Profile For Matt H.

Matt H.'s Info

  • Location:
    Holland, MI

  • Driving Status:
    In CDL School

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 10 months ago

Matt H.'s Bio

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Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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1.8 Million Truckers Could Lose their Jobs to Robots?? Really??

If airplanes still need pilots then trucks will always need drivers.. Airplanes have amazing auto pilot capabilities but they can't land themselves lol 😂 same with trucks. Trucking as a whole would have to be revamped to accommodate these trucks. Imo!

I was discussing this with someone at my school just recently. I used airplanes as my example. Though, some airplanes can land themselves at specific airports. They have had this tech for quite some time. They haven't rolled it out for widespread use, and even the planes that have been able to takeoff, fly to their destination, and land all on their own for quite some time now still are required to have pilots.

We are a long way off from the tech and infrastructure being ready to replace drivers, and an even longer way off from the general public being willing to accept it. Planes will be a big milestone in automated transportation but they are still considerably easier to automate the operation of than trucks because there are a lot less variables up in the air.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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Looking for truths

Recaps are driving available hours each day, after your 70hr is reached. Everyday, you will get a certain number of hours back to drive, to hit your 70. A reset, is a 34 hour "break" to reset your 70 hour clock.

To add a little, 70 hours is how long you can run in a period of 8 consecutive days. You get "hours back to drive" each day because the furthest back day in your 8 day period falls off as the new day arrives. That day falling off and giving you back those hours is your recap. If you manage your time well and your loads allow for it, you can use it as a tool to help you get as much as possible from each day you are working as a driver.

If you were maxed out at 70 hours in your past 8 days and had driven 9 hours on the furthest day back in that 8 day period, when midnight hits that day would be 9 days back. Since it isn't within that 8 day range anymore, you can subtract its 9 hours from your 8 day total. We said you were maxed at 70 so taking that 9 from it leaves you with 61 hours run in the past 8 days.

And as Tractor Man said, go check out the Logbook section of The High Road Training Program.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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Non compete contracts.

I really think you should consult with an attorney. I do not know how the trucking industry handles it, or what companies will and will not hire someone who is locked in a contract with someone else, but I do know that non-compete contracts are hard (and expensive) for companies to enforce.

If you can get hired by someone else, CRST would need to sue you. If you are paying them back from your paychecks from the new job at a reasonable rate, I don't see why they would bring you to court. They might go through some basic legal motions that lead up to the courtroom, so that they can maintain a precedent of taking action for any future legal actions they need to take with others, but I don't see where they would go after you if you are paying them back monthly and continue until they are fully paid.

It isn't financially viable for them to sue someone who is paying them back at a reasonable rate. They cannot keep you from taking another job, even with their non-compete, until they take you to court and get a judge to rule. Your ability to be hired at another company just depends on whether that company will take you if you disclose to them that you are still under a non-compete contract with another company.

If you were sued, it would likely be for damages and not affect your new job status given the nature of the contract (educated guess without seeing the contract). The process of them suing you would likely take months and months, and you paying them back during that time would not only encourage them to drop the suit before it starts costing them too much but also look good for a judge who may end up ruling that you just need to keep up your payments until you have fully paid them.

Pay CRST a reasonable amount every month and my best guess is that they would be that they leave you alone. You won't be able to get them to agree to it, because their legal won't let them over the issue of setting a precedent that weakens their position in future contract enforcement, but I think you will find that CRST is a company and the money is what they are looking for.

I am not an attorney and I think you need to talk to one about this. I may be correct in all I said above. I may be incorrect. Talk to an attorney.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Quarter Ton Trucking

I ran out of characters on that last post, so here is the rest.

My backing has been going great. I understand how the tractor and trailer move. I have done the straight back, both left and right offsets, and alley docks quite a bit now. I have done them all in a sleeper and can complete each with no points reliably.

I have also done them in a day cab and that is a different beast. I struggled right at the beginning, but quickly picked up on the fact that I turned much more than I had in the sleeper and needed to be careful not to over-turn.

For a couple hours last week they had me in a single axle day cab that was an automatic. It is a tiny little Freightliner that has a Mercedes engine in it. It turns on a dime and, while frustrating right a the beginning, it ended up being really fun to use something that was so touchy but could offer such extreme control over the trailer.

Backing has become my relaxation time. I am just calm when I do it and I really enjoy it. It gives me something in between pre-trips and going out on the road where I can just spend some time having fun and let my mind just go to a happy place.

Anything with controlling the trailer in restricted space I just feel good about, going backwards and forwards. I feel like I just know how tight the truck can turn and how close I can get to something without hitting it. I do really well at pulling into spaces and can do it with the trailer straight behind me because of when and how I make my turns.

The instructors have been great at giving me tips and helping me fine tune my backing. My recent favorite from the end of last week was to serpentine for moving trailer tandems over. With that, I know I can have a poor setup and still stick the back of that trailer where it needs to be with a single pull up.

The info I am getting and all the time in the trucks that I get is really adding up for me after getting into my second week. I can't wait to get back at it tomorrow morning and I look forward to seeing where I am at at the end of week two. This has been a great experience so far and I think I stand a good chance at being in great shape for taking the test in 2.5 weeks.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Quarter Ton Trucking

I was so busy and exhausted last week. I was mentally and physically fatigued and most nights I just came home, ate, then fell asleep. Time now to catch up with this.

I have quite the tan now. Last week was only one day with more clouds than sun. I got nice and burnt during the week and had some seriously sore feet/ankles by the end of the week. Part was being on them so much but I think an even bigger part was from working the pedals. Those trucks take some serious effort until you build up the right muscles in your legs and feet.

Last week I was extremely mentally fatigued once I started driving on the road. Trying to learn a manual while you have traffic around you was draining. Wednesday was the first day off the parking and we stayed just on the industrial park streets where traffic was lighter and mostly straight, dump, and cement trucks. I had a rough time with shifting that first day and had no feel for the pedals.

Thursday was the industrial park again for a couple loops, then out on the city roads since my instructor thought I improved well enough. I was having plenty of issues with shifting, and the stress of being on busy major roads really wore on me. I missed some things because I was so focused on the shifting and had some real trouble teaching my left foot to stay off the clutch while braking. Being a two foot driver in automatics, my left foot is used to being used while braking and it has caused some issues for me with stopping.

Despite being mentally worn out from driving on the roads, I got up extra early Friday morning. I had been trying to come in 30-45 minutes early each day to do pre-trip inspection practice, but on Friday morning I came in even earlier so I could sit in a truck and run through the gears to get some practice in the pattern. It definitely helped for later that day.

Friday was another improvement as I went out twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, each for an hour at a time like normal. It was still very mentally taxing on me, but it went better as I was getting a bit more comfortable with the gears and, while not good at doing it yet, I had a better understanding of how to downshift properly. I was starting to identify key speeds and gears and able to more reliably drop to a safe stopping gear when approaching stops.

I was more alert to what was around as I wasn't spending as much of my focus on shifting. It still was far from perfect, but I was able to relax more and get a better feel for what was going on around me. I did really well with just about everything but the shifting. My instructor was happy enough with my progress that he had me do some expressway driving, driving just a few miles each on I-196, M-6, and US-131.

I seem to identify hazards well. There have been a few times that I have saved myself from having to slam on the brakes by seeing a potential problem and already have been slowing or light-to-moderate braking. I seem to do well at knowing where my truck and trailer are and the better I get at shifting the better I fewer curb scrapes I have had. I do get the trailer tandems in the gutter from time to time, but overall seem to have a really good sense of how to drive the tractor to keep the trailer in good spots while going down the road. I do need to work a bit more on turning, as I tend to either forget to start as wide as possible, or go wide and then don't get up against the curb after to keep the trailer tandems right up next to the gutter. I have had a few times where my trailer tandems have ended up too far to the left after right turns.

Today, Monday, after having the weekend to rest my body and mind, I went back out on the road again for about an hour. I felt so much more relaxed than last week. I was still tense and, while improved, I was still not that great on shifting smoothly, but overall it was much better. I was paying a lot more attention to things other than shifting. I continued having some trouble feeling the clutch well, which is an issue when you are required to double clutch especially, but that is something I expect to improve just fine this week. I found myself shifting without looking at the tach or stick and it started feeling closer to second nature. I was thinking better and it showed well. My instructor told me to make a lane change like he normally does, but instead of making it, I immediately told him I would after the road straightened so I could confirm it was clear. Apparently it had been a test and not just a normal instruction like he had been giving all the times before and my response was what he wanted.

Road driving is getting better and better and I started to enjoy bits of it. I don't have the anxiety thinking about doing it tomorrow like I did all last week. I know I am improving and I can see myself doing well in most areas of it. The areas I still have some concerns should be smoothing out as I do it more over the next 2.5 weeks.

I had a breakthrough in pre-trip inspection today too. I only missed a couple things from the parts that I did and when others did the other parts I was catching most of what they missed. I am feeling pretty confident with it and I think I should be ready for it when testing time comes. After driving on the road today, my instructor sprung a piece on me. I had only done an in-cab once early last week and out of nowhere he asked me to do an air brakes check. I was thankful I had spent the extra time studying and I did it fine.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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What would you do in this situation.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

A or B? What sections?

Ran out of characters there, so here goes the last bit.

Do I need to get a ez pass for trucks? Or the companies give that to you or have their own in the truck?

Wait and find out from whatever company ends up hiring you.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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A or B? What sections?

Do you get a different truck to drive. Like a truck / trailer for A and a bus for B?

To be clear, if you get a CDL A, you do not need to do a separate written or skills test for a CDL B. You still need endorsements if you want to drive something that requires endorsements, but the ability to drive Class B vehicles is awarded automatically when you get a Class A CDL. If you can pass the test to drive a 70' long combination vehicle, the assumption is that you will be able to handle a straight truck that isn't even half that length.

You will need to check with whoever you are testing with. Some testers will rent you what you need as an addition to your testing fee, some will rent what you need included in your testing fee, and some will require you provide the vehicle which means getting a vehicle and then having someone licensed to drive it bring the vehicle to the testing site.

For a Class A, you will need to test in a Tractor/Trailer. For a B, you have some options but the most common would be just a normal straight truck. You would not need to test in a Bus unless you are specifically going for a Passenger endorsement. School Bus is the same, where you would use that to test if you were trying to get a School Bus endorsement, but you must already have a Passenger endorsement before you can get a School Bus endorsement.

CDL permit - what sections do I need to study for the NYC written test?

Studying using the High Road Training Program here on TT, at a minimum you will want to study General Knowledge and Air Brakes for a Class B. You might come across some questions that weren't covered, but not enough to fail you if you really know what you did study. Combination Vehicles would be required also if you wanted to get a Class A. Everything else would be optional and you will want to consider what your specific goals are to figure out what you need to study.

Beyond the written test for your CLP, make sure you study Pre-Trip Inspection for the Skills Test to get your full CDL. See if the place you plan to do your skills test at offers a reasonably priced training specifically for the Pre-Trip Inspection test that they will be giving you. Don't do it right before testing because there it a lot of info to absorb. Make sure you also get a chance to practice the Pre-Trip Inspection on the specific vehicle you will be doing your test in. If you fail a Pre-Trip Inspection, you fail it all. In the first 10 minutes, you can auto-fail on something and there goes hundreds of dollars in testing fees and test vehicle fees.

With the Class B written tests for your CLP requiring General Knowledge and Air Brakes already, Combination Vehicles does not take that long to study for and the test doesn't take long. Even if you are planning right now to only get a Class B CDL, you can take the Combination Vehicles test with the others and be eligible to test for Class A if you change your mind, without having to deal with the DMV an extra time. You won't be forced into doing a skills test for a Class A just because you took the written test to allow you to take it. It just gives you the option when the time comes to go A instead of B.

Also if I want to drive a dump truck. Do they teach you how to use it?

That is easily taught by a company that would hire you to use a dump truck. You could even just self-learn with a little time on YouTube. There isn't much to the actual operation of a dump truck. The part you want to be sure you are aware of though is how top heavy they can be, which creates a big danger if you aren't careful in turns or how you drive on uneven ground (common on construction sites and quarries).

I think it is worth noting that if you are considering going the dump truck route, you might want to check with local construction and excavation companies. If you have a solid work history and a clean criminal/driving background, and arrive with your CLP, they may be willing to cover the cost of getting you trained and tested for your full CDL upgrade.

How much more cost is the A class? Is it harder. To find work with the B?

From my own recent experience, if you want to go Class A, plan on going to some sort of school. It does not matter if you aren't looking to go over the road or anything like that. I don't recommend it just because it makes you hirable. I recommend it because you will have a very hard time passing the skills test without having quite a bit of time in a Tractor/Trailer. Even if you pick it up quick, you want some expert advice while you are practicing to make sure you won't be wasting the money you end up spending on testing.

Difficulty in finding work will depend on your history and what the companies in your area are looking for. Class A definitely opens up more options for you, but there could be plenty of Class B work available in your area. Especially being in a large city (you mentioned being in NYC?), there will be tons and tons of straight trucks out there doing local deliveries, which should mean there are some jobs local for you. The question will be how many jobs are sitting open and that is something you will need to figure out for your specific area by checking the classifieds online and in the local publications. You might also want to check with job placement companies to see how in-demand you might be.

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Quarter Ton Trucking

Day 1 is officially done. I am headed for bed after this so I can get enough sleep and still get up early. They open the doors 2 hours before classes officially begin so I am going to try and head in 1-1.5 hours early and practice pre-trip.

I am burnt. I apparently did not get strong enough (or high enough quality) sunscreen. My face is burnt and I will be seeking a different sunscreen tomorrow at CVS on my way in.

I am sore. As I mentioned in previous entries, I have been working on getting my weight down and getting in better shape. I spent time hanging on the side of a truck, plenty of climbing up and down, lots of standing and walking, and I got past a fear - I slipped right underneath a trailer and moved around. It wasn't pretty, but I could do it and I know it will only get easier.

Seeing how much exercise I will be getting with school for the next 4 weeks, and how much better I did with it than I expected, I have already begun rethinking my choice of looking only at a reefer/dry van job. I had been looking at those for no touch opportunities as I felt I needed a year at least to get into some sort of reasonable shape. Towards the end of school today though, I had a realization.

When I am on the road, in an OTR or Regional situation, I won't come close to the exercise that I am going to be getting from school if I am running no touch reefer/dry van. I think I may be able to seriously consider trying flatbed coming out of school for the added physical work that it could provide me and have it not be physically prohibitive like I had been thinking it would be prior to today. It isn't written in stone but is just something I am keeping in mind and plan to evaluate after my first two weeks when I don't want to waste anymore time before settling on a specific company.

Everyone at the school has been great. My class is four people (including me) and I like them all fine. I have been very happy with all the staff and instructors and I felt like I absorbed everything they were throwing at me, even when I was worn out.

I have some work to do on pre-trip, but I feel very confident in the preparation I have from here at Trucking Truth. Our second week homework will be understanding logs. I looked over the info and feel like I was just reviewing what I already learned here. Having that confidence in knowing so much coming into it definitely helped me focus and get the most of my first day.

Along with pre-trip, I actually got to get into a truck already. I was taught hooking and unhooking and got a chance to do it a few times. I had a little trouble remembering the steps due to the sun and physical activity taking a toll the first time through, but I knocked it out fine the second without instructor guidance.

Then it was on to backing. I did straight line backing and I can officially attach the notice that "No cones were harmed while performing this maneuver" to it. I wasn't perfect either time, but I made it through and was given the go ahead to try offset backing.

The other student I was paired with for backing, taking turns on this truck, went first. He performed a real nice left offset, then pulled ahead for the right offset. Suddenly a loud hiss and it was over before I got a chance to try it. Somewhere the truck was losing air and, with only 10-15 minutes left in the day, I wouldn't have time to get another truck over to the cones and get one in, so something I am eager to try out tomorrow.

While I did unhook, hook, and straight line fine, it wasn't all roses. I have never driven a big truck before today, and I have not driven a manual. I have a problem with braking before putting in the clutch. This ended up with some rocking the truck and one time I managed to kill the engine. We also switched trucks from unhooking and hooking, going to backing, so as I was starting to get the feel for one I was tossed into another one with a different feel.

I did get better though and I know it is just a few more times thinking it through to get in the habit of always getting that clutch in with the brake. I also need to work on getting off the clutch all the way so the engine can just smooth out and move the truck without me getting in its way. I was pleased though with how I did for day 1 and I think I am off to a great start. Plenty of positives, and the negatives were just some learning pains that should be smoothed out with a few days of practice.

Time to get a few things done and then get to sleep so I can be rested and up early enough to get there with time for at least one good pre-trip walkthrough. Tomorrow is coming fast and I want to be ready for another great day!

Posted:  7 years, 8 months ago

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Looking to start a career

If you are still worried about hair testing after Errol and Tractor Man both mentioned that private companies do not test that far back, then this might be what you are looking for. You just would need to figure out which ones offered training and were accepting students, from your area, currently.

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