Comments By Cold War Surplus

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Posted:  5 years ago

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Medical cards in 2018

Besides the obvious issues of putting medical information on DMV systems that aren't designed for it, vary by state, are controlled by the individual states and are in no way HIPAA-compliant your post didn't ring true. I scoured the tubes for more info and found none. Curious that what some random guy told you has no record whatsoever on the internet. Can you link any news or fmcsa site?

Posted:  5 years ago

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Schneider dedicated

I used my Google powers to find the ad. The zip code there is 36871 if anyone wants to play at home. Here's what caught my eye:

It sounds like you'll be making 27 cpm, excuse me, "up to $.27 per mile". Up to $47,000 per year.

MWV is a packaging and office supply company, so lots of paper products. Paper products are heavy.

Night driving.

Driving a full truck, regional at night for ~$903/wk gross. You could do much better with intermodal or linehaul. Yes, it does sound like a day cab.

Posted:  5 years ago

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Interstate trucking.

https://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking-companies/review/company-51/interstate-distributor-co

Posted:  5 years ago

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Any ABF drivers here?

ABF is still one of the better LTL companies. Their best benefit is probably their retirement program. They put away $7/hr+ towards your retirement for every hour worked.

You would be lucky to get hired on there with one year of experience. You'll be competing with drivers who have years of experience, several who have years of experience pulling doubles and triples. ABF typically starts new hires out as, "Combo Drivers" - some dock work, some P&D, some Linehaul. What you end up doing depends on what your terminal needs and you're best at. The most recent pay info I found for ABF was $24.30/hr. and 61 cpm. You'll start out around 70% of that and work your way up to it in three years with raises every six months.

If you find that your local ABF terminal is ignoring your applications you should get some experience driving Linehaul for a few years then move over. 6 string mentioned Yellow. They tend to receive fewer applications than the top-tier LTL companies and are more willing to work with a less experienced driver. Their pay starts at $20.83/hr and 51 cpm. Depending on your region they may be called New Penn (Northeast), Holland (Midwest) or Reddaway (West Coast).

Posted:  5 years ago

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Help! CPAP issue.

A few things leaped out at me when I read your post.

1. Lots of companies will hire you with less than 1 year OTR. Have you checked with local food (MacLeod, Sysco) and beverage distributors? I know a driver who worked for the Budweiser distributor in New Orleans right out of driving school! I can't make specific recommendations without knowing your location.

2. Many employers will pay for your D.O.T. physical. it's usually the next step after the in-person interview. Even if you don't get hired or choose not to accept their offer the long form is still yours to keep and submit to your local DMV.

3. I don't know all the details about your non-compliance, but I do know that in many cases a driver who doesn't qualify for a 2-year card can get a short-term card (1-year, 6 months, etc.). How long would you need to extend to take care of your compliance issue?

4. The other concern you should have is that after enough time has passed employers may no longer be interested because of your lack of recent experience. A CDL isn't a Twinkie that you can put on the shelf and come back to in 5/10/50 years. While it may still be valid with the DMV employers will demand that you at least take a refresher or even go back to truck driving school after enough time has passed. The cut-off I see most often is one year OTR in the last three years, but YMMV.

Posted:  5 years ago

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Military Trucking Time

At CRST 25% of your time served is credited as driving experience. 4 years of service counts as 1 year of OTR driving on their pay scale. This bumps your starting pay from 25 cpm to 38 cpm!

http://www.joincrst.com/crst-expedited-military/

They also offer a Veteran Apprenticeship program to use your GI Bill benefits to pay for your CDL (no CRST contract) then earn up to an additional $13,400 tax-free your first year.

http://www.crst.com/2016/08/crst-offers-veteran-apprenticeship-program-drivers-using-gi-bill-benefits/

Posted:  5 years ago

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Best inexpensive trucker GPS

The two big dogs in the truck GPS market are Garmin's dēzl line and Rand McNally's TND line. Pricing is tiered according to screen size, not features like Bluetooth. You can pick up a Rand McNally TND530 (Rand McNally's 5" screen model) for $198.39 on Amazon or a dēzl 570LMT (Garmin's 5" screen model) for $299.00 on Amazon. Most months you can buy these models from Love's or Pilot/FlyingJ for the same price with significant rebates.

A GPS used with good judgement is a valuable tool. Not sure why you want to get strange with the change on your GPS budget, but there are some pitfalls you want to avoid. Garmin and Rand McNally have the bulk of the market share, have been doing this for years and aren't pulling out of the market anytime soon. They both offer free map updates and will for many years to come. There are a lot of other players who will sell you a truck GPS (ONE20, Tom Tom, Cobra, Magellan, Sygic, TruckMate, WorldNav) - but even if you combined all their sales together they wouldn't add up to half of what either of the market leaders sell. They could go broke or pull out at any time leaving you without map updates.

You might be tempted to buy a unit off of eBay for a lot less. These units were packaged for sale in a different country say, Mexico where a GPS sells for a lot less than it does in the U.S. You might think you're getting a deal because paying half of what the unit would cost new at Love's, but the manufacturers keep track of the serial numbers an know that your grey market GPS wasn't supposed to be in the U.S. so when you attempt to update your maps you will find out that your model doesn't come with lifetime map updates in the U.S. and you will have to spend another $100 or so to buy an update subscription.

Posted:  5 years ago

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New Arkansas Law Requires Human Trafficking Training For CDL Holders

This is a slippery slope. There is no shortage of, "good causes" out there. Once the do-gooders find out that they can force CDL holders to participate in their pet projects that have nothing to do with our job (safely getting our loads from point A to point B in a timely manner) the floodgates are going to spring wide open:

Organ donation - Thousands of people die every year waiting for donor organs. Hundreds of CDL holders die on the job every year so making organ donation mandatory for CDL holders will save thousands of lives.

Rest areas - Cash-strapped states are closing rest areas because they can't afford to maintain them. Making CDL holders take an orientation class then clean one rest area per week will make sure there are plenty of rest areas for all and ease some of the financial pressure on the states.

First responder - A truck may be the first vehicle on the scene of a serious car accident. Doesn't it make sense that they should be trained as first-responders? Even basic first-aid training and a few medical supplies could save thousands of lives every year.

Blood donation, litter pickup, reporting drunk or high drivers, reporting four-wheelers for minor violations (dead headlights, speeding, etc), take three weather readings per day - the list WILL NOT END!

I thank the Great Spirit that I don't have a CA license - I'm sure they'll be required to talk with someone about race issues or use a different restroom than usual to keep their CDLs if this catches on.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Pa. newbie, - Permit (got it), DOT Physical ( No problems), CDL training program (begin May 1),,,,,,,,,,,,Best company to sign with ???? Help!

Don't let their pay scale for 19 days make your decision. Think long-term. If a company pays 70 cpm, but doesn't have the miles you will spend a lot of time parked at truck stops thinking about the 70 cpm that you're not earning. The cpm rate isn't as important as the average driver salary. I quit a company that paid me 50 cpm to go to a company that pays me 52 cpm but I earn twice as much at the new company.

It sounds like you're set on skateboarding. Roehl and Schneider are both excellent companies. Listing company names is o.k. here - just don't commit libel. TMC is also a great option, just stay off the grass! They're also Top 10 for average driver salary. Note: I use the figures from truckdriversalary.com; Brett gets his figures from another source. Either way it's easier to make $70k/yr at a company where drivers average $70k than it is at a company where drivers average $36k/yr.

Don't depend on others to tarp your loads for you! Driving flatbed is much more physical than driving dry van or tanker. Carefully consider whether you can handle the physical demands before setting out on a flatbed career.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Getting rehired

While CRST is firm on holding people to honor their contracts and more specifically to the non-compete clause, they're surprisingly lenient on letting folks who have left early come back to finish their contracts. As long as you didn't abandon your truck, assault your co-driver or otherwise burn the bridge they will take you back. I've known drivers who have quit and come back after a year or more just to finish out their contracts.

You don't need to call Tyler to get back on board - any recruiter should be able to help.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Printing on the road?

Love's will print email attachments for $2.00/page. Just send an email to the Love's store you want to pick up your prints up at. The Love's in Troutdale, OR is store 449, so you would email your attachments to: store449@Loves.com to pick them up there. Not the cheapest solution but very convenient.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Being on disability and getting into trucking

Apples and oranges. Gaps in your work history are an indication of a worker who had problems finding a job because of attitude or other problems or just didn't take the responsibility seriously. I suspect your attitude may have influenced their decision. Donald was certified by a doctor as being medically unable to work but now wants to be a productive member of society. Different employers have different requirements. When I started out Roehl wouldn't hire because I live outside of their hiring area but that doesn't mean I didn't earn a good living driving for one of the many companies that would hire me.

I've met drivers who were in prison, keeping house/raising children, going to school, running their own business or doing other activities besides what most would call, "work". They got a job driving a truck because they were able to document what they were doing with their time.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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SD Domicile Limiting My School Options

You didn't name the companies you want to work for so I can't know for sure, but it sounds like their problem is with SD, NOT California. Fortunately for you California is a huge state and there are plenty of places in California most companies will hire from. Change your address to Los Angeles/Riverside or Sacramento - keeping your domicile state - but putting yourself in major freight lanes that employers will hire from.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Schneider Intermodal Question

Schneider intermodal was my, "plan B" so I seriously looked into it recently. If you hustle, you can make three deliveries a day. You get cpm, $35 per delivery, a fee for hooking and unhooking and a couple of other fees. You can generally come in on your days off too for extra money. A good driver in a busy market can clear ~$300/a day.

Chicago is a busy yard. Schneider sends their new intermodal drivers there for training.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Being on disability and getting into trucking

You have a work history, it just doesn't involve working. The purpose of the background check is more about proving you weren't hanging out at an ISIS training camp training to kill infidels, not proving that your butt polished a chair somewhere. Fortunately, your work history is full of documentation from medical records and government payments so it shouldn't be that hard to prove your story.

Did you have a driver's license during that time? Employers are going to want to see that you have at least one year of recent driving history and a valid driver's license. That may be a bigger hurdle.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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DAC says I ran off road (technically true). Unemployable for 5 years now?

It will go on your DAC and future employers will be able to see it. Yes, you can include a statement on your DAC report telling your side of the story but I doubt that will change anyone's mind. It happened, you were responsible and your employer had to pay a tow bill. Not the best thing to have on your DAC, but it isn't the end of the world either. A lot of companies will still hire you, just be honest and disclose it during the interview process.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Need some advice on finding a job with a felony

I know of at least one company that pays for training and hires convicts - CRST. You'll have to drive team but they hire a lot of new drivers others won't touch. . I don't know the details of your conviction but I've meet drivers with Grand Theft Auto, Manslaughter and other crimes normally dismissed by the industry on the payroll. They run the lower-48, but runs into the Pacific Northwest or north of New York are rare.

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Game: Name something funny or stupid that happened recently

I inherited a trainee after he had spent three weeks on another trainer's truck. I went over the trip plan with him (including a fuel stop) and went to rest in the sleeper berth. He woke me up at the fuel island to ask if he was supposed to fill the other tank with diesel or DEF? I told him that, yes, he was supposed to fill both tanks with diesel. What did he put in the other tank? "Diesel and DEF!" Rarely is there a commotion on my truck like there was with me shoving on my boots and leaping out of my bunk that night! "You put DEF in the diesel tank?", I asked. "Yep". "Hand me the key. DO NOT start the engine".

The owner-operator that trained him for three weeks had never bothered to show him how to fuel the truck! Of course, he failed to mention that he had no idea how to fuel the truck. Then, the trucking God smiled upon me - the trainee asked, "Don't they come out of the same nozzle?" I climbed out of the truck and had him stand next to the fuel pump with me. I pulled out the DEF pump and asked him, "Is this the hose you used in that tank?" while pointing at the Diesel tank. He looked wide-eyed because he had never seen a DEF pump before. "No" he replied. I then showed him the DEF tank hidden under the driver's door in a Cascadia. "Did you put any diesel in this tank?", I asked. "No". After a brief discussion I found out that he thought that diesel and DEF were pre-mixed and had no idea there was a separate nozzle and tank for DEF.

I got a merciful reminder that night that a trainee knows nothing until I teach it to them.

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Crst experience and truth

I am a trainer at CRST. Like all large carriers, CRST walks the fine line between maintaining standards and keeping butts in trucks. As a trainee, their standards seemed capricious and arbitrary - sending people home for seemingly minor things and keeping people who I wouldn't have in my home, let alone hire to work for me. There is a method to their madness though. The trainee with FIVE FELONIES and the prospective co-driver with a murder conviction (to be 100% truthful he pled it down to manslaughter) both TOLD THE TRUTH FROM DAY ONE and got hired! The driver who backed into a few trucks at truck stops and the driver with a misdemeanor conviction both, "forgot" to disclose these things and got sent home!

I successfully completed my contract. No, they don't withhold your license, you need that to drive one of their trucks. Their contract terms are different than most companies. You repay the cost of your ticket to truck school and the cost of your meals at truck school and that's it - the rest is forgiven. You drive for 10 months and you are free to walk away. Many trucking companies just provide an interest-free loan that requires you to make payments over a year or more. That said, if you don't meet the terms of the contract you signed they offer you the choice of paying back the amount in full or coming back to CRST to honor the contract. The terms of the contract you signed includes a non-compete clause. If you work for another company before completing your contract CRST will sue that company for violating the terms of your non-compete agreement. The other companies know this and will refuse to hire you until you finish your contract.

While the hiring standards seem harsh, as a trainer I'm thankful that all the problem children get sent home before one of them gets on my truck. I've never had a trainee that was less than reverent on my truck and I'm sure that's why.

Trucking is a dangerous job. In 2014 (most recent year that statistics are available for) 880 drivers died while trying to operate a CMV. CRST's safety record is about average for a fleet their size.

Does CRST have shortcomings? All companies do! A total of FOUR terminals to serve the lower 48, a medieval attitude on alcohol (your truck has been in a wreck and is 300 miles away and 10 days from being repaired - we might need to drive another truck in an emergency so stay sober or we'll fire you), getting an RO to have your truck worked on is like pulling teeth - you'll swear Maintenance had to search under the sofa cushions in the lobby to get enough spare change to pay for your truck's repairs to justify the wait. Do your time, learn what you can and be thankful that someone gave you the opportunity to start in this industry even if was just CRST.

Today is your lucky day. I'm at the CR terminal. I'll be glad to address your concerns. Look for the laptop next to the pool tables.

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Have you ever considered becoming a trainer?

I am a trainer. It's definitely a different vibe on the truck when you are responsible for EVERYTHING on the truck. Every time the trainee gets themselves into a bind their eager, wide-open eyes look to you for an answer - 24/7. Every time a macro isn't sent, hours are unverified or the truck's GPS says the truck is in Syria dispatch expect you to fix it.

Different companies have different expectations about what they call training. Fortunately, CRST lets the trainer watch the trainee drive for the first week or so before moving into team driving mode. This gives you a pretty good idea of where the trainee's skill level is. You are placing your life in the other driver's hands so it's important to use good judgement. Training is serious business. Last month a trainer decided it was a good idea to let an inexperienced trainee driver loose on I-84 in a snowstorm. The trainer ended up in the hospital, but the trainee was killed instantly.

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