Looking Into Trucking

Topic 21562 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Bran009's Comment
member avatar

Hello!

I am currently in the medical field and getting burnt out on it, so a friend of mine who is a Trucker suggested I look into it. I don't have a CDL but would be going to a company that provides training. I've read through things on this site and others and just wanted to ask a few questions, sorry if they have been asked before.

1. I'm currently overweight (working on it tho), will this be an issue for the DOT physical and for any companies?

2. My work history has some bad spots in it and also I don't remember all my jobs, is there a way too find this? is it a real big issue?

3. Is Flat Bed difficult? Should I look more into the Dry Van or Reefer?

4. How long does it usually take from talking to a recruiter to actually going for the CDL training for most companies?

I'm looking between Swift, Prime, TMC, and Maverick currently.

Thanks for any help!

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome Bran009. Yes, trucking is a big change from almost any other career. Besides the separation from family (you get a day of "home time" for each week you drive), you need to manage your day on your own - nobody's going to be watching over your shoulder to make sure you get your freight delivered.

Overweight itself isn't a big deal. Your DOT Doctor may consider your height/weight and measure your neck size to decide if you could have sleep apnea. Of course your blood pressure needs to be within limits.

You need to explain 3 years work history. You can use reference details, paycheck stubs, W2 papers, even notes written by your supervisor. If you were unemployed, or dealing with long term family issues this is ok. As long as you weren't sitting on the couch for six months, or worse, you should be ok.

I've only driven dry van. But you are responsible for getting your flatbed load secured and tarped as needed.

I started Swift's Academy just after Thanksgiving, and I was in school a week after I applied. Probably depends on how many people are applying, and some of your own convenience.

Here's some reading for you. The High Road Training program will really get you set for the written CDL-A test.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

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.
Kevin L.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum. The above referenced information is more helpful than you probably can imagine in the beginning. As mentioned Flatbed drivers are responsible for securing and tapping loads. The tarps are pretty heavy but you will most likely learn a way to manage them if you are determined. Your weight is most likely not an issue at all considering how many overweight truckers I have seen over the years from both outside and inside the field. As mentioned you will need to get any blood pressure issues under control and that can be done with diet or medication for most people. If you need meds to get by your DOT physical will only be valid for one year instead of two. One other thing that goes hand and hand with being overweight is sleep apnea some companies like Maverick test all employees for Sleep Apnea and if they have it Maverick will issue you a CPAP machine and require you use it 70% of the time. They will take the cost of the machine out of your pay in about 25 dollar increments for I believe 10 or 11 weeks. Read and go through the High road training on this site to get your permit also there are many other practice tests online some may even be for your state specifically. I would also suggest you start to gather your identification paperwork as well CDL permit, Birth certificate, ss card, twice card , passport book or card endorsements like hazmat if you intend on possibly hauling it. Some of those things take weeks to get. Seems like the more prepared you are the more likely you will get in with the company of your choice. Be honest and reliable and hard working you should be fine with any of the larger companies.

I will be starting Maverick Orientation in Feb myself for their Glass division.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Welcome Bran, you have found the best place to start looking into trucking as a career. There are alot of folks here with a tremendous amount of experience and are always happy to help. The above advice is spot on. The part I will add too is this field has such a wide range of work, there is something for everyone if they want it. Some types of freight are much more challenging than others. Flatbed is one of the higher end challenges. I don't know your background so it's harder to answer which one would suit you better starting out. There are many variables there. Dry van is far and away the least of the learning curves in my opinion. IF you know nothing about a truck or driving one in any shape or form you may want to go that way in the beginning. I hear alot of folks make comments they have drove standard transmission cars for a long time so they won't have a problem shifting. I just chuckle. I grew up driving farm equipment and standards in pickups, far different from a 8-9-10-13 or 18 spd in a semi. Just one example. Company sponsored training is normally fast paced so if your up to it, that is the way to go. The companies you named except TMC have various divisions where you could sprout your wings after you get your feet wet so to speak.

As already said the more prepared you are out of the gate the faster the process can move and the better your result. When I started I was in school within 1 week of talking to the recruiter.

good-luck.gif

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.

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.

Bran009's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for the information! It'll be 2-3 months before I'd be able to do this, should I contact recruiters now?

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for the information! It'll be 2-3 months before I'd be able to do this, should I contact recruiters now?

I would wait until about one month before you're ready to get started to contact recruiters. It's a bit early yet.

Bran009's Comment
member avatar

I already filled out a contact me with one company but I'll make sure they know my timeframe. But I'm still doing research on companies, they all seem pretty close. It is kinda hard to make a solid choice. Right now I'm reading, watching videos, and about to make a list.

My main factor is not having a whole lot of upfront cost and good training. I do want to be home every few weeks at least.

I really appreciate this forum and site.

Reyn R.'s Comment
member avatar

I already filled out a contact me with one company but I'll make sure they know my timeframe. But I'm still doing research on companies, they all seem pretty close. It is kinda hard to make a solid choice. Right now I'm reading, watching videos, and about to make a list.

My main factor is not having a whole lot of upfront cost and good training. I do want to be home every few weeks at least.

I really appreciate this forum and site.

Personally speaking, I reached out to my first choice straight out of the box. I have a similar time frame but wanted to know where I stood with my choices. Prime (my first choice) told me I didn’t qualify cause of a 20 over the limit citation. Once that fell through, I contacted 3 companies & have been approved to train & if successful, drive for any one of them. Unless of course anything can happen along the way. This is the longest interview you will ever be on. The whole time, from the moment you pick up the phone to the day you’re assigned your own rig, it’s all being scrutinized. Take your time but do utilize all those links that were posted earlier, read as many diaries as you can in that section, and get your head right about this most important step in your journey towards a new career.

The diaries are huge for me cause they give you glimpses into the right approach in being successful & the pitfalls, trip wires or hurdles that could sink you before you even get started. The biggest takeaway that I’ve been able to digest fully on here is that if you have the proper frame of mind, the rest will all fall into place if can maintain your composure through the process of getting your feet wet in this Indus. The contributors, moderators, admins, on here don’t mince words when they see that something doesn’t add up, they don’t sugar coat their responses to suit anyone’s needs or ego & they don’t coddle anyone either. They style of truth serum is the most refreshing I’ve found while researching this career choice for me.

Here’s to wishing you all the best of luck & Godspeed.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bran009 can't decide:

But I'm still doing research on companies, they all seem pretty close. It is kinda hard to make a solid choice. Right now I'm reading, watching videos, and about to make a list.

Here's some help:

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.

Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More