Starting My Journey Back Into Trucking

Topic 21567 | Page 1

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Moses R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello

I am from Portland Oregon. I have recently undertaken the journey to get back into the Transportation/heavy equipment industry. I was a heavy equipment mechanic (Big Caterpillar DumpTrucks, Escavators, bob cats, bulldozers, back hoes etc) back in the late 90s until a series of events (some medical and others bad luck) forced me out. I have since been working in call centers for financial services since then, I have been a home loan collector for subprime mortgages with a local company for the last 8 years. A friend of mine has encouraged me to get back into the industry, I decided that I would rather drive this time around and have looked into my CDL. About me - I turned 40 last year and have not been around an industrial diesel engine since 2000. I understand that so much has changed (some for the better and some for the not so better) - electronic logs , HoS mandates, EPA mandated engines (which I understand need a lot of work from an engineering stand point) etc. I wanted to ask some questions about trucking in the current generation.

1) Has anyone here on this forum made the change later in life (40 and up?) - How did you adapt from the work you did before? Did you find that it was physically harder to do the work? How were you motivated? For me the idea of breaking out of the office sounds appealing, I have grown tired of the work that I have done in the last 20 years or so, and I would like to have more of a trade skill.

2) Health - I am obese, at one point I was over 450 -(I have lost over 100lbs in 2 years). I lost 50 pounds last year alone. I do have sleep apnea and some dietary needs (cant eat a lot of fatty foods due to my gal bladder being removed) - Along these lines, I only ask that you please not judge me or make rude comments about my weight struggles. We all have something to work on and I am trying my damnedest to get to a proper size. That said I am concerned about being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle with running OTR ( I am assuming that is where I will have to start to get real experience). How have you all compensated for the "food desert" found along the long stretch of interstates (for example i80 - great freeway drove it a few times but for the traveler or trucker not a lot of healthy options). Do trucking companies realize the costs associated with obesity and provide truckers options? (ie: Inverter to cook and safely store food?)

3) Sleep Apnea - I have been on a cpap since 2001 and use it nightly - I do not have high blood pressure, diabetes or heart conditions (I had myself tested last year with ecogram and ekg) - I understand DoT is now eying this closely - has anyone on here had to deal with it. What should I expect? How can I prepare now for my DoT physical ?

4) Tanker or dry van your first couple of years? I have read alot about tanker and it appeals to me more, I understand though that dry van is a more practical and direct route to get road experience.

I have more questions but this has been a long post , so I will keep this short so as not to strain the eyes lol. I have already submitted for a free copy of my Credit Karma and Hire Right Reports (for accuracy assurance). Additionally I have made an appointment with a local trucking school - IITR on 1/15 for a free tour and have a $70 DOT physical that day. I have no issues in paying for the DoT physical first and ensure I am first physically qualified before I spend the hefty sums needed to get licensed and educated.

If you have taken the time to read this - thank you. I will undoubtedly have more questions in the future.

Thank you- hope to see you on the roads!

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.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Wecome Moses, I can share a bit on a couple items from my personal experiences. First off stay away from tankers until you get back into the business and get some experience. I pulled them for 18 months and loved it. But they are a different breed of trailer and can be very dangerous. I pulled chemicals not food grade, but liquid is liquid and is not terribly forgiving.

I started driving at 53 years young after retiring from my first career. So you are actually on the young side, lol. Your age will not be a factor at all. I work with a guy that just turned 72 and is still going strong.

Your very right about eating healthy. Truckstops in general are the most unhealthy on earth to eat. I always plan my trips looking for TA's/Petro's that have full service restrauants. I like the salad bar at T/A's. Don't ever assume they have one because not all do. I also have a microwave in my truck that runs off a 1500 watt invertor. I have a 12v cooler that works fine for keeping stuff chilled. I cook in my truck the majority of the time.

Congrats on your success taking care of yourself. That is a very hard road and you should be proud of your accomplishments thus far. Keep up the good work your doing.

I don't know much about the sleep apena stuff but I know their are tons of folks in your same position out driving and the companies are well versed in effictively dealing with it.

There are company sponsered programs that are very good to get your license and a job with the afterward. Sorry I don't know how to post the links I'm sure someone will shortly.

If this is what you want then go after it. It may be a bit challenging, but nothing in this life worthwhile is ever easy.

Cheers

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Moses. I am 58, started with Swift over 5 years ago and continue driving for the on a Dedicated assignment serving Walmart and Sam's Club.

Adding to PJ's words of wisdom, here is the Trucking Truth Started kit that will help you get your head in the game; setting realistic expectations and a solid knowledge base.

The High Road Training program is arguably the very best method of preparing for and passing the permit exams.

In addition this link will also help with your research:

Paid CDL Training ProgramsFeel free to ask as many questions as needed. Good luck!

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.
Reyn R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Moses! Welcome to the forum. I’m 55 years old about to start the same process in March. Take your time. Do the research. Use the links G-town posted above. Keep your head up & always focus on you. We can’t control what anyone else does or says. We can only control how we choose to react to adverse situations. We will certainly face a great deal of these along this journey. If you take the time to read some of the diaries in that section of this site, you will see that perseverance will be your best friend. Good luck & God bless!

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.

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