Profile For Errol V.

Errol V.'s Info

  • Location:
    Olive Branch, MS

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 2 months ago

Errol V.'s Bio

A school teacher for eleven years. Now I'm getting out of the classroom!!

A trucker for three years. The Oops! I'm become a Driving Instructor! ... Now I'm back in the classroom!!

Errol V.'s Photo Gallery Group 1 of 15

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Posted:  5 days, 4 hours ago

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A couple photos from today.

There's a lot to be said about B/W prints. I believe it really increases the drama of the scene. Thanks for posting these.

Posted:  1 week, 2 days ago

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Retiring Teacher - Is a trucking career for me?

Yeah, it's me, the Resident Retired Teacher. I left the classroom about 4 years ago, and I'd like to say I never looked back. But ... No, I can't see myself working with 25 - 30 middle school students again. On the other hand, I keep doing math lessons in my head while I'm driving from Peoria to Tuscaloosa!

If you've had it with the pressures of the classroom, then the peace and quiet of your sleeper cab/office, as well as the responsibility of delivering goods across the USA should be appealing.

There is the big (not steep) learning curve of the trucking lifestyle, but you can see many people have made the transition. On that point, check out another topic I started a while ago: What Did You Do Before Becoming A Truck Driver?

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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Passenger endorsement

The P endorsement allows you to drive buses. Not school buses. It's a separate endorsement, which is the Passenger Test. The S school bus endorsement is another test to take.

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

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The Hair test, Cocaine, and You

I teach a Permit study class at the Swift Driving Academy in Memphis. For many students, this is the first time they deal with the trucking business. On the first day, all the students head for the Health Center for their DOT physical, and a hair follicle test.

First, to cut down on rumors, the hair follicle test is set to look back only three months. But I'm finding out that three month window can still catch people by surprise.

About every other week, a student gets a phone call from the lab saying that they have found some illegal drug in their hair. This is a total shock to the student. And on this news, that day Swift will check them out of the hotel onto the street, without a bus ticket home. No questions, just get out the door.

Recently one man was found to have traces of cocaine in his hair. I had worked with this student for several days, and I was surprised, too. On thinking of his recent health history, this guy remembered he had had a minor operation a while back. Maybe the cocaine came from that. Cocaine is legitimately used as an anesthetic, so that could be an explanation.

I'm posting this as a heads up. If you have had surgery, or you think your doctor has prescribed any medication recently - even in a one-time dose, you should check with them as to any medications that could destroy your trucking career. A note from your doctor, brought with you to the hair test, could save you.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Hazmat Training

There is a small hazmat piece for all CDL-A drivers. Mainly where you keep the bills and that you might carry some hazmat but you don't need placards. (Think car batteries - not hazardous as long as the pallet stack isn't broken.)

But this isn't meant for full on hazmat loads.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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If hair follicle testing isn't mandated by DOT regulations. How is it legal for companies to put it on DAC report.

Swift does both urine (mandated by DOT) and hair follicle (more accurate & goes father back). I asked at the Swift health clinic how far back Swift "looks". The answer is 90 days. Sure, the things that the test is designed to look for last much longer in your hair, but the accuracy falls off over time.

The DAC is much like a credit report. There's nothing required by law to be in it, but the information in the DAC is used by many trucking companies. If it was important for driving a truck, I suppose the DAC could include your shoe size.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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SWIFT or Schneider

Rainy asked:

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do they (Swift) even still train and test on manuals? many companies have stopped.

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As far as I know, yes. Swift is still using 8 or 10sp manual transmission in their school trucks.

Errol...?

Yup. Still in manual transmissions, still double clutching through the CDL skills & drive tests.

My thinking is they do not want new drivers with an "automatic only" restriction as long as they have so many manual shift trucks.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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61 And Starting Drivers Solutions CDL Training Monday

Dan, I've looked into team driving, have talked to a few "teamers", to coin a phrase, and come to the conclusion that there are those who want to, and enjoy the team style of driving. But most truck drivers will feel better over the long term with a solo assignment.

Teams are great for the company - that freight does get delivered faster - but there seems to be little benefit for the drivers compared to the solo style. In most companies the paycheck earned by the truck is simply split 50/50, and from what I've learned on this forum, the pay is almost the same for any given driver, team or solo.

Your thoughts on teaming with an experienced driver to learn more, is right on. But that's what your first assignment at a company will be: a few months/ few thousand miles with a trainer or mentor to help you learn the finer points of truck driving.

You can find many forum discussions about team driving by searching here. I found this one from three years ago: The Tough Reality Of OTR Team Driving.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Im back.....again

It's always a kick to meet other TT members. I assume you will have your CDL permit. I teach the Permit class right next door. Stop in! I don't wear sunglasses in the classroom.

smile.gif

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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SWIFT Drop and Hook?

I think you've gotten the clarified message. Swift will get you lots of drop/ hook, with a bunch of live load/ unload. But the chances of having to move boxes are slim to none.

Most of Swift freight is labeled shipper load and count, meaning that the trailer is sealed when you get it and you aren't responsible for those two things.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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61 year old woman wants to start trucking. Crazy?

67 years old next month. Not crazy. Really! I'll tell anyone I'm not crazy. Been driving now for almost 4 years.

Join the club, Nelly!

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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HOS QUESTION

One of the constant pieces of advice we offer at Trucking Truth is that new drivers should stay with their first company for at least a year. Your possible next company may not like to see that you hop from one job to the next.

And if CFI will pay or finance your tuition in return for a year's driving what's wrong with that? You can save your GI Bill benefits for something better/different later on. Do not be afraid of commitment.

As for the 14 hour rule, don't try to game the system by doing you're pre-trip "on your own time". (This is general advice, you didn't say you might do this.) For legal and CYA reasons you need to log the time for your pre-trip.

The 14 hour day is connected to your 11 hour driving time. Once you "punch in", as Big Scott says, you have 14 hours to get in your 11 hours driving. You could legally stay On Duty Not Driving longer, but the next 10 hour break can't start till you do "clock out" off duty.

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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One on one help in backing

Brett brings it all together. One on one may be ok for voice lessons, but not in the eye-hand coordination and mirror skills needed for backing a truck. Yes, it's best if you know your goal, and understand how the tractor and trailer work together - all learned through practice.

G-Town asks for an update:

Errol??? What is the current (training) process?

Hasn't changed. First the instructors demonstrate the turns needed to get the trailer into the box. Then students go out two-three together to a range truck and practice.

Don't think you aren't learning while you watch the other drivers. If you're in the seat, you learn how your technique is. Standing and waiting, watch the trailer and see how it moves.

That's how you learn, not by having an instructor sit next to you.

Posted:  4 weeks ago

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One on one help in backing

G-Town points you in the right direction:

A different thought process...backing is the bane of most student's existence. Many do not approach it correctly. STJ your thinking is slightly flawed. One on one might help, but it still comes down to you.

STJ, I'm a trainer at Swift's school in Memphis. I agree with G-Town: it's got to be "learned" into your head. I can stand outside a truck with a student, and tell them "put more right into it!" or something, and generally can get these students to back the trailer through a 90 degree alley dock all day long. But I know this is not the training for students to do the same thing all by themselves. I also, as G-Town explained, tell students to watch what the back of the trailer does. Your success is in learning and reading the back corner of the trailer as it moves toward your target cone. And that is something you can practice on your own way better than an instructor standing outside your window can do for you.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Should I keep my personal car after beginning OTR?

You have already heard the chorus about keeping the car. Two additional thoughts:

If you have that bottom level credit, keeping and paying off the loan is worth doing. It can only improve that score.

Another thing, talk to your insurance company. Let them know the car will hardly be driven. Sometimes instance companies can adjust the policy premium to reflect that.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Descending steep downgrades in an automatic

I drove a 2018 Freightliner daycab for a year. The cruise control really had me spoiled. On hills you can depend on the "adaptive" cruise control to keep you below your maximum speed. The ACC will manage the Jakes to keep you from overspeeding.

Hint: Going downhill with the ACC, if you press on the brakes the cruise control naturally shuts off. But if you need just a touch of slowing down, bump the Jake switch to "high" for a moment. That'll do ya.

Posted:  1 month ago

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WHY DO CSR DO THIS ?

Bryan sees things:

Well i saw both but I only accepted the first one. But once I did my empty call I was dispatch on the second one

When dispatches/pre-plans come across your Qualcomm screen, they are assigned to you. Maybe what you thought was reply to "accept" was actually acknowledging. If you get more than one assignment in a pre-plan it's because after the first delivery you'll be in the right place for the next pickup. So it's very rough to pick one but not the other.

At Swift you can turn down a load, but you must select that option and have a reasonable reason.

And in turning down loads you might give your DL the impression you're picky. Which often means you'll spend lots of time waiting for your next load.

As for time management, that's something you'll learn. In my first few months I got to spend a weekend in a shopping center parking lot because I tried to make a delivery on a Sunday. (Yes, the receiver was closed for weekends.)

Serious traffic back-ups are acceptable for delays, but the receiver may not be so understanding. Use Google maps to keep updated with traffic. In most cases you can use Google's suggestions for traffic detours.

Posted:  1 month ago

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May I please have some advice?

Danielsahn made a move:

I left Swift after 7 months. I was 100% committed to giving them at least a year, but family circumstances, altered my course.

True - if there's something going on in your life that needs attention, do what you have to do. No problem.

Danielsahn, you do know the refrain "Stay for one year" applies to "Greener Grass" thinking.

Don't drop from your first, or mainly any company just for perceived better benefits. Job hopping on your work history won't help you.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Medications

You can use the search box (upper left of every page) to search for discussions of Suboxone. Also the Trucking Wiki has an article about DOT Drug polices that includes this paragraph:

2. Prescription drugs - The prescribing doctor can write that the driver is safe to be a commercial driver while taking the medication. In this case, the Medical Examiner may, but does not have to certify the driver.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Everyone has a story....

Welcome to Trucking Truth, O&I. I share a somewhat similar story in getting into trucking.

Two months before I decided to apply for trucking jobs, I got a 15 over speeding ticket, first one in y-e-a-r-s. Some companies said I needed to wait a year, then come back. Swift said "come on down".

That was about four years ago. In that time with Swift, it never entered my mind to switch companies. This is the thought you should have - why get started in one company just to move to another? Make your decision at the start, and stick with it.

As for proving anything, mostly you need to prove to yourself that you can handle the trucking lifestyle. Once you get rolling on your rookie year, you don't need to prove anything to Swift, and they'll keep you rolling. ... And this goes for any major carrier.

Good luck with your CDL training. If you happen to be assigned to the Memphis school, look me up - I'm an instructor there.

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