TMC CDL Program

Topic 21452 | Page 3

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Rob's Comment
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Does TMC have a third party tester come to the school to test you guys out or do you need to to to the DMV in Ankeny? Have you guys been driving your route that you'll be tested on to get you familiar, and more comfortable with it? I'm sure downtown felt like quite a challenge, but you'll come to find out downtown des Moines was a breeze compared to most big cities. I remember being overwhelmed the first time I went there, as I attended school just across Illinois border driving back roads and drove test course in Davenport 3 times prior to test day. I had many "ain't no way in "heck" I can do this, but now I do couple times a week.

I'm glad you were able to learn from the other student doing his backing exercises.

Word of advice...come test day don't be afraid to ask tester how many"points" you have while they explain to you what they expect from you for each backing exercise. At the Davenport DMV they had some testers that required you to pull the truck all the way out and start that exercise from the beginning if you hit a cone, thankfully mine just had us pull up. I'm sure you've already been told how the pull ups and get out and looks work.....no GOAL or pull up for straight line, 2 GOAL and 2 pull-ups for 45, and parallel. Hit a cone its 2 points, additional GOAL or pull ups is also 2 points. Not being inside the box completely is 10 points....12 points is a fail. This was how it was done at Davenport DMV in August.

When I did my parallel I ended up taking 2 points to GOAL to ensure I was completely in the box before honking to indicate I was done. There was a lady in my class that had her tire jus over the line and failed cuz of that.

I'm really enjoying your diary, as I said I had seriously considered TMC. I'm glad to hear your instructors feel your ready to test. We know you can do it. However, if your nerves get to you come test day that causes you to do something bone headed...thats alright, MANY people take multiple attempts to pass.

Stay warm bud

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.

Ithel's Comment
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Thanks for the kind words, Rob. We'll be testing right here on the same TMC course we're practicing on. I'm not certain how the arrangement works, but I believe it will be TMC employees who are DoT certified who will be conducting the tests (completely separate from the trainers).

The trainers have told us different numbers from those you mentioned, and I can't really account for that. I'll try to confirm # of pull-ups and GOALS for each procedure. They very clearly told us today, though, that hitting a cone was a 4 point deduction and an extra pull-up only a 1 point deduction. It is possible they were referring to an internal TMC scoring system, not sure, but that was not my understanding.

On our DoT test, we will do a straight-line back, an offset back to the right, and a 45 degree back. After passing the CDL I believe they teach an additional backing procedure called the TMC 45. No dock backing, no parallel.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ithel's Comment
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Oh, you also asked about the driving route. I've picked out the first bits of it from comments the trainers have made, but ultimately I do not know the exact DoT road-test route.

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.

Rob's Comment
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Please disregard everything I said then lol. When I said 45 I meant driver offset. Definitely go with what your instructors are telling you is the drill because they know what the instructors are looking /testing for.

Ithel's Comment
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Dec 30: Today was entirely backing practice. Because it snowed overnight and the plows had cleared the blacktop we had to reset the cones for both backing courses. Unfortunately a thin layer of compacted snow made it difficult to find the markers, so much was guesswork. But after we got things set, three of us shared one course and two shared the other. I was in the group of three. We got into a great rhythm, and each of us got in about 6 or 7 of each backing exercise, I think-- I lost count. Hopefully the courses weren't too far off.

The half-day originally planned for tomorrow has been canceled, so we have the next two days to revitalize, talk to family on the phone, and study pre-trip.

Ithel's Comment
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Jan 2: I had backing practice in the morning that went very well. In the afternoon I drove about four hours. Then as a group we had backing practice in the evening. We got back to the hotel at 9pm.

Today, Jan. 3, is test day. I'm just trying to stay calm. My next post will say how it went, one way or another. I'm just thinking about my girls and the many good things that depend on my success today. Then its turn to this point, turn to that point, tight and secured, signal on, signal off. However it turns on, a big thank you to the many good people who make this site what it is.

PackRat's Comment
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Hope you do great. Good luck!

Reyn R.'s Comment
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Sending you positive vibes as you apply all that hard work & training to get the job done today. Best of luck to you sir!

Ithel's Comment
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Of the five of us left in the class, two passed, two made small mental errors on the driving portion they'll correct on their second shot tomorrow, and one goofed up the pre-trip.

Somehow, despite serious anxiety, I managed to get my CDL A today. My joy could only be greater if we'd all got through, but I'll be pulling for them tomorrow. Friday I'll go home in a rental car to get my actual license from KY, and next week or possibly the following I'll begin the five weeks with my trainer, who lives 65 miles from me. From him I'll get more driving practice, more load securement practice, and an education on the art and skill of tarping.

Huge. Load. Lifted.

To the many encouraging yet honest voices on this forum, you have my sincere gratitude.

To the couple guys in my class who read this thread, you've got this. Get a good night's sleep and tomorrow morning you'll get that load of your mind.

I'll continue this thread until I am assigned my own truck, because I consider that as much a part of the training here as everything else has been.

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

Ithel's Comment
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One thing I forgot to mention. The skills test was by far the part I was most anxious about, particularly the 45° back. (I even had a bad dream about it last night in which my house burned down--- yes, that anxious!) But I didn't lose any points at all on the skills test.

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