Profile For Mark O.

Mark O.'s Info

  • Location:
    MA

  • Driving Status:
    Considering A Career

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 months, 1 week ago

Mark O.'s Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Wilson Logistics training for a new driver

Hey Tim, I'm considering going for the lifestyle, and your pictures are an inspiration. Congratulations on your success so far. I'm sure I'm not the only would-be new driver encouraged by your story.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Getting a CDL in Massachusetts

Hey PackRat (or anyone else). So you're saying if I went to a major company's CDL training in, let's say, Arkansas, Arkansas would let me test for my CDL there even though I'm not an Arkansas resident? I didn't think that was allowed, but if I understand you right, it IS allowed? And then my home state will just convert the out-of-state license into an in-state license with no additional testing needed?

Thanks for the encouragement, Anne, but there is really nothing in my past that is likely to be an issue. I haven't had so much as a speeding ticket in at least 7 years, and I've never been arrested, much less convicted, or ever failed a drug test. I don't touch drugs, I have a beer like three times a year, and never drive afterwards. So I'm not worried about being vetted.

Thanks in advance, though, for any confirmation on my question about getting trained or licensed out of state.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Getting a CDL in Massachusetts

Hey Folks. I live in Massachusetts and am thinking about getting a CDL to start a new career as a trucker after more than 20 years in an office job. I know that the prevailing advice on this site is to do paid CDL training with a big trucking company, leading to a job at the same company. But as a Mass resident, I guess I have to get my license in Massachusetts. The test here is probably different in some ways than it is in other states. Talking to coworkers working remotely in different states at my office job recently about Class D road tests (because someone is teaching his kid), it seems like the road test here for 4-wheelers is different here than in other states. (I admit Mass 4-wheel drivers are pretty bad.)

As far as I can tell, none of the big trucking companies have terminals here. There is a CDL school that gets good reviews just a 10-minute drive from me. For me, the tuition is not a huge big deal. I can afford it. I also do not like being in any kind of debt. I guess my only concern is the argument that, if a company had not paid for my training, they would not be as committed to me as a rookie.

For what it's worth, I want to do OTR trucking. I love travel and adventure and don't crave time at home. In fact, I crave getting away. I'd prefer to to drive a dry van at first (not a reefer due to the overnight driving nor a flatbed for other reasons).

Is company-paid CDL training even an option for me here? Would I be at a disadvantage going for my test here if I've been trained in a different state that tests different things that I might not be prepared for? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Police called at consignee

I have zero experience here, but thinking about driving. It seems to me like the moral of this story is always call ahead to the consignee to at least find out hours when they load. Does that seem right?

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Could this approach to the first year of driving work?

Hi RealDiehl. Thanks also for your input. I get that it's a competitive situation, and I will lose out on assignments if I insist on getting good sleep. But especially during my first year, I think I'm going to face enough challenges without making them even harder for myself by being sleep-deprived. I know I'm in a privileged position in not needing to make a lot of money right off the bat, but that is my position. I'd rather stay safe, try to keep my record clean, and as I gain confidence and experience, I can start to experiment with cutting sleep a little shorter if it seems worthwhile and safe. Good to hear that many or most DMs will take into consideration that I'm not prepared to push it, even if it means I lose out on some of the better assignments. I want to go into this with my eyes open. Thanks again.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Could this approach to the first year of driving work?

I forgot to mention another attraction of trucking for me: Doing something useful by bringing people things they need. As opposed to my current job where, most of the time, the only use of my work is to make the company's owners richer. (I know that's part of trucking too, but the same is true of any job.) Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Could this approach to the first year of driving work?

The biggest problem I see here is you putting the cart before the horse. You're worrying about Step 45 when you are at Step 3. Get settled on a company, get invited to training, successfully earn that CDL, go out for your training, etc......

Catch my drift?

Hey Packrat. Thanks for your reassuring answer. I know it looks like I'm putting the cart before the horse. But actually this is Step 1 for me. I'm not going to go through CDL training if I think it's going to be a waste of time because I will be fired for turning down a dangerous assignment. (I know that trucking is not the safest profession, but I'm talking here about unnecessary danger.)

Anyway, both comments were really reassuring. They make me feel like I really could do this job. Which makes me really happy, because I have a feeling I will love trucking—the open road, the independence, the solitude, mastering a new skill—and it's a way out of a job with easy hours and good pay but that's killing my soul. Thanks again.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Could this approach to the first year of driving work?

Hi folks. As I said in a couple of previous posts, I'm thinking about truck driving as a career change. My biggest concern is my first year, when I'll be new to driving and maybe facing getting runs at odd hours and being sleep deprived.

I watched this guy's video on Youtube. A lot of you have probably seen it. I think I saw a very negative comment by Brett about this guy. My feeling is that he should not have agreed to take that load if he had any doubt that he could make it without having to stop to sleep. I also frankly suspect that he set up this situation so that he could record his dispatcher to get him in trouble. Both actions on the driver's part were wrong in my view. Then there is this blog on this site, where the author talks about using 4 hours of his 10-hour break unloading his truck (or watching the unloading), then two hours looking for parking and getting food, with only 4 hours left to actually sleep. Again, I think the driver probably shouldn't have taken a job that would put him in that position.

According to this article, driving with only 4 hours of sleep nearly triples your odds of being in a crash. Driving with 5 hours doubles your odds. It seems to me that the danger can only be greater if you are a new driver (new to trucks anyway) dealing with new and stressful driving situations.

My feeling is that, as a new driver, my priority would be to get through my first year as safely as possible. That means making sure I get adequate sleep, like at least 6 hours, so that I can face challenges with a fully functioning brain. To me, that would be more important than making much money or making my dispatcher happy. I have some savings, my spouse makes a decent income, and I wouldn't need money for much more than my food, which I'd mostly eat out of the truck fridge. My plan would be to pay for my own CDL training and approach a company with CDL in hand so that I am not in debt to the company. I don't want to be under pressure because I owe the company a debt.

I don't have a problem with 14-hour days. I don't have a problem with driving at odd hours. I would have a problem with the situation the YouTuber created for himself, where he had a good night sleep, spent 10 hours awake and took an overnight assignment. In that case, I'd want to tell the dispatcher, sorry, I can't do it, but I'll be ready after I sleep again.

Here's my question: Are there trucking companies that would allow a rookie driver to turn down jobs because he hasn't had adequate sleep, even though he has hours available according to the regulations?

Thanks in advance, and have a great Thanksgiving!

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Getting Enough Sleep

I get that you have to be somewhat flexible about sleep times to make your deliveries on time. I've wrestled with sleep issues for much of my life, but I've learned a bunch of tricks, and I've finally gotten to a point where I sleep well most nights. I'm pretty good at getting to sleep and staying asleep if I need to. I'm also good at getting awake, with the help of caffeine. But I also know that I won't function well if I'm not asleep between roughly midnight and 3:00 a.m. In fact, on cross-country road trips (by passenger car), I tend to settle into a rhythm of driving from something like 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. I actually like the predawn hours of darkness, including the lack of (other) passenger cars on the road. There are usually trucks on the road at that hour, but I like driving with trucks. Truckers are generally better drivers. As long as I am asleep between midnight and 3:00, and as long as I get a few extra hours on either end of that, I'll be okay. I get that there will be exceptions where I pick up a load in the evening and the customer needs it the next morning, but I'd kind of need for that to be the exception. What do you think? Can you usually avoid driving in the middle of the night if you're exhausted, with occasional exceptions? Or is a nocturnal schedule kind of required?

I kind of need to resolve this before I shell out for CDL training. Thanks again.

Posted:  2 months ago

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Getting Enough Sleep

Hey Folks. I'm seriously considering going into trucking and specifically OTR trucking, but I'm worried about being able to get adequate sleep. That is after all a safety issue. I know there's a mandatory 10-hour break after 11 hours of driving or after 14 hours since the last break. So I planned out a fictional trip from the Port of Los Angeles to Massachusetts on a spreadsheet (complete with stops at actual truck stops along the way). I found that if I drove for 11 hours without taking more than the mandatory 30-minute break during that time, my bedtime would move 3 hours earlier every day. That's like being in a permanent state of jet lag and would screw up my biorhythms, making it harder for me to get enough sleep. What kind of expectations do companies have around this? Can you get away with taking your 10-hour break at roughly the same time every day, or does it "migrate" from day to day? If it migrates, do any of you have strategies for getting your body to adjust so that you can sleep whenever the opportunity arises? Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Would I face hostility if I went into trucking?

Hey folks, thanks for the encouraging replies. I've been thinking about this, and frankly, I think my family member's problem is mostly her problem. Much as I love her, I think she is hung up on status and has trouble thinking of me as a truck driver. But that would be her problem, not mine. I DO NOT think I am better than people who have less education than me. Generally, they have strengths that I lack. People end up where they are because of what fate and chance have dealt them. I know lots of intelligent people never go to college, and also that there are lots of kinds of intelligence, some of which I lack. I will approach this humbly. I know that my degrees won't help me when I'm behind the wheel. As some of you have said, what matters is common sense, and also experience, which I now lack, and which I respect. Thanks again for the reassurance.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Would I face hostility if I went into trucking?

Hi folks. I told a family member that I was considering going into trucking, and she told me that I would face hostility if I did because of who I am. I wonder if that's really true.

Here's some info about me: I am a small guy (5'6"), pushing 60 but in good shape because I go hiking whenever I can. I am kind of a loner. So far, so good, I'm guessing. Now, my family member thought that this is what would be a problem: I have a PhD from UC Berkeley (in California) and a BA from an Ivy League college in New England. I speak several languages besides English, and I've worked for most of my adult life as an editor of books on history. My family member thinks it's obvious from the way I talk that I'm an educated guy. Another detail is that I happen to be gay. I don't think most people guess that. I don't have stereotypical gay mannerisms, and though I am not macho, I think I come across as an ordinary guy, even if it's obvious that I've spent time with books. I don't think there's any reason anyone would have to know I'm gay, unless they ask about my family and I then mention my partner. But she thought that would be a problem. Also, my politics are left. (Not liberal like Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden, but really left, like Bernie Sanders.) I don't feel a need to talk about my politics, and I respect other points of view. I've done some hiking trips in red states and had great conversations with people I'm sure had different politics than mine. I'm willing to listen and learn.

Anyway, I have dreamed of driving a truck for years, I love long days of driving on cross-country road trips, and I have great respect for truckers. I'm tired of the BS at my corporate desk job, and I was looking forward to getting a CDL and changing careers.

Do you think my family member is right that I would run into hostility or trouble from other truckers because of my background?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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