Profile For William H.

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    9 years, 1 month ago

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Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Application to manage my HOS more effectively

I do a few multi stop loads - example: I pick up a pre-loaded trailer at XXXXX time Delivery 1 is ~ 250 miles away from my preloaded yard and delivers at 2300 Delivery 2 is ~300 miles away from 1 and delivers at 0700 Delivery 3 is ~ 100 miles from 2 and delivers at 1100

This is just an example - but pretty typical of the kind of multi-stop loads I get (I do not always do multi-stop loads - about 85% of my pics and deliveries are TL).

What I am wondering is if there is any kind of application for android or windows which will help me to plan my time out a little better to make better use of my daily 14hr/11hr day?

I think I am wasting too much of my 14hr day by leaving way too early, or just starting my 14hr clock too soon - resulting in unnecessarily burning my day. Yes, shippers/receivers do their fair share of wasting my time keeping me at a dock for far too long - but I cannot do anything about that. What I can do is attempt to optimize my time use a little better.

I am on E-Logs and cannot use paper

Posted:  8 years, 4 months ago

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Toll booth disaster!!!

Lol, tolls are no big deal. They send a bill to your company plus a hefty "processing fee", for the convenience of it all.

Now if you hit the booth with your mirror (as I have done), if you stop they can whip up some magical damage fee out of nowhere. You'd be best off moving along as if nothing happened.

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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New member to this site and just getting started.

Sad to see this thread was never followed up on or completed. Oh well. I do have a good friend (Stan) who finished at this particular school – I’ll summarize his experience (he had a lot to say):

New Students – or people who are thinking about attending:

1. They will allow students into class without a CDL Instruction Permit and/or a DoT Medical card. This is bad for the student without and the student with because – in Stan’s case – he stated a full week was wasted as more than half his class had no permit and lost out on any behind the wheel experience. This deficiency was evident big time later on. The other students who had the permit could not go forward until the rest caught up.

2. Instructors are good – supportive – patient beyond belief.

3. Equipment is …. Well used – but what do you expect? A brand new $160,000.00 tractor for students to wreck?

4. Stan commented that it seemed there was always a scramble to get a trailer that had working brakes or good tires, or working lights.

5. Road time was decent according to Stan – but could have been much better.

How about the DMV Evaluation statistics? IMO this is what really matters – do they set you up for success? The numbers Stan gave me are from three separate classes and I lumped them together:

First time: 3 Pass, 28 fail (9.7% success) or (90.3% failure rate)

Second time: 9 Pass, 16 Fail (36% success) or (64% failure rate)

Third time: 7 Pass, 9 Fail (43% success) or (57% failure rate)

Pretty shocking results.

Of Stan’s class – there were 17 students who completed the course of instruction. Of the 17 – 1 person passed on the first attempt or 5.8% success rate or a 94.2% failure rate – just depends on how you look at it. According to Stan – the person who passed was a previous CDL holder.

Stan failed on a CEP (critical evaluation point) during the driving portion. He hit a curb 3 turns from the end. There are circumstances, but IMO they really do not matter. Fail is a Fail.

I know the area they test in well – and I cannot for the life of me understand why the CDL School does not take the students there to drive around and get a feel on a rough approximation of the course of evaluation. It would certainly boost the student’s confidence and give them the real world experience they need. The Evaluation area is kind of like taking your CDL Road Evaluation in Brooklyn around the terminals off of Gowanus Parking Lot – I mean Express or the 278. If there was an interest in boosting success %; that is what they should do.

Fortunately for Stan – he was only required to perform the operational skills (backing) and road skills portion again – which he passed with no further issues. Bad thing was – it took 19 days to get a second attempt. During the wait – the CDL skills changed for Virginia which now includes parallel parking (like anyone will ever do this). Stan had to, in effect, demand the CDL School provide the tractor and trailer he was going to be tested on, along with an instructor, at the DMV test range after 1530. He would not tell me what transpired between himself and the CDL School – and even to this day – he’s still furious about it – over 6 weeks later.

If you are researching CDL Schools and run across this one –

1. This is the ONLY CDL School that will teach you on 48’ and 53’ trailers in or around the Washington DC Area. The other 2 are significantly worse. The next closest is a private school somewhere around Baltimore and they charge upwards of $14,000 - not sure what the completion stats are.

2. You get out of it what you put into it.

3. You will not be given the opportunity to practice on the actual DMV evaluation range – this will directly impact your ability to complete on the first attempt.

4. The area you do practice in daily – Is not an accurate representation of the DMV course. It is too small, lanes do not reflect the DMV course, and not set up correctly (not measured, marked, etc.). The road driving does not reflect the DMV requirements and the course you follow - 5 right turns and 2 left turns - that's all you get.

5. You will not be given the opportunity to practice with the tractor and trailer you will take the DMV evaluation on (not sure why).

6. The tractor B:C Extinguisher was completely discharged and not mounted, one headlight was out – no action taken, based on pictures he showed me the trailer tires would fail a DoT inspection due to chunks of rubber missing, less than 2/32” tread, and the Hendrix Air Springs are all collapsed (dry rot, etc.).

7. The trailer you use for the evaluation is actually longer (by about 9 feet) than the one you use in the yard to practice parallel parking with, and the tractor does not turn as sharp. This screws the majority of students up and most fail due to an incursion (line crossing) on the evaluated parallel parking.

You can take away what you want from my description. I don’t think the CDL School does the students any favors and does not seem to set them up for a successful run. I am not saying you should keep your money and avoid them - the instruction staff seems to be really good - but the course of instruction and not allowing students to drive around the area DMV evaluates you in has a huge impact.

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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Another CB question

I have a Cobra CB - came with the truck. Works good - but I leave it off about 95% of the day.

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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Why is the world so untrucker friendly

Our community has a huge image problem. I make every attempt to be as professional as possible - from my appearance - to the condition of my truck - and the way I present myself - even down to having my papers in order. Most shippers and receivers just want you in and out the door. I'm fine with that. Most don't even realize I am the driver of the truck at #17 - which is pretty typical - and happened today.

IMO the bad rep comes from several different points such as: The time when drivers would eat a bottle of Mini-Thins and stay up for 96 hours, or the ones who lived off coke and crystal meth for weeks on end. The heavy mob influence in the docks, the lumpers who speak some other language and rip you off left and right The seedy dock manager who puts the drivers at the head of the line for off/on load - only if they pay a 'fee' (I've had this happen I don't know how many times). Theft The attraction of people who have a questionable background The jerk who will video someone only to gain some sort of satisfaction by using their stunted command of the English language to critique another driver for having difficulty parking.

The general public sees - trucks doing what they perceive as a cruise control drag race with one truck limited to 66mph and in the right lane - one at 65.6 mph - blocking the flow of traffic for mile after mile. They see the smelly guy with the giant gut who they perceive as being just one step above homeless The public reads stories about the idiot who stayed up for 28 hours, then got behind the wheel of his Walmart tractor, drove an additional 10 hours only to doze off and kill one person and injure several others.

I stay above all of that. I'd advise you as a new(er) driver (the OP) to leave the CB off and try your best to do your job as well as you can. Just because you are solo now - doesn't mean you have stopped learning about this industry. I spend a lot of my off time reading and reviewing hazmat regulations and keeping up with industry trends. I doubt many drivers can tell you how to arrive at the correct transport index for class 7 material, or what type of packaging must be used for something like CF252.

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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Over the road fitness?

Forgot to mention that Flying J/Pilot have a pretty decent gym. I recall it being 19.95 a month and access nation wide. The quality, state of repair, and cleanliness tends to vary a great deal. You use a card to open the door - and once that door is open - well anyone can come in. I've seen one person open the door for 8 buddies - none of whom had a membership. I canx'ed my membership because several of their gyms had the feel of a prison complete with all the charaters. Haven't been back in one in a while so it may have changed - but I kind of doubt it.

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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Over the road fitness?

It is really hard to get a decent work out OTR. A lot of good changes have occurred with truck stops, the comfort level of the trucks themselves, and the food you can get. Some truck stops have a small weight room, but you are just not going to find an L.A. Fitness or Golds Gym at or near a truck stop.

I go on walks a couple of hours a day. Some places you could call it dodging cars. I'd like to bring my bicycle but its kind of a hassle. Whenever I get my own truck I'll be able to attach a carrier on the back of the sleeper. I start the day with 150 push ups and 200 situps. I do about 30 min of stretches, and use the resistance bands for my arms/shoulders (I keep breaking them) and I'm pretty much good until I stop for a mandatory break. I know a lot of people will hide in the sleeper playing video games and eating chips all night. I've seen it enough to know it is true to about 60% of drivers - probably more.

With so many drivers being either overweight or with high blood pressure (or both) I find it suprising the big truck stop chains have not partnered with say - Golds or L.A. Fitness to offer a decent (doesn't have to be huge) gym for drivers. Most people forget how much better a simple 45 minute workout can make you feel.

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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Cats on trucks

I would like to know how long it should take my cat to get used to being on the truck, since he is 10 years old and has never left the apartment in his life. He is also scared of everybody except my wife and myself. I figured he would get used to the truck, but I don't know how long it should take, or what steps we can take to make the transition easier for him. We are bringing the fabric off his favorite chair. and all his catnip toys

I have a very large Maine Coon (30+ lb). My cat started riding with me OTR about 7 months ago. My company allows pets provided you pay a reasonable deposit and keep it clean. Here is my advice:

You need to think about what the cat will do while you are away from the cab and the truck is off. Do you have an APU or a way to keep the temp warm/cool? How about when you are having maintenance done?

Claws? My cat has claws - but does not shred the seats - most cats love the corrugated cardboard scratch pads - mine will shred a 3" thick pad in a month - doesn't try to shred anything else.

Cat Box - My cat needs a big cat box, and takes a rather large poop. She has a tendency to try to dig to China as well. You can't expect a cat to use a tiny cat box when they are used to something bigger. I've also found it to be absolutely necessary to keep the cat box as clean as possible - no smell is my policy.

I have an upper/lower bunk - but keep the lower as my table (volvo 780). The cat enjoys jumping from the front seat to the upper bunk. Hiding space - cats like this a lot - mine will get into the upper cubbies when I am driving or hang out on the passengers seat.

Food - I use paper plates for her food (less mess)

Fur - yah....about that fur...The never ending battle of living with a 30 pound ball of fur.

I try to park close to trees or stuff the cat will want to watch at night - this is something that will keep your cat entertained for hours.

Screens for your windows are great as well for days that you want to air out the cab.

Walking a cat. I'm pretty lucky in this respect. Maine Coons are like dogs. Generally they will take to walking on a leash with no problem. I do not let her jump out at a truck stop - too much going on - the cat has information overload and can't take it - freaks out. If there is an open area at a drop location or I'm waiting for an unload or at a rest stop with few people I'll take her out. The more isolated the better. Some cats will walk on a leash - some would rather hack a fur-ball on your bed than to suffer the indignity of walking on a leash. Really depends on the cat. Use a harness. Leave it around the cats favorite sleeping place for a few days. Gradually get the cat used to wearing the harness - then step up to hooking it to the leash. Go slow. Give treats. Associate the harness with treats or play. It will not happen in a day - more like about 10 days.

Cats have a tendency to want to be as close to you as possible when driving. They are worried/scared of being in motion - i.e. - laying on your feet, trying to get under the seat, crawling up the backrest and sitting on your shoulder - they do this so you can protect them. Some cats have a real problem with being in motion - some cats could care less.

My cat couldn't stand riding in my car - howled, cried, tried to attach itself to my head...I was really worried she would absolutely hate being in the truck. I introduced her to the truck slowly while I was at home for a few days - thinking she'd absolutely hate it. I had her bed, several toys, a perch on the passengers seat, and a place on the dashboard she could sit. I let her explore, leave her scent around, etc. while I was outside cleaning. I fed her in the truck each day as well and had the APU on and or idled the engine. Third day I put her inside, got in, started up and drove off. I've been quite surprised how well she took to the truck. I think she likes being higher up and the motion of the cab is not unpleasant to her - not sure. Still hates being in the car though.

She does have a bad habit of trying to flop out on the dashboard right in front of me while I'm driving. Good luck to you - just take it slow.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Taking blood pressure medicine, will it be counted against me when taking DOT physical

I'm not a doc or medical authority - however I do have high blood pressure and manage it with ortec. Have had no issues with DoT physical. 1 year restriction vice 2 year. No big deal. I track my BP - very consistent with ortec - my cat helps too. Zero side effects (except having to **** a lot). It works for me - other stuff did not. Weight management helps a huge amount - and when I say management it really means weight loss.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Lease-purchase: Sounds like a good deal, right?

Many times one or more of the parties who enter into a contractual lease agreement fail to put due consideration on §376.12(d) and (e). Another area often glazed over without consideration or negotiation is §376.12(k)(2) through (6). The Federal regulations are somewhat clear – but most people would do themselves right with a legal review. Arming yourself with knowledge from an OOIDA O/O specialist or attending O/O seminar’s to get a feel of what you would be getting into is a much better path then just jumping in without regard to the financial safety and security of your estate. EXAMPLE: §376.12(d) is compensation – i.e. what you get paid for, and how much. You can put nothing in this section and the lessor will not be required by law to pay you anything at all. You can also define compensation like this: your detention pay starts at exactly 60 minutes and 00 seconds of sitting idle on the receiver’s property after reporting your arrival with cargo and requesting material be unloaded, that the Lessor is responsible for detention compensation at a rate of $25.00/hr. This can further be defined as adequate, proper, and reasonable notification by electronic device or voice-comm indicating status of cargo and readiness by you (the lessee) for it to be unloaded.

I have heard the complaints from individuals about how they are not getting paid for what they think they should be, ask to see the lease - and under §376.12(d) – there is very little spelled out – only a perfunctory clause which illuminates one or two small compensatory actions to be carried out by the Lessor. Some of these contracts I have seen made me think my cat negotiated the terms. All I could really do is just roll my eyes and recommend termination via Impossibility to perform or in worse cases Rescission with minimized clause compensation.

OOIDA has the ability to review and comment on a lease. If you want a 3rd party review by an actual attorney so you can get a better assessment of potential success or failure - by all means do it - retain legal assistance and get the plain language spelled out. You would be best served speaking with a practicing attorney who actually passed the bar and can explain the elements of a contract.

If a Lessor is telling you the document cannot be taken off the desk for 3rd party review – walk away.

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