End Of My First Week of CDL School, Start of My First Blog

by Peter Jr

Well I finally did it! After a whole year of thinking about it, I decided it was time for me to dive head-first into the exciting, rewarding career of over-the-road truck driving. So I grabbed my fingerless work gloves, denim jacket and "Smokey and the Bandit" DVD and realized that I had absolutely no idea how to get into the industry. A lot of my family members have held trucking jobs at one time or another, but everyone was retired. I called around to a lot of trucking companies, did a lot of web research, and figured out that I either had to sign a one year contract and have one of the companies do pay-roll deduction, or finance a school on my own. Well, there's probably a lot more options, so if you find another one, please don't rub it in my face. I don't think I can handle that kind of "cyber-snootiness" yet. Let me get a few posts in, then fire away.

peterbuilt-sunset.jpg

So I took the self-finance path and found a school. There's obvious pros and cons, I mean, it's either go the company way and if it turns out you don't like how they do business, you're stuck for a full year (or stuck in collections, and trust me, not a good place to be. I should be in the record books for the most debt-riddled 22 year old in America) or it's pay cash up front and hope for tuition reimbursement. I decided to take door number two and reserved my seat.

The first day of trucking school, expect a lot of paper work, applications, and tons of training videos - most of them really repetitive. I personally was hoping for the old 80's "Blood on the Pavement" videos, but no such luck. After that it's on to book work. Before you can even turn on a truck, you have to have a learner's permit, so you have to study your CDL Drivers handbook. I live in Texas, but I assume since the CDL is federally regulated, the book would be about the same in your home state. The book is full of really helpful information that will be pounded into your skull for the next week (more or less, depending on your school) and if one little piece of advice sticks from this blog, it should be this one... pay attention!

So tomorrow is test day for me. I've studied my butt off in school and out, and I think I'm ready. So I'm off to bed. Wish me luck. Hopefully I won't need it. After tomorrow comes the fun part of the school.... DRIVING! WHOO!

-PeterJr

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.
by Brett Aquila

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