Opinion On Driving A Fuel Tanker Truck Right Out Of Cdl School?

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NeeklODN's Comment
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I found this thread Tanker training at Schneider and thought it may help with your question of starting with tanker driving..... you're welcome ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

James O.'s Comment
member avatar

First of all, I really appreciate all the thoughtful replies. I will tell you all this.... I just got a job TODAY, hauling fuel in a double tanker. Driving a Kenworth 13 speed. It's a local gig. Pays extremely well. Their training is about 2-3 months long. There were a lot of companies' recruiters that came into my school giving their spiel... this company didn't do that. I didn't see any adds online that they were hiring... I heard about them through word of mouth (actually the examiner that gave me my cdl skills test). I sought them out, and they wanted to interview me. The guy appreciated that I knew what I was looking for in my driving career. I don't know how to do those fancy quotes from other people's posts so I'll just let it rip... As far as it being "criminal" letting a newbie drive a liquid double tanker full of diesel or gasoline... I won't/can't argue with you there. I understand your point. But I know that my mental capacity can handle many different and new challenges. I know there's no room for error. I will take it slow. My head isn't big. I'm just very ambitious, and feel that I will be able to learn what I need to learn, and be safe on the job.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Ok let me make sure I understand this. You just graduated from truck driving school, you have no experience driving a big rig, and your first job is going to be hauling double gasoline tankers?

It's awful early in the morning yet so I'm hoping I'm missing something here.

I know that my mental capacity can handle many different and new challenges. I know there's no room for error. I will take it slow. My head isn't big. I'm just very ambitious, and feel that I will be able to learn what I need to learn, and be safe on the job.

Hey, no biggie. One tiny mistake and you're dead and so are all the innocent families around you. But hey, you're looking for a new challenge. That's all that matters.

Graveyards are full of people with more ambition than prudence....and the innocent bystanders that happen to be nearby.

Here's a video from an experienced driver that crashed a double fuel tanker getting off an exit ramp in California this spring. Notice it's a bright, sunny morning. He wasn't in the mountains. He wasn't in heavy traffic. It was just a beautiful sunny day like any other.

Here is what's left of that truck:
Old School's Comment
member avatar
First of all, I really appreciate all the thoughtful replies.

That's nice, but you totally ignored the advice of seasoned professionals!

I know that my mental capacity can handle many different and new challenges.

That's funny James, because you can't seem to process simple and prudent advice and information from professional drivers with decades of experience.

I'm just very ambitious

No James, you are plumb crazy! I am very ambitious, been that way all my life, but prudence has to be a part of your strategy when staring out in one of the top ten most dangerous careers in the United States.

Look, here's what you ought to do: Show that video that Brett shared with you to your wife and kids, or if you are single, show it to your Mom. Then put a silly grin on your face and tell them, "Hey look at that! I just got a job driving one of those things. They hired me on the spot, as a total rookie! It's because of my great mental capacity that I am gonna be able to handle an explosion like that - isn't this cool - and it pays well too!"

Try that and see how their mental capacity processes it.

I can't even understand your way of thinking. I don't ever even think about my mental capacity, but I do know that there is enough of it to know that what you are about to do is insane for a total greenhorn rookie to attempt.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

If you were going to learn to fly an airplane, you wouldn't start out in a Stealth Fighter.

If you were going to learn to drive race cars you wouldn't start out in a Top Fuel Dragster.

If you were going to learn to climb mountains you wouldn't start out climbing Mt Everest.

If you had even the tiniest ability to assess risk management we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Come on, man! A fuel tanker? Really?

James O.'s Comment
member avatar

To Bret- yes that's correct. My only driving experience is at cdl school. 160 hours. And 80 of those hours were me just standing around waiting for my turn to drive. Thanks for the video.

To Old School- No, I didn't ignore the advice. I heard and understood the advice given. But just because the people giving the advice have experience and I don't, doesn't mean I should or have to do as they tell me.

I get why you moderators are upset. But, this company will train me. They have hired another rookie about 2 years ago. From the same school.

I guess I should stop posting on this forum until I can say I have a year or two of driving under my belt, so I don't **** any more people off.

Thanks.

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.
Kevin L.'s Comment
member avatar

Exactly, Brett. All West Side "automatics" are actually computer assisted auto-shifts and can be manually shifted as well. They certainly don't handle like a true automatic. None of our auto-shifts have a clutch, but at other companies they might. They'll roll backwards on a hill just like a typical manual. Each brand has slightly different control systems so there's a bit of a learning curve to each brand we have (Volvo, Prostars, and Freighliners).

Well James, Im pretty new to this forum but I have read and learned a lot on here. The people on here like Brett and Old School and the other moderators are likely some of the most knowledgeable people on the internet when it comes to guiding new people into this field. I honestly would reconsider taking that position until you have more experience. It seems to me the comment you made about wanting to be in a stick shift truck (Manual) gave me the impression that you have not yet even mastered the art of shifting and floating gears. It is also very likely that your shifting is not as smooth as it could be and that alone is a reason you should not be in a chemical tanker without a lot of intensive training. I wish you all the best and safe travels. I am glad you asked the other day about Space Age Trucking as I presume that is who made the offer to you and I will be taking them off of my list of companies I will be considering for employment in the future. Instead I will look towards getting with a company that seems to place a higher value on human life than to put a new driver in double tankers hauling flammables or combustibles.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I guess I should stop posting on this forum until I can say I have a year or two of driving under my belt, so I don't **** any more people off.

First off James, you definitely should stay here in the forum. I promise you that we will help you if at all possible.

Secondly, you haven't angered any of us, only left us completely bewildered at your approach to a career with a 95% failure rate. I can guarantee the percentage is even higher for those who start out pulling double fuel tankers.

You have put yourself in an extremely volatile (yes I intended that pun) situation as someone who is trying to start their trucking career.

We help beginners - that's what we do.

just because the people giving the advice have experience and I don't, doesn't mean I should or have to do as they tell me.

No one here expects you to obey us -we are merely trying to help you exercise some good practical judgement. Yeah, that kind of attitude is likely to get you killed out here. I wish you all the best, but brother if you don't recognize how bull headed you are, you are going to crash and burn. I honestly pray it is only figuratively, not literally.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Look at my profile picture. Thats me and my gasoline tanker.

You have seasoned drivers telling you to stay away. Now you have a driver who actually has experience in doing what you're going to be doing, and I'm telling you that you're being foolish.

Google "Atwater CA tanker explosion".

Thats was my coworker. He drove for 10 years and one simple mistake.... and he exploded.

You really have no clue how difficult it is to drive. Not to mention sometimes you have an empty truck tank, but a loaded trailer tank. It whips you harder than a hurricane if you were a feather.

Two things will happen: either you kill yourself and burn everyone alive around you, or you almost kill yourself.

I urge you to take an easier path. I feel like I am typing to someone standing on the Golden Gate Bridge about to jump.

That's just the driving part. There's still a billion hazards while offloading and loading in regards to vapor.

No worthwhile company would hire someone out of school in this field. If you do get the job, you probably wouldn't want it.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

James, I have been reading though this thread. I don't drive tankers, so I don't feel I could conribute my experience here. BUT, with comments like this:

My only driving experience is at cdl school. 160 hours. And 80 of those hours were me just standing around waiting for my turn to drive. Thanks for the video.

I can add my 2ยข. So you want to be a rookie tank driver, and you admit to being shortchanged in school. Not to worry, many new drives get to stand around and watch others practice on the backing range. Yet, they made the cut.

A real bottom line can describe all the advice you have been offered:

Take one step at a time

The steps being to first get a bit of OTR dry van (or even reefer) experience in before you make your next move. Once you know how an 18 wheeler feels & works on the road and in a shipper's yard, you an make the move to more complicated jobs like flatbed, heavy haul, Owner/Op, and even tankers.

James, your comment about not having "to do as they tell me" is against all logic. So if experienced, "million mile" type drivers offer you advice, but you pass it up, what advice do you want to follow? The stuff you hear when you talk to fellow students on the backing range or some anonymous driver in a driver lounge?

You have managed to get the Trucking Truth members to do the exact opposite of what we recommend! You get news reports and stories of terrible gasoline truck accidents. Well, these are true, and tragic. I hope they got your attention. But thousands of drivers pull 16,000 gallons of liquid dynamite around every day. SAFELY. But they didn't just move from CDL school into a dangerous job overnight. Take the slow, steady route and within a couple of years, tank companies will actually pick up the phone when you call.

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.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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