Randy's Truck Driving School - Day 3

by rbradyjohnsen

I have spoken to Randy 5 brief times today, once just because he couldn't find the fabric softener sheets I packed. I didn't think middle-aged guys cared about stuff like that, but I guess they were all doing laundry the proper way (who whudda thunk?).

Plenty Of Anxiety At Trucking School

Apparently everyone there is still very anxious, and they are all sort of bonding over that. Randy is so hyper that I find myself speaking very slowly to him, to try to calm him down. Plus I send an occasional encouraging text message with lots of xx's and oo's and I sent him a cell phone pic of myself with a calm, happy face.

Highlights From CDL Training

- He passed his CDL permit test the first time (only had to do the combination vehicles because of his class B). 114 out of 120 people also passed. Randy's best friend from Vegas was not one of them.

- An instructor, with 35 years on the road and 3 1/2 million accident-free miles (not including 5 that weren't his fault), told them that 80% of the guys that graduate will get in an accident in their first year. He said that's the main reason for the high turnover in the trucking industry but I don't know about that. He also said it takes $7000-8000 worth of damage to the truck to be terminated.

- He's finding tons of former drivers slamming the big "S" company, but he thinks they're just disgruntled and maybe were fired (please don't comment on this, I don't want Brett to yell at me).

- For the next 3 days their schedule goes from 7 am-9pm. Man, it really is a lot like basic training.

- The 4 women in his class (one of whom is also named Rhonda, Rhonda's are everywhere lately!) are all there because their husbands are already drivers and they want to team with them. One woman had a very interesting tattoo-in-progress.

- His class is now down to 40-something people, he thinks because of medical issues. But they told him anyone that was still there Thursday would probably make it through.

- He also said it's REALLY important to study the heck out of your CDL book beforehand and do tons of research about everything, which he previously thought was a waste of time. I did most of the research for him, and he was annoyed while I drilled it into his head but he's thankful now. And do not lie on your application or about any health problems, criminal history or drug/alcohol issues. And be ready to be super-alert and pay close attention because it is very fast-paced.

I think that's about it. He's calling again at 10 to get the Minnesota Twins score. As for me, I've only lost 4 lbs since this started, and some of that has to be water weight from the previously mentioned crying, although that has slowed down somewhat. This really is so difficult in every possible way.

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.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

by Brett Aquila

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