is turn you loose early and then have you start screwing things up. That makes them look bad.
  • There's more to the training than just how to drive a huge vehicle. Things like company procedures. I remember having to memorize something like 40 different macros (these are common communications with dispatch that can be easily accessed with a couple of strokes on a keyboard).
  • Fuel stops. There's a fair amount of data that must be entered at the pump during each fuel stop. Things like mileage, trip number, Driver I.D., truck number, reefer fuel or truck fuel (one is taxable, one is not). Sometimes you'll even be required to only purchase a small amount of fuel at one stop, due to a price issue, and then stop a few hundred miles away to fill up.
  • Customer's procedures. These vary greatly, and you are going to be serving a lot of different places. Your trainer can help you learn little secrets that will help you out a good bit.
  • Company procedures. How do you report an accident? Who do you call when a tire blows out? What do you need to do if you're running late? How do you handle a load of freight that gets rejected? What if your customer refuses two pallets out of your load?

I could keep this list going on and on. There's not a good reason to rush your training. It's way too short as it is. This business is completely performance based - you get paid for how much you get accomplished. Without proper planning and execution of those plans each day, you can hinder yourself when it comes to maximizing your income. A lot of the little nuances that help you be better at this career are learned on your own, but that training period helps build a good solid foundation to build upon.

Don't let the temporary issues of being with a trainer rush you into a situation that you might be ill prepared for. Most new drivers are really glad to be rid of their trainer, only to have that OMG moment slap them silly once they are on their own. Rushing things in this business almost always produces bad results.

Having said all that, I see trainers fairly often bringing their trainees in for an early evaluation if they think they are ready. Go with the flow - let your trainer determine if you're ready or not. Look at the big picture - training is a very small part of your career. A little extra time spent getting a good foundation under you is time well spent.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Tom W.'s Comment
member avatar

Look at it from the trainer's perspective. These guys go through a lot. It is a stressful job, they get so little sleep because they are concerned that the trainee driving the truck is going to wrap that rig around a tree, or pull the truck into some place that there is no way to get out of. That is why trainers make a lot of money, they are putting their lives in the hands of an unknown student every day. These guys are nervous anxiety filled time bombs.

Now here comes along a fellow who already knows what he is doing and aces the training in one shift. That kind of a student is a trainers vacation, no way is he going to give that up. The trainer is going to stretch out that hitch with the pro for as long as the driver manager is going to allow.

One or two months training is nothing. Do your best and the training time will fly by. It will not be wasted time, you will be making yourself quite a reputation and gaining the trust of the folks in the office so once you do go solo you will be given all the good loads that they will only assign to the drivers that they can count on.

Driver Manager:

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Keith G.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the great information and feedback. That was a very well laid out sum of information.

Thankfully I've had the pleasure of working with companies like KLB (K.L. Breeding & Sons) and NFI on a daily basis for just about a year. I'm certainly excited and eager to get out, but I'm going into their with a clear head and a full grasp of what the industry is about. I'm well aware it long and hard work, not just sunsets and rainbows.

I can guess from your picture you drive/drove flatbed? That weather had to have made folding and loading that soaking tarp a blast!

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

At my company, no. Training is never cut short. If you have more than 6 months verifiable OTR experience, they won't put you through 30 days training. If you have 5 months experience, you'll get 2 weeks, less than that and you're out the 30 days.

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.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

When I went through Schneider’s orientation three years ago, it was 17days. Only five was OTR with a Trainer. Some people say that’s not enough, but it worked well for me. If they see a person needs more time, they hold them over.

Good luck!

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.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Keith, sometimes the insurance companies dictate training requirements. I'm also former military. Have had experience with 2 1/2 & 5 Ton with trailer, moving aircraft with various equipment. So on and so forth. My trainer tried to convince my company to test me out after a week. Short answer was I had to meet the minimum mileage for insurance purposes. It is what it is. Just a drop in a hat compared to the big picture. The proverbial head stand. Just enjoy your time having a second set of eyes and ears. As well as a brain to pick. Once your solo you are all alone.

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