Lots Of Info For New Drivers What About Returning Drivers?

Topic 21431 | Page 1

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Kevin L.'s Comment
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I have noticed most company websites talk about experienced drivers or Non CDL holders. Basically not many mention the CDL driver that has held the CDL without recent experience. By recent I think it is pretty safe to say if you don't have verifiable experience within the last 4-5 years.

Even on YouTube you see videos about preparing for school or orientation the instructors say they are there to help you get your CDL. Most will put an emphasis on learning the things you need to get your permit if they do not require you to have your permit prior to attending. The rules and permit requirements have changed over the years multiple times. I can remember when we first had CDLs but were not required to even have a pretrip inspection. Later it was optional for a few weeks until it became mandatory. There seems to be a major shortage of info for people with a CDL just no recent verifiable experience.

In my case I went to driving school to get my CDL but because it was more than 4 years ago the driving school cannot even verify it as they only keep records for 4 years. I know I would not be eligible for reimbursement of my tuition nor would I expect it. I also know I need road and lot time for practice.

Personally I look forward to any training I can get as it seems to me as it will do nothing but make me a better, safer, more responsible and confident driver. I realize I may be a minority.

I know there are several threads on here of returning drivers. I am just starting to think about how different companies and instructors will treat student especially if they are in the same classroom. Will they excuse drivers from the classroom that already have their permit or CDL and have them go onto simulators, or the lot to practice, or another area to practice load securement, or trip planning (Map Reading)? Or will they simply make you sit through the class more likely and possibly take in class testing on the information such as pretrip inspections or how to read signs?

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Kevin, when someone has been out of a truck as long as you have they are considered as high a risk as a new student. You will most likely be required to do a refresher course just to get their insurance company to allow you being covered on their policy. The least expensive way to get back in the game would be the Company-Sponsored Training Programs. Many of them will "fast track" you through the training if it's obvious you know what you're doing. Your skills and understanding of the career will be assessed by your trainer and they will make the call if and when the company should upgrade you to a solo driver with his own truck.

There is the option of paying out of pocket for a refresher course which will then provide you with a training certificate allowing some of the larger self-insured companies to hire you.

A third option is going to a small number of companies who will pair you with another driver in a similar situation as yours. The will then run you as a team for a month or so while they make an assessment of your abilities before upgrading you to solo. Western Express has a program like this.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

First, think "Recent Experience". If a driver has not driven OTR for a few (or more) months - not "years", they will need at least a refresher class. A longer non-CDL period may mean starting at Square One again.

You may have seen ads taking about "Recent Grads". These people have completed school training more than a few months ago (this be you) will probably have to start over.

Even experienced drivers who have been off the road for even a few months will have to get the re-up course.

Basically, companies require recent professional driving activity. I was in Swift's Academy with a guy who had been a Driver Instructor Instructor. He had to stay home several months for a family situation. He still had to take the beginner's class again. But with his experience he tested out and got on the road within two weeks.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Kevin, I got rejected by one company because I had been out of truck driving school for a little more than three months before I was ready to start the job.

Kevin L.'s Comment
member avatar

So should I expect trainers to treat me like I have absolutely no skills or knowledge? I have no problem learning. I want to learn but I would likely have a problem being treated like an idiot or a piece of meat in a seat. Honestly, I know I have weak areas. They are what I need to work on. Should I expect to get sent home from orientation or the company to provide the needed training to be acceptable with their insurance. Learning the basics over outside of what is taught in the state cdl manual for a permit is one thing. To be treated like i dont have a cdl at all is another. Im set to go to Maverick orientation in February. After that I glass training believe will go into their student driver program for 3-5 weeks then solo. Will have a six month work contract to cover training 100%. Im hoping to be there several years. There training is not team driving instructor is up front when ever the student is driving.

Is there anyone here with Maverick possibly a trainer that can enlighten me more about what I shoukd expect?

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I have no problem learning. I want to learn but I would likely have a problem being treated like an idiot or a piece of meat in a seat.

Honestly Kevin, what on earth did we say that made you think you were going to be treated like an idiot? Training is done to make sure you can be safe out here and not hurt yourself or anyone else. Your "meat in the seat" comment makes me think you've been frequenting too many worthless places on the internet while considering getting back behind the wheel.

When a person decides to come back to trucking it is expected of them to show they are serious about it. Coming back with the attitude that you are superior because you've held an unused CDL for four or five years is definitely not the approach you want to take. Humble yourself and do what they require. Maverick treats everybody equally because all they want is some good professionals out there who can get the job done. Consider yourself as needing to be trained.

Here's a question for you: Have you kept your medical certification up? If you haven't, you may not have a CDL and are only fooling yourself. If you did not "self certify" your medical information by submitting your new medical form to your state when it was due for renewal, it's quite possible your CDL has been down-graded to a regular driver's license.

A great place for you to start this adventure would be our High Road CDL Training Program. Now before you get all bent out of shape because I'm asking you to do something that's designed to help people obtain their CLP , my purpose is to try and help you realize just how much you need to learn. You will learn a lot by going through that thing. It will take you several weeks to complete it, so I would get started as soon as you've confirmed with the state whether or not your CDL is actually legit or not. The sections on "logs" and "weights and balances" should really be beneficial to you as you het back behind the wheel.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Kevin asks:

So should I expect trainers to treat me like I have absolutely no skills or knowledge?

Stop trying to crawl under the table. When you let on that you got your CDL 4 years ago, the instructors will probably want to know what you remember, that's all. Then you and your instructor can take it from there.

You've written quite a bit here. Gotten some honest advice, too. Now stop trying to over-think your situation. Other than drug issues (these most often pop up in the drug test), if you're serious about driving a Maverick truck, it's really hard to be sent home once you're in orientation.

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.
C T.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Kevin. I'm with maverick now, been here a year and a half. I can answer most of your questions. I'm on the flatbed side so I'm not 100% on glass specific stuff.

Kevin L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks all, I guess I was over worried as I feel like I am at high risk here. I will be quitting a fulltime job I have held for about ten year plus a part time job I have only had a few months to go off to orientation and hopefully training for a few months. That is a frightening spot for me.

To be a little more clear I have held my CDL since early 1995 in NJ and prior to that I had a CDL out of Maryland and before that Florida Chauffer's License (because CDL's did not exist). I have been in PA since at least 2006. I know this because I was recently informed my CDL was suspended back in 2006 in NJ but PA continued to renew it as well as add endorsements the whole time. Then again I got overdue inspection tickets on my car multiple times even fought some in court and was never informed of any issues with its validity. Soon as I found out though I listened to Old School and paid them their restoration fee. That solved that issue within a day or two. I did let my medical cert drop but certified exempt through the state at that time so back then they put a restriction on my CDL that only allowed me to drive on the CDL within this state. That restriction has since been removed as soon as I took the medical for the bus company. My CDL was never downgraded.

I may have expressed myself a bit unclear prior. I kind of wanted people here to see it could affect anyone over 4 years away from trucking. I recently contacted a driving school I went to a very long time ago and was told they could not verify I went there because they destroy the records every four years. I went to Porter's Drive Rite in Glen Burnie, Maryland to transfer my Florida Chauffer's license over to a Maryland CDL when CDL's first became available. Maryland required a full retest in the type of vehicle you would be licensed for and at that time I took some lessons and then used the school tractor and trailer to take my test again.

Anyway I am glad to read once you get to orientation they will likely do everything they can to recognize any weaknesses you have and work with you to improve them and become a better safer driver. I have read a lot of things on the web and try to stick with this one because it seems the most direct. Even here though, I see comments about people going to orientation and being sent home multiple times prior to being in their own truck. I have no intention of feeling superior I just want to focus on the things to improve my skills in the real world not the things to make me book smart. Reading a manual will not teach you things like how to float gears.

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.

Float 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.

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