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The good, the bad, and the ugly about women in trucking

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Heidi's Comment
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OMG forgive me if this shows up elsewhere. I had my reply all typed out and bumped something and it disappeared. I hate computers.

Anyway, I just finished an 8 week course here at my local community college on the 14th. I was very, very fortunate to have received grants for everything! So I highly recommend any of you look into that. I wasn't willing to go back into debt at this age (turned 40 on the 20th) but I desperately wanted to change careers. I took and passed my road test on the 17th. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had it all played out in my mind. I encourage all of you to move forward with this if you truly think you'll enjoy it. Best wishes ladies!!

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Hi All, I just joined this group and have so enjoyed reading both the questions and the comments back. Lot's of great info and insight. I am 52 years old, and I along with my 22 year old daughter will be starting classes in January. We are looking at team driving once we complete classes and also find the right company. I have so, so many questions, but I will only ask a couple of them here. :-) 1. Where did you find the info on the grants? Would you be willing/able to share? 2. What are some of the better companies to work for? I have been reading some of the comments on other forums, and I am sad at the number of drivers that talk about the low pay; having to fight for everything/anything. It seems as though most companies take better care of the office staff than they do their drivers. Is this really the case, or, is it like so many other things in life, that people will shout loudly about the bad things, but not share the good things nearly as often or as loudly? I would love to hear from women that are driving who can speak about what they like about this job, (career), and be honest about the things that aren't so nice, along with what they do to make things work out for them.

Thanks in advance for any and all information, opinions and input. Mindy

Sad I don't even know how to "quote" properly! Hi Mindy...Sorry for the delay. I received my grants right through the school. I wasn't even aware I could get them. They offered them to me. I would assume that if you just brought it up directly to them they'd know the best way to go about it. Covered my books, DOT physical, drug test, and all tuition. As to the negativity you hear, I agree with your theory of them sounding off. I figure if they're making good money and happy, they have no need to complain on a forum. Therefore you'll hear much more of the down side. I've heard lots of good things from local friends in the business. Especially in your case. Two women and team drivers?!?! My understanding is that you'll have an upper hand in some cases. Good for you two! I wish you all the best. Heidi.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

nomad girl's Comment
member avatar

Mindy, yes it's true. The low pay and fighting for good freight/pay. But that's the name of the game. You have to pay your dues. If you demonstrate that you're a hard worker, make a few office allies, and communicate well, you will have far better success than other rookies with stinky attitudes.

Chris B.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

OMG forgive me if this shows up elsewhere. I had my reply all typed out and bumped something and it disappeared. I hate computers.

Anyway, I just finished an 8 week course here at my local community college on the 14th. I was very, very fortunate to have received grants for everything! So I highly recommend any of you look into that. I wasn't willing to go back into debt at this age (turned 40 on the 20th) but I desperately wanted to change careers. I took and passed my road test on the 17th. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had it all played out in my mind. I encourage all of you to move forward with this if you truly think you'll enjoy it. Best wishes ladies!!

double-quotes-end.png

Hi All, I just joined this group and have so enjoyed reading both the questions and the comments back. Lot's of great info and insight. I am 52 years old, and I along with my 22 year old daughter will be starting classes in January. We are looking at team driving once we complete classes and also find the right company. I have so, so many questions, but I will only ask a couple of them here. :-) 1. Where did you find the info on the grants? Would you be willing/able to share? 2. What are some of the better companies to work for? I have been reading some of the comments on other forums, and I am sad at the number of drivers that talk about the low pay; having to fight for everything/anything. It seems as though most companies take better care of the office staff than they do their drivers. Is this really the case, or, is it like so many other things in life, that people will shout loudly about the bad things, but not share the good things nearly as often or as loudly? I would love to hear from women that are driving who can speak about what they like about this job, (career), and be honest about the things that aren't so nice, along with what they do to make things work out for them.

Thanks in advance for any and all information, opinions and input. Mindy

Big change for me as well. I am 50, never drove a truck before at all. I'm kinda scared and excited but determined at the same time. I have been trying to find a good starting company as well. So many comments good and bad out there. I am hoping to be funded for my CDL thru the states Worknet program that is under the federal government program. Probably different name in each state or area. Usually tied to the Employment Development Department. (I quit my job and moved. Ready for a change) They review your work history and test data from the test they give you to determine what type of work you should be doing. Bla, bla, bla, anyway, my testing came out in favor for driving but the committee turned me down in the first go around because with my previous job history, education ect... Felt I could obtain employment in my field. Thing is, I don't want to stay in that field any more. Done with all that, ready for adventure. So, now I am waiting to hear about my appeal. If they don't go for it I am looking at going with Prime out of Springfield MO in January because they will train you to get your CDL and they seem to pay well and don't have a lot of negative feedback from what I have seen. That's my story so far.

Good luck with your venture!

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar

Big change for me as well. I am 50, never drove a truck before at all. I'm kinda scared and excited but determined at the same time. I have been trying to find a good starting company as well. So many comments good and bad out there. I am hoping to be funded for my CDL thru the states Worknet program that is under the federal government program. Probably different name in each state or area. Usually tied to the Employment Development Department. (I quit my job and moved. Ready for a change) They review your work history and test data from the test they give you to determine what type of work you should be doing. Bla, bla, bla, anyway, my testing came out in favor for driving but the committee turned me down in the first go around because with my previous job history, education ect... Felt I could obtain employment in my field. Thing is, I don't want to stay in that field any more. Done with all that, ready for adventure. So, now I am waiting to hear about my appeal. If they don't go for it I am looking at going with Prime out of Springfield MO in January because they will train you to get your CDL and they seem to pay well and don't have a lot of negative feedback from what I have seen. That's my story so far.

Good luck with your venture!

Chris, I had the same issue with the workforce development office in my state due to my level of education and the fact I had years of sales experience. What they would not take into account was that most of the sales jobs listed on job boards such as career builder are mostly 100 % commission jobs that employers can't hardly lose by hiring any warm body, and the fact that I am over 50. I never believed being well educated with experience would be a hindrance in being able to support myself but age discrimination I'd alive and well. Good luck on your appeal. I didn't bother as it seemed like a losing cause, so went to Roehl Transport's company school. A company school isn't for the faint of heart, but sometimes a gal hasta do what a gal hasta do! 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.
Leslie M.'s Comment
member avatar

I have a question for everyone. I am interested in truck driving, but before I try to invest in this new career, I would like for everyone to be honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly about driving trucks. I am a former teacher and I found out that it was not for me. I even tried to go into nursing, but it had its own politics and all it did was drain my bank account and I have nothing to show for that investment. I've always liked to drive and take long trips, so being away from people would not be a problem for me. In fact, it would be something that fits me. I'm not antisocial, but when it comes to doing a job, I don't see myself socializing too much and would prefer to keep being social to a minimum. I heard that going back to school for this would cost too much money and has its own issues, but I would like to talk to people who are already in this field to tell me, if you were talking to someone, like me, who was interested, what would you tell them? I'm not asking for an easy career nor a hard one either. Also, with the CDL test, is it very hard? I looked at some practice test questions and I didn't do too bad on them considering I had no training and based my answers on what I've seen other truck drivers to while on the road. I am not here to offend anyone, but I really do need to know these things because I cannot afford to invest into something else only to repeat it in failure. :(

Its a decision you have to make about "what to do"! I grew up on diesel smoke and road tar and drove OTR for nearly 10 years. After I left the road I earned two B.As and an MS. degrees. I'm retired from being a computer geek now and going back to driving school to get back on the road. Given what I know now and what I've done for the last 30 years it was a mistake for me to ever leave the road. But I can only speak for me! Maybe we'll meet at a Flying J one of these days!

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.

Leslie M.'s Comment
member avatar

Whoops! I just noticed I wasn't supposed to post here!! Despite the name I am a male! Advice still holds though. You can't let anyone else run your life and you can't use it for a crutch!! "Peddle to the metal and let it roar"!!

RedGator's Comment
member avatar

Whoops! I just noticed I wasn't supposed to post here!! Despite the name I am a male! Advice still holds though. You can't let anyone else run your life and you can't use it for a crutch!! "Peddle to the metal and let it roar"!!

Men are welcome on the board to.

December Hopeful's Comment
member avatar

Anyone heard anything more from original poster, Regina S. as to her decision to go for it or leave it alone? It's the day after Christmas 2014, and I'm in hotel in Columbus, Ohio, waiting for my new trainer's Freightliner to get fixed at the dealership with an issue under warranty. We just left the terminal in Springfrield to come here after other repairs were being done there. What a whirlwind was orientation and immediately being assigned a brand new trainer! I'm her first trainee! Again, I'm all about the adventure! Ha-ha!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Misty F.'s Comment
member avatar

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You said the question was for everyone. I'm a student at a CDL school. So I can only give you what I know so far and hopefully when the seasoned trucker ladies get time they will give you far more experienced feedback.

You asked if the testing was very hard. My answer is, "Yes". I have found it to be so for me. But I did not grow up on a farm driving at age 14 on private land vehicles that have a trailer attached and learning under the wings of a dad or older brothers. There are guys at my school who have driven for the military, and some have been raised with a monkey wrench in their hands, and they are very comfortable around all the equipment. But, there are guys in there who can't double-clutch as well as me, who have stalled the rig on railroad tracks, and didn't know what a "YIELD" sign meant. One guy knew the Pre-Trip Inspection word-for-word and you know he passed that but he's back on Friday because he didn't pass the road test. I tested first and went home right after, so I don't know if he passed road on Friday or not. Hopefully he did, but he's determined, so I know he would train again this week and try again on Friday. (State law requires you wait seven days before testing again.)

I also know that the life of truckers, male or female, is very challenging. I'm like you in that I don't need office politics and I can't stand catty women who form cliques and won't welcome me for months on end because they have some snooty chip on their shoulder. Pink collar jobs have been for me, a complete dead end. All that being said, I am about to go into my 5th week at school because the 3rd week I was not ready to take the test, so I went home and rescheduled for week 4, Friday. I just passed Pre-Trip Inspection part of CDL testing on Friday, and I'm going back for more backing practice because Lane Change kicked my butt good at 7:30 in the morning. I had spent all day before test in constant rain and wind on the concrete training pad and getting in and out of trucks for my turns on all three backing maneuvers. My body felt like lead jello next morning.

Every morning I wake up thinking about the backing maneuvers. I just am very pressured to get this license. I'm running out of cash. I want to get it all right this time. I don't want to come back a 3rd time to test. I just want that CDL and to move onto the company training. Will it all be for me in the end? I don't know. But I know I have worked very hard in my life and want to try. I want to work hard on this and see where it goes for me. I think I have the mental and emotional stamina, but of course, hope to develop the physical strength and endurance as I go on the road. Working hard in the yard all day at my little rental house for six years cost me over $30,000. I could have paid for that house and the land it sits on for that price. Now I have no home and my stuff is in storage. Staying with friends and family is getting old. I want that CDL and to see what the road has to offer. I'm scared and excited and challenged. Hey, isn't that life?

Soon, you will get some more replies from nice people here on the boards. Let's see what they say about testing, training and driving on the road.

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Hang in there Angi you will get through everything! I will be praying for you as the prayers of my friends along with solid determination on my part got me through my CDL schooling and testing to get my CDL. I am currently in Appleton WI at Roehl's Phase I orientation and made it through the physical assessment this morning but it was hard, I must admit. It is all worth it though and I keep reminding myself of this. I sent you a private message so I hope you got it. If not I will text you tonight.

I have been wondering about Roehl ..I've been driving dump truck for 11 years...I have my class A but no experience... My question about them is do you have to team and do you touch freight??

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

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.
Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Misty, even when I was with my trainer we did not drive as a team. I am on a dedicated regional route and I don't touch any freight. If you have a class A but no experience Roehl would have you come to their school for a refresher and then have you go out with a trainer for a few weeks. I can give you the name of the recruiter I had if you would like. They have not told me anything that was not true and keep me plenty busy. Let me know if you have any specific questions I can answer! Good luck!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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