Comments By Aubrey M.

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Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

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Solo rookie as of today

Congrats and I'll reiterate... Keep calm and slow.

Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

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Low underpasses

Trucks and trailers are 2-3" or more under 13'6" so that they clear Bridges and overpasses that actually measure 13'6". Many 13'6" overpasses are actually over that height. Put your truck and trailer on level ground and measure from the top of the trailer (which sits higher than your truck) to the ground if you don't believe me. Engineers do sometimes do things right.

I still don't recommend going under anything marked less than 13'6" for the reasons already listed.

Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

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Does Roehl Charge Tuition If You Fail Your CDL Exam?

If you're intent on being a driver and willing to work hard for at least a year then there is no need to worry about the 7000. This site has already beat to death the reasons to go to a company sponsored school so read that info g town posted.

As for Roehl, I'm starting my third month solo and even with the slow freight at this time of year i am still averaging good miles. I went solo the last week of February and am almost at 33000 miles as i type this. My paychecks have been between 700-1100 throughout that time and I've had 14 or 15 days of home time. I took off 7 days two weeks ago, 5 the previous month and 2 or 3 the week after first getting my truck. I should add my paycheck for the full week of home time was only 200 and some dollars because i had a day and a half of running at the beginning of that week.

I run for a month or more, but a friend of mine who runs regional (5 days on, 2 days off) is making the same or more miles and pay. He had a 3100 mile week last month and is new like me.

Go with a company program like everyone on here recommends and just worry about working your butt off safely the first year... Not money you won't have to pay back as long as you stay committed.

I have no regrets going with Roehl and don't worry about the 7000.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Any recommendations on Roehl?

I have a question cause i want to clarify the pay.

Are you saying that you do not start employment/get paid from day 1..or are you saying they get paid biweekly, and like any business that does, has the 2 weeks of pay, then holds the week. If this is the case, then you are getting paid from the beginning. If you are saying you are not entitled to be paid for X number of days then that is a different story.

when is pay day and how often is a normal question to be asked. some places get paid weekly some biweekly some monthly...not just in trucking.

so i am curious what exactly is the situation.

You are on the payroll from week one, but you do not collect that first week pay until Thursday of the third week. Then the pay from week 2 you get on Thursday of the fourth week, etc.. so you go almost a full three weeks without any pay instead of just a one week delay. Eventually when you get to phase three you get caught up to being paid the prior week on Thursday and will get paid the extra held back if you did not have any delay between phases.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Company Paid CDL training and state residency requirements to license

It the school uses a third party tester then the results just go in the system and you go home to your state of residency to get your full license.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Heading OTR with no training. Just a tad intimidating

Buy a motor carriers Atlas and learn to use it if you aren't familiar with it.

Don't trust any gps solely (even if cmv specific)

Be hyper aware of road signs

And if it looks like you shouldn't turn down a road, don't, even if not specifically prohibited at least until you can verify that is where you need to go.

Set your king pin length for the strictest state you'll be going through from the start in case you have to have the load reworked to scale out properly.

Posted:  8 months, 1 week ago

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Any recommendations on Roehl?

I'm in phase two training right now. I like the program but the paid from when you start is a misnomer. You don't get your first paycheck in phase one until Thursday of week 3. And in phase 2 they again hold pay for two weeks. So plan your finances accordingly.

Breakfast at the hotel is decent and there is fruit to take with you. Lunch is a sandwich from Ebert's and gerbert's through the week. I detailed the other info on phase one training in "my journey to Roehl."

Good luck and maybe I'll see you some time at the Appleton terminal.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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My journey to Roehl

AFTER PASSING THE CDL TEST

Graduation is supposed to be on Thursday of fourth week for everyone, but since part of our class was delayed due to weather it was somewhat staggered. After testing, everyone has to go back to the Roehl terminal to go through the winter-driving simulator. Apparently this is required of all Roehl drivers (yearly if I remember correctly). Graduation consists of getting a yellow hi-vis vest, haz mat compliance book, Roehl log book, Roehl load book/pad, Motor Carrier's Road Atlas, a Roehl hat, and haz mat emergency response guide. You also have some more tenstreet stuff to verify, a video to watch about the company, and paperwork to fill out that includes a start in the "apprenticeship program" which basically starts the ball rolling to certify you as a trainer. You are required to start this, but not required to go through and finish the program. You are also assigned a Fleet Training Manager at this time and given their contact info to call after you get your full license. After this you are told to go home and wait until next Tuesday (a week from your test date) to go to the DMV/SOS and get your full license). Don't bother waiting. I got home Thursday night, went Friday morning and my test information was in the system to go ahead and get my license.

In Michigan, I had to again fill out the certification form that I filled out for the CLP, pay my money, and get a new pic and was good to go. The cost here in Michigan for the CDL class A with chauffer, cycle, hazmat, tanker, doubles/triples endorsements was $75. That is what it costs (if prices aren't raised) each renewal. Also, the hazmat test must be taken again at each renewal.

I uploaded a copy of the paper copy of my CDL to tenstreet but did not have time to call my Fleet Training manager until today. I also sought out parking places for when I am on hometime after getting my own truck. Roehl wants you to do this well before you get your own truck.

When you contact your Fleet Training Manager they confirm your CDL is uploaded, talk about where and when you could meet with a trainer and then contact the training Coordinator at Roehl to let her know when you are available. I told my FTM Wednesday and got a call from the coordinator a couple hours later confirming this date.

Currently I am tentatively scheduled to meet with my phase 2 trainer Wednesday in Gary. The coordinator is arranging a car rental for me to drive there and is supposed to email me tomorrow or Wednesday morning with more specifics.

Anyway, this is where I'm stopping for now. If I missed any info or raised any questions for anyone just hit me up and I'll try to answer them tomorrow. As was the case with phase 1, I don't intend to update this post during phase 2, but will be back to update it after passing phase 2 training.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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My journey to Roehl

CDL TEST

CDL testing for Roehl students is done 4th week on Tuesday and Wednesday. Three a day at 7:30, 9:30 and 1:00 as Shawn B. already stated in his post. I'm assuming Roehl schedules students similar to the way Fox Valley does...stronger students go on Tuesday to give other students more practice time in fourth week. The trainee in my truck I mentioned who was struggling throughout the class was scheduled to test on Wednesday at 1:00pm. So he had Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to strictly practice on his own. This changed (was extended actually) due to weather and he ultimately tested Thursday afternoon. Regardless of your scheduled time, you should really plan on Monday of fourth week being your las real day of practice and it should only be to alleviate nerves and polish your skills for the test.

You'll get all of this information during the training if you ask, but I'll go over what the test entails for those who want to know ahead of time.

The CDL test consists of three parts:

1) Pre trip - The pre-trip is broken down into three parts resulting in four possibilities for the test. Area A is the front of the tractor and engine compartment, Area B is the side and rear of the tractor, Area C is the trailer, For consistency's sake, Area D would be the entire vehicle (So A, B, and C). Regardless of what area the examiner gives you, you have to always inspect the coupling. In cab pretrip (including outside lights) is always required. The final step of the pretrip is the Air Brakes test which must be done in order and nothing can be missed.

When you make it through pre trip (there is absolutely no reason to fail this), you proceed to backing.

2) Backing - The backing section is also broken down into three sections. In Wisconsin and Michigan, the backing test consists of a straight-line back, offset back (to the left), and a 90 degree alley dock. You are allowed 12 points total on the test. One point is assessed for extra pull-ups, two points are assessed for boundary encroachments (and you are forced to pull up to correct the encroachment), and finishing short of the boundary box on the 90 results in 10 points. You are allowed a specific number of free pull-ups and get-out-and-looks on each section of the back up test. Straight line you are allowed one pull up and one get out and look before being assessed points for additional. On the offset and 90 degree you are allowed 2 pull-ups, and 2 get-out-and-looks before being assessed points on each maneuver. You should be going into the 90 degree with 0 points. This will allow you 2 free pull ups, plus 12 additional pull-ups...so 14 pull-ups and 2 get-out-and-looks. If you can't get in with this, then you shouldn't be driving and you won't be for at least a day. You have to pass the backing to move on to the road test.

3) Road test - the road test is a set course that tries to encompass as many aspects as possible that you may encounter on the road. You're allowed 30 some points (36 I think). Certain dangerous acts are automatic fails, but even if these happen on the test, continue to drive your best. Impeding traffic, hitting a curb, rubbing a curb twice, finishing in the wrong lane after a turn (I think more than once), coasting in neutral or clutching farther than the length of the vehicle, and not obeying traffic signs or signals are the major worries. The main thing the examiner is watching for on the test is that you are in control of the vehicle and driving safely. The biggest place where testees get points is at intersections. There are six possible points at each intersection: Approaching the intersection - 1)check left, 2) check right, going through the intersection - 3)check left 4) check right, after the intersection - 5)check left mirror 6)check right mirror. The checks can be done in any order as far as left and right, but you have to get all of them or it is a point for each one missed. It is easiest just to verbalize them to the tester as you do them because the approaching checks are difficult to see. It is also easy to get points in turns for not checking the offside mirror during the turn. You will have to make both left and right turns, going through traffic lights, stop/yield signs, and traversing roundabouts. There will be interstate driving, questions asked about road signs, including clearance heights, and in a manual you will be assessed on upshifting and downshifting.

After passing all tests you are taken inside and the tester enters your scores immediately into the national system.

NEXT: AFTER PASSING THE CDL TEST

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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My journey to Roehl

Personal Tips/advice

Take these or leave them, I'm only offering them because they helped me and my fellow trainee who was of the same mindset as me.

First and foremost, demonstrate you are interested and committed to the program and training and don't bit@h or make excuses.

Also, don't be scared to ask questions and show initiative. I already mentioned how I and my fellow trainee would pre-trip the truck in the morning during the time when everyone else (from all other classes) sat and did nothing for half an hour. We started doing this second week. On Tuesday or Wednesday of the second week we asked our trainer if we were allowed to start the truck to get it warming up (it's snowy, icy and cold in Wisconsin this time of year) prior to getting hooked up at 7. He told us to go ahead and grab the key in the morning and just make sure we did not start the truck until we had finished pre-tripping the engine compartment and secured the hood again. This carried over into asking him on Thursday if we were allowed to hook up to the trailer also. As long as one of us spotted for the other, we were allowed to back across the lot to hook up the trailer, let the truck continue to warm up, and then also pre-trip the trailer. By doing this every morning we burnt through the half hour quickly, were only aiding ourselves in practice and knowledge, and were adding to the available morning drive time; by the middle of third week we were pulling out to go drive while others still had 20 minutes to half and hour left on pre-trip. We had tried to include our struggling fellow trainee in this process, but he quit coming out to assist because "he had the pre-trip down," and "we [didn't] get extra points for doing that." If you do make use of the wasted half hour in the morning, just make sure the trainers know you are there before 6:30 and make sure you are back in the room prior to 7 for roll call and ordering your Erbert's and Gerbert's for lunch.

Another example of making use of your time and taking initiative was on a Friday with a different trainer. Our truck regen light came on at the end of the day and the fill-in trainer said we could just regen Monday morning when we came back in (regen takes approximately 30 minutes). As Roehl students we still had over an hour and a half to sit and do nothing, so we asked if we could just start the regen and come back out to check it in 20-30 minutes. The trainer just made sure we intended to come back out and shut the truck off, lock it up, and take the key back in. We assured him we would. Turns out the regen took over 40 minutes...that would have been 40 wasted minutes of hour approximately 4 hour drive time split between 3 drivers on Monday.

In short, if you don't put forth the extra effort, you're going to have a lot of wasted/lost time in a program that is already an accelerated course (Fox Valley's normal program is 10 weeks and students test in the 6th week). In making extra effort, I would add to do things until you're sick of doing them instead of taking the stance "I already know that" or "I can already do that." Specifically, get sick and tired of pre-tripping, and backing practice.

The last tidbit I would offer is don't waste your time listening to other students or asking other students about anything related to training, operating the truck, how the school or how Roehl operates. There were no less than 3 variations of answers to any given question floating around among students at training, and most of the time they were completely wrong or only partially correct. My advice about asking questions is meant to be used with respect to trainers and actual Roehl employees. Also, observe who the complainers and excuse makers are, make a mental note, and observe how they fare on the CDL test. This goes hand in hand with my personal observation that the biggest student helpers and student advice givers are usually the ones doing the worst in most aspects. If you want help or advice, go to people with an actual CDL...the trainers. There are exceptions of course, if you personally see a fellow student doing very well at a given proficiency you are suffering with, then ask and see if they can offer advice to help you. And if you don't understand something your trainer is explaining after several attempts, then ask another trainer. Ultimately they are all teaching the same basic skills for the same goal, but one trainer may have a better way of explaining it that will click better for you.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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My journey to Roehl

Variations in training schedule

Ideally, we would have the same equipment (tractor and trailer) all day everyday through training. Similarly, we would have the same trainer Monday thru Thursday. However, the trainers work 10 hour days and ours was not interested in overtime on Friday so we would get a different trainer on Fridays, though the routine was the same. That said, the trainers were all consistent in their expectations and basic instruction.

I say "ideally" with regard to the equipment because my training group of 3 had a student who struggled. He was given extra training in our typical truck/trailer for a day and a half. The school did put me and my fellow student in a similar truck however to continue practicing driving. The additional one on one training with our normal instructor was done in week 2 (Thursday) and week three (Monday or Tuesday). Beginning week 3 and certainly by the mid to end of the week, students are expected to be competent enough to not need one on one instruction in operating the truck.

From what I saw and heard, both Fox Valley and Roehl go out of their way to ensure that students get whatever training/practice they need to pass the CDL driving test. Two students from the class prior to me were even given two more chances on the CDL test (yes, three times so two extra weeks in the hotel paid by Roehl). I would not count on this happening often however, because a second test is iffy and not guaranteed. Regardless, if you don't pass, it is ultimately your fault. Instructors at Fox Valley were also great about fulfilling any reasonable requests from students....just have initiative and ask.

Next: Tips/Advice based on my experience in the program

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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My journey to Roehl

CONTINUED

Fox Valley has a large area for practicing driving. It includes a faux truck stop, skid pad (that Roehl won't let us use), 3-6 backing practice areas, and a track (the Keller) with various terrain and signal/sign variations. This is where we practiced the first day of actual driving (no backing, just driving).

Day 3 - Thursday, we were assigned our truck, trailer, and trainer. I had heard from the previous class about people getting switched between trainers and equipment, but my class (with some minor exceptions) had the same trainer and equipment throughout. Since we had an actual assigned truck at this point, we also began pre-tripping at this time. After a pre-trip and hook-up to the trailer we went out on the road.

Day 4 - Friday, we started out driving in the morning and began backing practice in the afternoon.

From this point on, the routine was the same: Pre-trip and hook-up in the morning, go out driving, lunch, practice backing in the afternoon, drop trailer and park truck at the end of the day.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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My journey to Roehl

TRAINING AT THE APPLETON, WISCONSIN LOCATION

First, as was the case with Shawn B., I can mainly only speak to training at Fox Valley Technical since I was in the group that went to that location.

My schedule veered from the norm for the first few days because I began on December 31; this meant we had January 1st off.

A representative from Roehl (in our case Tracy) met with everyone at 6:30 am in the lobby of the hotel. Those with cars followed him to the terminal (2 exits up 41 and about a 12 minute drive in Fox Crossing) while he gave those without vehicles a ride. Paper work, presentations, the CRT, and working on the JJ Keller trucking book filled up the first day. There is a video of the CRT machine on Roehl's website to show what it entails. The test was taxing but certainly not impossible or difficult. I'm in National and had to receive a minimum overall score of 127; I scored a 299 and was slightly winded after completing all tasks, but I was not sore nor worn out by any means. I think flatbedders have to get a 136 minimum but perhaps Professor X better remembers. Regardless, my class had students ranging in age from late 20's to early 60's and all passed the CRT with no issues.

***Something to note for those obtaining their CLP before going to Roehl (especially those from Ohio), DO NOT LISTEN TO THE DMV AND DESTROY YOUR REGULAR LICENSE. The paper you get from your DMV or SOS clearly states it is a learning permit. You must have your actual operators license as well as the permit to drive legally (both in the truck and your personal vehicle). A fellow student almost had a huge issue and just lucked out that his wife had not destroyed his original license; she was able to mail it to him so that he could drive a couple days later. Roehl will not let you drive if you do not have your proper license.***

The JJ Keller book you are given to work on is initially used to teach you hours of service (HOS) and you are given a paper logbook as well. You track your training and driving in the logbook as you would if you were really driving for work. This is done so you become familiar with how to use paper logs if the ELD goes down. They used to incorporate this with phase 2 training but DOT said this was a no-no (running two logs basically). You are given the first three weeks to finish the JJ Keller book and all quizzes. Personally I recommend finishing the book your first week by the end of Sunday night. You're going to be tired and sick of new information by the end of everyday, so suffer at the start and ease the pressure on you later on as your driving test approaches. Both the JJ Keller book and the logbook have to be completed and Roehl will stay on your @ss about them, but neither are graded in any matter in the end and the logbooks go into the round file (trash) at graduation. The JJ Keller helps prepare you for the midterm and final tests (computer based in "blackboard") that you take and 2nd and 3rd week, respectively, if you go to Fox Valley. The midterm and final can be completed early as well once you get access to blackboard at Fox Valley.

Day 2 (January 2nd - Wednesday) we had some more presentation stuff and paperwork since we had to wait on one student who did not make it to class on Monday due to Greyhound delaying. The class of 12 students was then split, with 6 of us going to Fox Valley and 6 staying at the Roehl terminal. It sounds like there is tons of paperwork, but it really isn't that much. A lot of it is done on tenstreet so each student has to go sit on the computer to verify and input info and badge pictures have to be taken for everyone as well. Additionally, the CRT is done one person at a time, so really there is a lot of sitting and working on the JJ Keller book. Anyway, students with no vehicles tagged along with those who did have vehicles to go to Fox Valley. From that point on, those of us attending Fox valley reported to the school everyday at 6:30am and were released at 5:30pm.

***Another thing to note for students attending Fox Valley. Their work schedule does not match Roehl's, so you sit in a room from 6:30 to 7, and then sit from usually 4pm (give or take) until 5:30pm at the end of everyday. Yes, this sucks and people complain to no avail. In the morning you can at least make the time go faster by pretripping the truck.***

There was some additional Fox Valley paperwork on this day and then we went with Terry (Part-timer with Roehl who has been with them forever and is a great guy) to the simulator room. Fox Valley has two simulators, one with screens that surround you to replicate driving a truck and one that is basically just a basic simulator to familiarize you with shifting. We did both and used the more realistic simulator to practice turns with a trailer.

The following day we were split into groups of 3. One group spent the morning watching backing videos, receiving tutorials on mirror adjustment and other driving tips, as well as driving and backing in the simulator with Terry. The second group went out to the truck with a trainer (Vinny in our case) to practice driving and shifting in an actual truck. In the afternoon the groups switched. Trainers operate differently sometimes on the first day. Some prefer to have students bobtail to practice shifting prior to hooking a trailer, Vinny did not, so we drove with a trailer from the start.

continued....

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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My journey to Roehl

Very nice! I just noticed this thread ^,^

Thanks for the shout-out, I hope my experience helped, and I hope what Aubrey contributes here can be a benefit to many more. I am now a solo driver in the Flatbed division! On my first load cross country right now. Going to do a 34-hour and deliver on Thursday (unless I am told I can drop off early ^,^).

Cheers!

-Professor X

Awesome, and yes, reading your posts solidified my choice with Roehl. Just finished up phase 1last week and am moving onto phase 2. Hopefully I'll hook up with a trainer before the end of the week. Shawn B. already posted the gist of what goes on where I was trained at the Appleton location so there won't be much for me to add.

Posted:  10 months ago

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My journey to Roehl

AFTER THE PHYSICAL

After you pass the physical, you go back to SOS and get your actual CLP.

After getting your CLP you upload everything to the "tenstreet" website for Roehl.

You'll upload the front and back of your CLP, your medical certification card, and your medical long form.

This gets you to the job offer point.

Roehl then sends you a job offer, telling you again about the $7000 obligation you're stepping into as well as setting a start date for school, work division, and pay rate (37.5 cpm for regional, 38.5 cpm for national; plus fuel bonus, hazmat bonus, safety bonus, etc). You also get paperwork thereafter for releases allowing them to check on your credit history, residence history, work history, etc.. They will also clarify or ask for any missing information up to this point. For example, they were missing some of my work history dates. As far as dates, you're initially asked for month, day, and year, but on the confirmation sheets I received it was only month and year listed. Regardless, I'd say know the days as well.

That's as far as I am at the moment. I'm scheduled to start on the 31st. I can't guarantee I'll post during the actual training, but I'll continue with this after for sure. Warning, it'll be bland, to the point, stating what went on in training and not my take on any person, trainer, personal freak outs, failures, or successes. I'm writing this strictly for informational purposes about the program and what it takes to enter and pass through it.

Posted:  10 months ago

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My journey to Roehl

THE APPLICATION PROCESS

This is the application process I wen through for Roehl.

There was a general (basically an interest questionnaire and info process) on Roehl's website.

After filling out the form on their website I was contacted by a recruiter who asked for further information.

After this point there is a series of calls and emails between you and the recruiter to gather information such as: work history for the past three years, residence history for the past three years, current job, current residence, how you found out about Roehl, why you want to work for Roehl, Why you want to be a trucker, and when you can start school. (Roehl starts new schools/classes every Monday). You'll also be asked to provide three personal references via email at this time. The references can be family, friends, co-workers, etc. and must be provided before a scheduled phone interview that is the next step if you have already tested for your CLP.

If you have not tested for your CLP, then this is your next hurdle.

If you already have tested for your CLP then a date is set for your phone interview. The phone interview further talks about your work history, interest in becoming a trucker, path to Roehl, etc.. Breaks in work history or any other red flags that pop up are talked about at this time as well. You are selling yourself to the recruiter at this time and trying to convince them you are worth taking a risk on and hiring.

*NOTE* DO NOT PAY FOR YOUR MEDICAL CERTIFICATION PHYSICAL -- Roehl will schedule and pay for your medical exam to obtain your CLP after a successful phone interview. Personally, I took my CDL exam as well as endorsements prior to applying to Roehl and passed everything but did not get my CLP because I had no medical certification. After a successful phone interview with the Roehl recruiter, I was scheduled for a physical....paid for and scheduled by Roehl.

THE PHYSICAL - The biggies that you need to be ready for for the physical are: blood pressure = less than 140/90, no sugar/diabetes issues, no red/green color blindness, vision at least 20/40 corrected or uncorrected. Additionally, you must hear a forced whisper in both ears from 5 feet away, extend your arms outward to the sides, extend arms outward in front of you-close your eyes-touch your nose with either hand, extend your fingers, make a fist with both hands, raise both hands and push with your forearms, squat, stand on your tippy-toes, be checked for hernias, checked for breathing issues, have ears, mouth, and pupils checked, and bend over to touch or try to touch your toes.

For the blood pressure, you can be tested up to three times. First is sitting normally. If you're high, they will test again in the same position after you've been there a while (to calm down). If you're still high, they will have you lay down for a period and then take your blood pressure. "White Coat Syndrome" is common and was spoken about in a post on here yesterday...basically, a person gets stressed about being at the doctor's for a physical and their blood pressure shoots up. This is known to medical staff and is why you get three goes at it. Learn to breath and relax.

Roehl also requires both a urine and hair sample drug test.

You pass the physical (not counting drug tests at this point) and you get your medical certificate and long form. You can get a 2 year, 1 year, 6 month, and 3 month certification, mainly dependent upon your blood pressure reading. They bring you the medical certification and long form immediately after your exam.

I did not encounter this, but was aware of the issue. More and more companies, including Roehl, are looking at BMI and neck size to assess people at risk for sleep apnea. My knowledge of it is if you have a bmi that is considered obese and a neck size that measures over 17" then a doctor may require a sleep study before giving you a medical certification or may limit your certification (less than 2 year) until you complete a sleep study. Roehl requires a 2 year medical certification before you can be enrolled in school. This is different than obtaining your CLP; you can obtain your CLP with a medical certification that is less than 2 years. With Roehl, the cost of the sleep study is on you, and until you complete it, you will not be enrolled or accepted into the training program.

NEXT: AFTER PHYSICAL

Posted:  10 months ago

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My journey to Roehl

I know Professor X just did a diary on this company, but I'm adding a bit by starting from the pre-hire.

RESEARCH AND REASONING Use the following as a guide, but use it in the pursuit of your own research into this profession. I'm not advertising this as the "right way," it's just the way I did it and the things I learned along the way.

Before reading here on TT I was of the pay my own way and go to a CDL school mindset. Through reading here and personal research I changed my mind and realized trucking is a whole other world compared to what most people are used to, not just the job of trucking, but the training and hiring process nowadays. So, I started looking at paid schooling through major companies (research for yourself the more than convincing reasons on Trucking Truth of why to go through paid company training).

Despite my learning from Trucking Truth, I continue to have the CYA mindset as far as work, so I wanted no limitations from any paid schooling I attended, this greatly narrowed the fields depending on the state. I'm from Michigan, and Michigan has a manual restriction on CDL's if one does not test on a manual. I realize that most major companies are going to automatics or automateds, but many smaller companies (who run dedicated or regional routes giving drivers more home-time) buy the used trucks from major companies, or the cheaper trucks...which are manuals. You can have the manual restriction lifted at a later time by re-testing in a manual truck if you want, but in my opinion, why have to deal with re-testing!

Along the same line of reasoning, Though many schools do not require a CLP prior to beginning, I studied my butt off here on the "Trucking Truth Higher Learning CDL Training" to take the CLP tests and endorsements before starting any school or training. Just taking the CDL test (general knowledge, air brakes, and combination vehicle sections) is cheap. Endorsements tack on extra money (for your full license but not CLP), but it is only the HazMat endorsement that is somewhat pricey. I assume the cost is standard; fingerprinting and background check is $86 here in Michigan for the Hazmat. The CLP is $35. Even schools that require a CLP typically do not require endorsements. However, having the endorsements can result in a higher CPM (whether you actually use the endorsement or not), and also allow you to transport more varied loads, as a trainee as well as a solo driver.

At the same facility you get fingerprinted for the Hazmat endorsement, you can also obtain your TWIC card. The TWIC card is needed as clearance for anyone hauling intermodal from ports (or other freight from ports). The cost for fingerprinting and clearance for TWIC was $126. TWIC is not an endorsement, it is just a security clearance to enter ports; it is more akin to fast pass for traveling from the USA to Canada and vise versa. There is no written test for the TWIC or Fast Pass. As with the endorsements, the TWIC and fast pass are typically not required to enter any training school, but can increase your CPM pay, even as a rookie.

Some schools (like Roehl) require you to obtain your CLP prior to entering/being hired and some do not. Regardless, from what I've learned, if you have the time and minimal funds, just use the resources from this site to obtain your CLP. Even if the company/school you attend does not have this requirement it is a feather in your cap and you will be much farther ahead of your Schools are fast-paced and throw a lot of knowledge at you in a short time; the book learning combined with the intimidation of trying to control and safely maneuver a tractor and trailer can overwhelm many; do what you can to make it less stressful and easier on yourself.

Back to choice of schools, my decision of wanting to test on a manual transmission truck narrowed me down to Roehl and Swift. From here I'm not going to offer my reasons for choosing one company over the other because they have no bearing on success, nor offer any benefit, and excluding my reasons does not create any limitations on the individual who chooses one school over the other. I say this with one caveat, Swift (over 26,000 drivers) is by far the larger company and can certainly offer more varied and numerous types of driving accounts than Roehl (over 1900 drivers); Roehl has dry van national and regional as well as refrigerated and flatbed, but Swift (given their size and number of accounts) can offer similar and much more.

I only applied with Roehl, so don't do as I did and put all your eggs in one basket. Roehl was my first choice and I have the luxury and mindset of earning an income until being hired by an acceptable company. I still had fallback companies...Swift and Millis were my alternatives. It is far better to apply to many and have your pick of the litter.

Next: THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Posted:  10 months ago

View Topic:

New Dispatcher Blues

Keep the shiny side up and learn to roll with the flow. Sometimes I have to conscientiously remind myself of that, too.

That's the main thing. Hardest thing in the world is to go into a situation with an open mind and not prophesying based on what your experience tells you will happen. How many people in your same position would have walked away saying to themselves "this woman doesn't know her @55 from a hole in the ground about trucking?" and been in a negative mood? Instead, you looked at the positive and said she was a "stickler for detail," "no dummy," and would give her a "fair shot." A good example of how mindset can make the difference in any situation. It turned the not giving you a necessary delivery number into a "minor glitch."

Posted:  10 months ago

View Topic:

(Paper) CDL in wallet... Feels Different! Just gotta say it!

Not weird, I felt the same feeling just getting my CLP on Friday. However, temper that feeling. Personally, I don't rejoice at any state worker's struggle because I've been there and know what it's like to try and please the masses when you're only one person. Also, remember how easy it was to drop $114 for something you want to do when you walk past the Salavation army collection this time of year at the store. Taxes and socialist bs are one thing, but genuine charity or giving is another.

Sorry, you struck a nerve and it did kind of seem like you were fishing. I'm not discounting your accomplishments. Congratulations to you, but have some humility since you've found your path and don't forget others who are struggling through this life.

Posted:  10 months ago

View Topic:

Why I continue to frequent this site (aside from the wealth of information)...

In short...

POSITIVITY and HONESTY.

Everyone who posts on here regularly emanates these traits; and both are a rare commodity these days. The moderators all seem to have a good read on people as far as who is a sincere and positive influence compared to those who are just trolling, dishonest in posts or with themselves, or too negative to be reached. Lastly, there is nothing to be gained by anyone on here aside from the satisfaction of helping another person. I'm not one to often give adulation (especially on the internet), but the regulars on here are certainly deserving.

You're a good group of people, and I'm glad to have found you, even if only through electronic media.

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