Comments By David K.

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  • David K.
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  • 8 months, 2 weeks ago
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Posted:  7 months, 3 weeks ago

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Roehl Transport--Get your cdl program

Day 2 -- June 2 Full day of in-class training, mostly about safe driving. We started training on the pre-trip inspection during the last hour.

Posted:  7 months, 4 weeks ago

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Roehl Transport--Get your cdl program

Day 1 -- June 1 Roehl sent a van to pick up the GYCDL group from the hotel. Six of us are in this week's class. Today was the only day that Roehl will provide transportation to and from the hotel. After today, we must provide our own transportation. I think everyone, but me, brought their own vehicle, so I will be getting a ride from one of my classmates.

After arriving at the training center, we filled out a few forms; then, all of us, except one, were driven to take another drug test. For me, that was the third drug test in two weeks for Roehl. When we returned to the training center, we took the physical capacity test. I was concerned about that test because the test preparation videos that Roehl sent us included some crouching and duck walk maneuvers that I would have had difficulty performing. The actual test included none of that. Instead, we were asked to perform the basic functions required of any truck driver, such as lifting and closing the front hood, opening and closing the cargo trailer, lowering and raising the landing gear, and checking to make sure that the king pin is locked into the fifth wheel. The last maneuver was what I anticipated would be difficult for me, so I brought a pair of knee pads so that I could get down low enough to check the locking mechanism. Everyone in our group passed the physical capacity test.

After the drug test and the physical capacity test, we completed our I-9 forms, and Roehl issued our Driver Code and Log ID. At that point, we became Roehl employees. For rest of the day, we learned about completing physical logs and the basic regulations for drivers. We were issued a considerable amount of homework, including memorization of the pre-trip inspection. Roehl expects us to take the CDL exam in two weeks, so we will be busy preparing every day.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Roehl Transport--Get your cdl program

PS: to my above, darn me .... did you figure out your 'drop lot' dilemma?

Thanks!

~ Anne ~

Yes and no. With the help of people on this website, I found a few places where I could park, but I do not know, yet, whether Roehl will allow me to park in those places while I am on home time.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Roehl Transport--Get your cdl program

Today, May 30th, I arrived for orientation at Roehl Transport near Atlanta, Georgia. Training actually doesn't start until June 1st, so I'm here one day early. My Sunday flight was the cheapest available over the Memorial Day weekend, and Roehl was nice enough to allow me to check into the hotel a day early. Trainees must pay for their own transportation to orientation, but Roehl pays for the hotel and for the cab ride from the airport.

If you are interested in my decision to go with Roehl for CDL training, I made a few comments about that here: Looking For A Place To Start

Posted:  8 months ago

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Quick intro and a few questions regarding Roehl

My minimum wage claim is based on the calculation that follows:

70 hours worked per week, in almost any industry except trucking, would be 40 hours of straight time and 30 hours of overtime. When I drove a straight truck, I was paid hourly, including overtime. I understand that OTR pays per mile, so I am trying to convert that to hourly pay for comparison purposes. Minimum wage varies by state, so I included a few to show the difference.

$15/hr (minimum in some states) means $1,275 per week (that's $600 for 40 hours and $675 for 30 hours overtime); $12/hr = $1,020 per week $10/hr = $850 per week $7.25/hr (Alabama, Texas, and others) = $616 per week

Some offers I received from company-sponsored training carriers for driving after being fully trained: $0.40 CPM with an average of 2100 miles per week = $840 per week (that's one of the largest carriers) $0.405 CPM with minimum of 1800 miles per week = $729 per week $0.47 CPM @ 2000 miles per week = $940 per week $0.51 CPM @ 2600 miles per week = $1,326 per week (that was the best quote, but I did not take it)

So that's how I have come to the conclusion that new drivers are making minimum wage.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Quick intro and a few questions regarding Roehl

No, PackRat, I'm not trying to talk myself out of trucking. I started researching the trucking industry because I did not understand why trucking company recruiters were burning up my phone trying to give me a job. I have six months of recent experience driving a straight truck. That's it. I have far more experience in other professions that require graduate level education and years of experience, which I have, but no one is calling me back for those jobs.

Now, I have a much better understanding of why OTR trucking companies are constantly looking for new drivers. Basically, the carriers need drivers who can learn quickly and drive safely for low wages, and most importantly, the carriers need drivers who can tolerate being on the road, living in a closet for weeks or months at a time. In order to compete successfully and profitably in the OTR market, carriers must accept the 94% turnover rate because, first, most Americans are not going to accept those working conditions at minimum wage pay for a long time. The turnover rate for non-OTR trucking is much lower, somewhere around 11% per year. That's where most experienced drivers want to go.

Second, I do not believe that driving an 18-wheeler is something that just anyone can do. My guess is that driving a big rig takes a great deal of skill, which a person cannot acquire after just two months of training, but probably requires more like two years minimum. I have never tried to move around a 53' trailer, but considering all the blinds spots in a beast of a vehicle like that, I cannot imagine that it would be easy to do or that just any person can learn how to do it in two months. Nevertheless, the fiercely competitive nature of the OTR trucking market has forced companies to churn through new drivers at ferocious rate in order to find the 5% who have the rare skills to drive a big rig safely, the tolerance to live in a truck cab for weeks and months at a time, and the patience to work 70+ hours per week at minimum wage until they have enough experience to demand a living wage. So, I'm not trying to talk myself out of a trucking job. I'm trying to appreciate what it will take for me to make it in an industry where 95% of the people do not make it.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Quick intro and a few questions regarding Roehl

I am scheduled to start training at Roehl on June 1st through their Get Your CDL program, and I have read countless reviews and watched hours of YouTube videos about Roehl. After all of that, I am persuaded that Roehl offers an excellent training program. Even most of Roehl's critics will admit that Roehl's training is top-notch. However, the training program at Roehl is not unlike many other company-sponsored training programs in that most people who start the program will not complete one year of driving at the company. My best estimate is that, at least, half of the people who start the GYCDL program at Reohl either quit or get fired within the first two months.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that ". . .between 1995 and 2017, the annual turnover rate at large TL carriers averaged 94.0 percent . . ." https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/article/is-the-us-labor-market-for-truck-drivers-broken.htm That's an extraordinary turnover rate, even for the trucking industry, in general. The BLS further reports that ". . . individual firms are forced to accept high turnover as a cost-minimizing response to their competitive position in the market for their outputs . . ." That informs me that the TL carriers, Roehl, Schneider National, Swift, CR England, and others, engage in the practice of churn-and-burn with new drivers because that practice is more profitable than trying to retain experienced drivers through higher wages and better working conditions.

So the trucking industry in the United States is what it is. Take it or leave it because we are not going to change it any time soon. Honestly, I do not know why I believe that I can survive and be among the 6% who make it through one year. But I am a relatively old guy, and I have been through a lot in life already. Maybe that life experience can give me an edge. I doubt that Roehl would throw anything my way that would make me quit, so if I do not make it one year, that will be because I was fired. Time will tell.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Do Roehl and others still use CRT testing? Carriers getting sued by EEOC.

Thanks, Old School. I appreciate your support and encouragement.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Do Roehl and others still use CRT testing? Carriers getting sued by EEOC.

My flight to Atlanta is on Sunday, and the first day of orientation is Tuesday, June 1st. Six people, including me, are starting their training that week.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Do Roehl and others still use CRT testing? Carriers getting sued by EEOC.

Roehl no longer uses the CRT test. Their capabilities test is simply a test of whether a person can actually get in and out of the truck, open the hood, check under the truck, and so on. I talked with the recruiter about it this morning.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Do Roehl and others still use CRT testing? Carriers getting sued by EEOC.

Does anyone know whether Roehl is still using the CRT test on the first day of orientation? The EEOC has started bringing lawsuits against carriers that use that test to weed out new truckers. Here's a link to the story: https://www.jdsupra.com/post/contentViewerEmbed.aspx?fid=19ca6c61-33e3-4a80-a82f-e4ecaf075a8e

"According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Schuster's use of the CRT Test, a strength test developed by Cost Reduction Technologies, Inc., discriminates against women truck drivers because of their sex. Specifically, the EEOC alleges that the CRT Test disproportionately screens out women who are qualified for the truck driver position at Schuster. This includes the individual who filed the charge with the EEOC, who Schuster refused to hire as a truck driver when she failed the CRT Test. The EEOC is seeking relief for a class of women who were not hired because they failed the CRT Test and an injunction preventing Schuster from continuing to use the test."

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Can a drop lot be completely empty?

Good information, Steve L. Thanks.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Can a drop lot be completely empty?

Thanks, Pete B. That's actually a more convenient place to park than the Roehl drop lot.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Can a drop lot be completely empty?

Thanks, Errol V. and Pete B. It's good to have such a quick response to my query, which alleviates my concerns. I live near NASA in the Clear Lake area, close to Saturn Ln.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Can a drop lot be completely empty?

Yeah I would call and ask. However why can't you just park at a walmart on hometime?

Well, I don't know whether that would be allowed or not, either by WalMart or by Roehl. I'm completely new to this whole trucking gig, except for the six months that I drove a straight truck for my brother's company. I suppose if worse comes to worse, I could park the truck at my brother's place, but that's still three hours from home.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Can a drop lot be completely empty?

I'm just hazarding a guess, but I would say that Roehl no longer uses that lot. An empty lot doesn't concern me near as much as the locked gates do.

Call the office and ask them.

Laura

Thanks, Laura. That's what I was thinking. Roehl's next nearest terminal is in the Dallas-Ft. Forth area, which is a five hour drive from my home.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Can a drop lot be completely empty?

When I agreed to start the Get My CDL at Roehl Transport, I explained to the recruiter that one of the most important considerations for me in choosing a company to train with is that they have a drop lot or terminal near me so that I would not have to drive for hours and hours to get home. Roehl does have a drop lot in Houston, Texas, which is where I live, and it shows up on Google maps. Today, I went there just to make sure that I could find it again later. It is a completely empty lot with a locked gate. Nothing there suggests that it has been used recently. I have no idea whether that is normal or not. Would someone here be kind enough to explain to me whether an empty lot is normal?

I am supposed to start training on June 1st.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Looking for a place to start.

Yes, PackRat, I am reconsidering the whole idea. Here's a Roehl training diary with a lot of detail: https://www.truckingtruth.com/truckers-forum/Topic-27143/Page-9/my-roehl-training-adventure

In that diary, Wild-Bill explains that half of his class did not finish to pass the CDL test, and Wild-Bill was only allowed to take the test after a manager decided to let Wild-Bill proceed, despite not making a passing score to proceed with CDL testing. In that same thread, Kenneth R. explained that in his class of 8, only 4 finished with a CDL license and 5th student already had his license. So about a 50% failure rate in the first few weeks would not be an unreasonable expectation. Those are not good odds, and we do not know how many of the remaining half go on to be let go, like Andrey, later in the 3-part training program. It's a very risky venture for someone who has no experience in trucking.

Again, you are right. I really need to rethink taking a risk like that.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Looking for a place to start.

The turnover rate in the trucking industry has me very concerned. I have been reading about how people get fired at Roehl in the first few days or months, and now, I do believe that the failure rate is very high, compared to other professions, and I doubt that Roehl is any different in that regard compared to other carriers. Even, here, on TruckingTruth, people have explained how they were fired during the training phase. Here's a recent incident at Roehl from Andrey: https://www.truckingtruth.com/truckers-forum/Topic-29806/Page-2/roehl-training-phase-3-solo Why did Andrey get fired? After reading his account and the stories from other people, I have the impression that truck driver training comes to down surviving whatever fate has in store for you. Being dedicated, committed, and hard-working can take a person only so far. There is no guarantee that those personal qualities will be enough to overcome simple bad luck.

At the moment, I will be fired at Roehl on the first day if I do not train myself to perform the crouching, duck-walk procedure in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61MrYF6_vI4 When I get under a trailer or inspect the brakes on a truck, I am on my knees, not crouching. I'm 6'2" tall and I have very long legs, so throughout my life, I have never found any use for crouching. And I am still relatively tall when I am crouching, so I would never ever check the brakes on a truck by crouching. I am on my knees to do that. But Roehl wants me to do the duck-walk, so I have to do it at least once. At the moment, I cannot do it well enough to pass. I have less than two weeks to practice that maneuver, or I will be sent home on the first day.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Looking for a place to start.

Big Scott, here is where I am getting the 70% failure number: https://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckingindustryforum/threads/roehl-warning.353304/page-3 ("The instructors at marshfield told me that the company had a 70% fail rate; and I can see why. The company is making a fortunate off of terminating students with a contract like that.") Further, a couple of YouTube videos had similar claims. So, I have only those anecdotal accounts and nothing substantively reliable to support the claim.

Update: Roehl called me this morning, and I will start with them on June 1st. Roehl does not pay for transportation to training, so I had to buy a plane ticket to Atlanta. The flights were very expensive due to the Memorial Day weekend, so Roehl agreed to put me in a hotel a day early in order for me to travel on a cheaper flight on May 30th. The recruiter explained that the Phase 3 CPM rate had been increased from $0.385 to $0.405. That was good news. In addition, I asked about the alleged 70% training failure rate. The recruiter did not know the failure rate, but she thought that 70% was wrong.

I called Schneider and a couple of other carriers to withdraw my applications. The Schneider recruiter explained that my application would be on file for one year, in the event that I wanted to apply again. So, now, I will be preparing for training with Roehl Transport in Conley, Georgia.

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