Profile For Rob T.

Rob T.'s Info

  • Location:
    IA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 7 months ago

Rob T.'s Bio

I obtained my CDL August 2017 through 160 Driving Academy in Moline Illinois and began my driving career as a local foodservice driver for Performance Food Group (PFG) out of Des Moines, Iowa. After roughly a year and a half I decided to hang up my 2 wheel dolly and take a job easier on the body. I made the switch to deliver to grocery stores in Iowa and the 7 surrounding states.

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Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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Is majority big carriers taking new drivers with an automatic E restriction on cdl A?

Yes, all major carriers to my knowledge are 100% automatic with the exception of maybe lease drivers special ordering a manual. Most mega carriers are getting students their CDL with the restriction on it. I don't see them going back to manual.

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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CFI

Sorry to hear it didn't work out with CFI. You're going to have alot more trouble now as I recall you didn't have many options before. Now that you were sent home from a program its going to be even more difficult. Continue applying everywhere.

I want to point out for those reading that may be interested in CFI or the school Kidd was sent to that what got him sent home was 100% on him. Pretrip is all memory. The school can't teach that, it's just reviewing the information until you memorize it. Also the profanity that could be looked at as road rage. There's far too many hot heads already on the road. I'm frequently cut off even if I'm doing the speed limit. It takes me all of about 5 seconds of taking my foot off the accelerator to get my following distance back.

good luck wherever you end up. Have you checked into Western Express and Trans Am? I don't believe either run their own school though.

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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Local story regarding TMC

Here's a story our local news station KCCI ran with regarding TMC.

DES MOINES, Iowa — "This is something that is very humiliating," said Damon Mitchell, who was let go from a CDL training program at TMC Transportation in Des Moines all for his dreadlocks.

"I didn't fail out of school, I didn't do anything wrong. I was high spirits, I had high hopes and I went there ready to give this company everything that I had, with the best of my ability. And my hair did not have an influence on my job performance," Mitchell said.

Mitchell came from Texas to get his Commercial Drivers License from the trucking company, but he was told if he didn't cut his hair, he could not continue his training.

KCCI reached out to TMC Transportation about the issue, they said due to the nature of their business, employees are required to wear hard hats and have them securely fastened.

They added they enforce this policy with all of their drivers, regardless of race.

However, Mitchell says he was never given a chance to try on the hard hat and show it wouldn't fit.

"So how do you know that a hard hat won't fit on my head if I hadn't had an opportunity to make it through the training. This happened on day two of orientation," Mitchell said.

In Iowa, there isn't any legislation that protects employees against discrimination for their hair.

There was an attempt to pass the Crown Act last year, which would prohibit hair discrimination, but it wasn't passed.

Iowa Representative Ruth Ann Gaines says if that bill would have passed, Mitchell may still have his job today.

"We want Iowa to be a welcoming state, we don't want to discourage people coming to Iowa and getting good employment. So passing the crown act will certainly be one way of saying we accept who you are," Rep. Gaines said.

Mitchell says he now wants to seek justice.

He's still shocked something like this even happened.

"And this is something that keeps happening and it's always the Black guy with the dreadlocks. And that is baffling to me," Mitchell said.

Source : https://www.kcci.com/article/man-says-he-was-removed-from-iowa-training-program-for-his-hair/37096824 (had troubles linking it)

Couple things that stuck out to me is that would definitely make wearing a hard hat properly difficult and likely result in him not being allowed onsite at many shipper/receivers. To me its no different than requiring someone that needs a respirator for their occupation to keep their facial hair a certain way. Another is at most of these companies you're not considered an employee until you have your CDL in hand, much less your SECOND day of orientation I'm unsure about TMC. So the legislation that was mentioned would have done nothing for this situation. There was a follow up story this morning that he's in contact with lawyers in Texas to file suit for discrimination based on race. Racism and profiling is wrong regardless, but this is far from it in my opinion.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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First at fault accident

From FMCSA website :

§383.51 – Disqualifications of Drivers – General Questions

Guidance Q&A Question 4: What is meant by leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV?

Guidance: As used in part 383, the disqualifying offense of “leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV” is all-inclusive and covers the entire range of situations where the driver of the CMV is required by State law to stop after an accident and either give information to the other party, render aid, or attempt to locate and notify the operator or owner of other vehicles involved in the accident.

I believe you have a valid argument about not feeling it. However if you do end up being cited and found guilty its a minimum of 1 year Disqualification from driving. Not trying to scare you just trying to shoot straight with you. The fact he didn't issue you that citation at the time should work out to your favor. Were you issued any citations at the scene? If you receive any tickets HIRE A LAWYER.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Accepting responsibility could make the difference

When I clocked out today I ran into a trainer that trained the driver. A couple of the drivers he's trained have made minor mistakes so we all like to give him crap for it all in fun. When I seen he had a new trainee today I told trainer hopefully you don't curse the new guy like your last one. I heard exactly what had happened with the final incident as he was told by someone in management. The now- unemployed driver made it back to the yard safely but when he went to back into his assigned pad apparently he hit the trailer next to him and continued backing tearing everything up on his truck and trailer as well. Our VP just happened to be out in the yard and witnessed it. When confronted he knew he was about to be fired so he quit and walked off.

I guess technically he wasn't fired, but when you look at everything that's transpired having a termination on his record is the least of his worries. I'm extremely shocked he wasn't gone after the rollover and then managed to goof up again so quickly. I can't help but wonder if he simply didn't care.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Accepting responsibility could make the difference

I apologize for my absence from the forum, been doing lots of upgrades to the house and haven't had much time to respond despite popping in nearly daily. I wanted to share something that's happened recently to show you how often times taking responsibility for your actions has a better outcome than making excuses or passing the blame. A driver at my job was recently terminated after making it roughly 4 months. He was honest and owned up to his mistakes, showed a willingness to learn from them and in my opinion was given more chances than many carriers would give. This driver came to us after getting his start at Pepsi for 3 months, then ran a shuttle route for Schneider from Des Moines to LaCrosse WI (550 mile round trip) for a little over 2 years.

Due to hiring experienced drivers you're sent out with a trainer for roughly a week and a half to learn our way of doing things and unloading at the stores. This driver was sent out with a trainer for a total of close to 6 weeks from what I was told because he kept goofing up and being sent back out with a trainer. A majority of it involved paperwork and losing/throwing out the bill of ladings for backhauls. We have a few guys from the warehouse that have gotten their CDL paid for and were given 6-8 weeks of training.

Management kept investing time and money in him but ultimately made the decision to terminate his employment. This driver made several very costly mistakes in a matter of about 6 weeks that will likely have him no longer in this industry. First was he parked on a ramp to use the restroom in the middle of the night. It just so happened we received a significant amount of rain and his tires sank into the dirt/mud costing the company over $2,000 to pull it out.

Within a couple weeks he managed to one-up himself. He was on HWY 50 heading to Yankton SD (600ish mile round trip) and fell asleep behind the wheel and managed to roll the truck, and to my understanding total the truck/trailer and the load. We were convinced he was done given the severity of roll overs. He kept his job after serving his 1 week unpaid suspension for an accident/incident over $10,000 in damage (company policy). I talked to him while waiting on our loads to be completed one of his first days back. He told me that he admitted to falling asleep, and being over confident in his ability to keep himself awake. He said he'd felt really tired the entire drive up that way and opted to not pull into the truck stop just off HWY 50 and I-29. He was roughly 45 minutes away from Yankton when he fell asleep. Surprisingly he didnt have any injuries at all. I explained to him how laid back management is as long as you do your job safely, and that I've had a couple days I take my hour break (nap) before I even make my first delivery if I really need to in order to be safe. I've never caught any grief over it as our safety is #1. I explained how the office really has our back, told him about my RR crossing incident and to learn from it and move forward from this and don't let it define his career with us. I left that conversation feeling confident that he'd get things turned around. Imagine my shock the end of the following week when I overheard he was terminated. I didn't hear exactly what happened with this incident other than he "wrecked" a truck and was brought back to the yard and promptly fired. I'm unsure of any other details regarding this one but he was headed to Yankton again.

I share this not to kick a guy when he's down but I feel there's valuable lessons we can all take away from this. First is obviously the importance of getting enough rest to be able to safely operate our vehicle. We've all had days where we maybe push ourselves too far. Loads can be rescheduled. If you need to pull off to get rest then do so. Its also important we use our 10 hour break wisely.

Its also extremely important to own up to your mistakes. Our companies understand we'll make mistakes. What they want to see is that you learned from it and won't repeat the same mistakes again. We've seen many posts here at TT trying to make excuses and pass the blame on it being someone else's fault and they get fired for far less than our driver did. We are expected to get our job done with very minimal supervision and they need to know we're representing our company in a positive way. There's no reason to lie.

We also see why its so important to stay on hard surfaces and off the grass or soft dirt especially after heavy rains. Also, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to AVOID Yankton sorry.gif

Ultimately this driver messed up enough that they couldn't keep him on. He got fired from a great paying job that you can make $100k and I doubt he will find anybody to hire him. Anybody can be a driver, companies want PROFESSIONAL drivers and for us to conduct ourselves as such.

Posted:  4 weeks ago

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Job be damned.

Lukas, how is it going? Have you upgraded yet?

Posted:  4 weeks ago

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SWIFT Training Diary, July 2021, Memphis, TN

The teacher has a great voice for radio, so it wasn't boring,

what is his name ? I went through 160 about 4 years ago and the virtual teacher we had I did a great job. I want to say his name was Dave, but he was a city driver in Chicago for most of his career.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Emergency at home while you're on the road

Thank you everyone, she is doing well but sore. She's got it wrapped with a gauze pad for the next day or so then was instructed to keep it uncovered. She'll go back to the E.R. after 14 days to have the stitches removed. Its been a challenge getting her to stop trying to do stuff as she has a tendency of always accidentally bumping/hitting the part of her thats injured. This call I received was much worse than the call I got that she fell down the stairs a few months ago. Atleast with that one she was just bruised up and had a small fracture in her toe. She didn't seek medical attention for that one and was able to just stay off her feet a couple days. She's quite accident prone, perhaps I need to re- childproof our home and cover everything in bubble wrap smile.gif

I got the living room carpet ripped out and plan on getting the remainder of the flooring down on my next days off Tuesday or Wednesday. Then comes doing our last section of drywall in the basement. Idiot that flipped this house took alot of shortcuts that we're finding and didn't even insulate a walk-out basement in Iowa.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Done with Schneider after 3 months

Schneider is only paying me $17 HR plus OT and that’s in one of the most expensive places to live in the PNW. What new drivers are paid by these mega carriers giving us a “shot” is pretty terrible. But, I get the reason.

nobody forced you to take that position though. I agree that $17 for a CDL holder is very low but I never understood why someone is willing to take a job just to complain about the pay. If someone is willing to work for that why raise the wage across the board? Surely there are ways to demonstrate you're worth more. It happened to me my first year being paid $21.90 with a union contract that got us 50 cent raises every 3 months until top pay 1 year. I kicked ass and received a text from my manager saying my hard work hasn't gone unnoticed and they bumped me to full scale 3 or 4 months early.

As far as waiting til you get moved to start driving again...terrible idea. You almost certainly have to go through training again, and may be required to do some sort of refresher. Your skills are still developing plus having left your first company after 3 months will look bad on your application.

Best of luck.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Emergency at home while you're on the road

At trucking truth we strive to be honest and truthful to help everyone that stops by whether you're experienced, new, considering a career or even just looking to gain knowledge of this often misunderstood industry. We all have various reasons of why we got started, as well as what we enjoy about it. I want to bring up something that happened today that involves my family life and how its negatively impacted by this career. I'm a home daily driver so the extent isn't as devastating as if you're on the otherside of the country.

I took a easy 2 store run to Cedar Rapids IA today, only about 260 mile round trip. I was just starting to head back when I receive a frantic call from my wife telling me I need to get home ASAP. We've been busy remodeling our home and she took it upon herself to use power tools to continue the current project of replacing baseboards as we just put down new flooring. I've always told her no power tools when she's alone, and same for me for safety reasons. The saw ended up slipping and cutting the webbing between her thumb and pointer finger. From her description I could tell it was bad so I'm trying to keep her calm while I'm worried sick about her and our 3 young kids. My wife takes alot of pride in being independent and taking care of things herself. It was a struggle getting her to call her mom that lives an hour away asking for help. Of course none of our neighbors happened to be home today when this happened. After she finally called her mom, I convinced her to call 911. They ended up showing up and had her loaded in the ambulance within 2 minutes of showing up for whats normally a 25 minute drive to the hospital. The nice police officer (1 of the 2 that live within a block basically next door to each other) of our town of 1200 stayed with my kids keeping them calm for 45 minutes until Grandma showed up. One of the medics asked if she wanted his wife who is a licensed daycare provider to watch them until I got home but grandma was on her way and we felt it'd be better for the kids this way. Meanwhile all this is happening while I'm 2 hours away from the yard when I first got the call, plus 45 minutes from home after dropping the truck (hospital was 15 minutes closer to me) As a professional driver we're required to stick to our training regardless of what else is going on to ensure our, and the general publics safety. The entire drive im worried sick about my wife knowing that I'm completely helpless to the situation and she's unable to talk while receiving care so I have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on. My wife is ok thank God, and received 8 stitches. The officer even stopped by later after shift to see how my wife was doing which I thought was very nice.

I wanted to share this to show you one of the downsides of this industry and not being able to help take care of issues at home. Not everything in this industry is great and its difficult on everyone involved in many different ways. With that being said, I love this career choice and everything its provided for my family. Even as a local'ish driver its often difficult to rush home for emergencies.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

CFI Hair test

Does it really matter? Most places I've gone through hiring process (not just trucking) sent their samples to Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics however I can't speak for CFI. It should be on the paperwork you received if you really care that much. My current employer uses a clinic that sends the sample FedEx overnight to Kansas City. Hopefully you're right about a persons first use not showing up on a drug test.

Posted:  1 month ago

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First load as lease operator

I also prefer Volvo. At my company I slipseat and tend to favor the Volvo over freightliner, international, or kenworth. The shifting and especially backing is far smoother. Plus if I wanna wear flip flops and drive with my feet on the dash it doesn't look out of place 😉

On a side note I haven't seen many Amazon trailers in the ditch lately. I've also noticed that many of the independents pulling their freight have slowed down to about 65 atleast in the areas I run.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

CFI

Thats awesome, congrats on being accepted by CFI. Do you have a start date set up? You mentioned a week ago that you used CBD and afraid of a hair test at CFI. I HIGHLY encourage you to pay for your own hair test BEFORE you go. If it comes back dirty your already difficult situation gets far more dire. Most CBD claims to not have THC but I've heard there isn't anybody regulating it. Personally I would make dang sure I was clean before jumping on the bus.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is it possible to get paid cdl training locally?

As others have said it is possible but its a more difficult path for sure. I got started unloading anywhere from 15k to 20k with a 2 wheel dolly up and down a ramp daily. Many times they can't find anybody to fill these positions thats why they're offered to someone with zero experience. There is actually a budweiser distributor in my area hiring people WITHOUT a CDL offering to pay their schooling AND offering a $1500 sign on bonus. Nobody wants that work because its a very physical fast paced job without making as much as you can at other trucking jobs that are no touch.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Has anyone went to school at 160 driving academy?

back in 2017 I was hired by Performance Food Group without my CDL. They put me through school out near the terminal at the Moline Illinois school. Overall my experience was great but so much of it really comes down to your individual instructor you have. My instructor got irritated when someone struggled with the same thing after being told how to do it multiple times but he also genuinely wanted to help others learn.

Week 1 everybody sits in a room that has a guy doing a video chat more or less reading you the CDL manual to prepare for your permit test. Everybody does it even if you have your permit you just won't be sent off to the DMV to test like the others.

Week 2 we started learning pretrip and backing. Every day started with every student doing an in cab pretrip for the rest of the students the remainder of school. After we all had a turn we'd start taking turns backing. When we weren't backing we were expected to watch others or practice pretrip. After you got straight line backing down you learned the 2 other maneuvers my state required. Offset driverside and parallel driverside. We also bobtailed to a dying industrial park to practice shifting. We could get up to 8th gear then back to 6th and back to 8th before coming to a stop and doing it all over again.

Week 3 was more or less the same except we now went out on the public roads to work on shifting.

Week 4 was more of the same except now we practiced driving the actual test route. Of the 3 of us that started together 2 passed everything, the other student stalled the truck pulling out of the test site so he had to retake that part. He ended up passing the driving test the 2nd attempt.

Keep in mind this was a couple years ago but you could go the self pay option of around $4500 or sign on with a carrier that covered your expenses. A couple they partnered with were Swift, Schneider, US Express, May, and USA Truck. A classmate was offered a spot with USA truck but they required a contract that stated he would work there for a year or he'd be on the hook for $11,000! Overall I was very pleased with my experience but again it boils down to your instructor.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Another example of U-turn gone wrong.

He definitely didn’t come out smelling like a rose after that stunt.

rofl-1.gif

Backing across a roadway is often times worse in my opinion because you're backing blind. Often times if you're delivering to a warehouse/industrial area there will be other facilities that were built to accommodate trucks and you can just as easily pull in there and get turned. Otherwise many times there's a truck friendly route that would allow you to circle the block (or several) and come back the opposite direction. The best course of action is to stop immediately after you realize you goofed up and evaluate the situation. In this particular situation the driver hypothetically could have backed down the wide shoulder the couple blocks to get to the cold storage if he couldn't figure out how to get turned around. It is far from ideal but its much better than a u turn especially on a road that size.

For those starting out that don't have a Trucker GPS you can zoom in on Google maps when you're settings are set to show traffic levels. More times than not the roads it shows info for will be a main road that SHOULD accommodate your truck. HOWEVER, as always it is extremely important to pay attention to signs especially low clearance or no trucks allowed signs. This becomes much more difficult in places like Chicago and the Northeast so I suggest you "drive" the route on Google before you commit and get yourself into a bigger problem.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Arm pumps

I recall my first time as well. Supervisor (I'm local) rode with me most of the day to sign off on my training then had me drop him off at the yard before heading to my last stop 25 miles away. On my way back I had a school bus full of kids asking for it so of course I obliged. It was nearly 2 years until I got my next one. Now it's about every 4 months :(.

However, my kids ( 5,4,2) LOVE trying to get trucks to do it and ask if we can go for a walk down mainstreet (US 69) to try and "get some trucks". I don't know who enjoys it more, the kids or driver

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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SECOND CHANCE COMPANIES

How much experience do you have? It won't be easy getting hired but if you're an experienced driver that will help. I read elsewhere that W.E. and possibly Trans Am took someone on that went through S.A.P.

Please keep us updated with what you find out so we can assist others in similiar situations.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Put flashlight on trailer tandems?

Don't worry about what other drivers are doing. The speed limit is just that. The LIMIT. You may upset the drivers held up by you driving what you feel is safe but they'll likely blow past you once you're out of the zone anyways and you won't see them again. I had another driver start swearing at me because I didn't get out of his way (I was doing 70 passing a 65 mph truck). I refuse to cut other vehicles off because someone else wants to speed. "You're F****** clear move over" was one of the nicer things he said to me.

Regarding your turns just hang in there and take your time. You're still new to this and you'll get the hang of it. It really will just become 2nd nature knowing when to turn visualizing where your trailer will be.

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