Profile For Travis M.

Travis M.'s Info

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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  • Joined Us:
    4 years, 1 month ago

Travis M.'s Bio

Got my CDL in February 2019.

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Posted:  1 year, 8 months ago

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Stoopid U-turn of the day

Is that loss of control? What are the tracks in the mud leading to the front end? Just coincidence that someone else ran off the road there?

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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What I've Learned From This Pandemic

"Garbage" seems a little strong. There were places that were overwhelmed. There was an alarming upward mortality trend before precautions were put in place.

I agree the whole thing with the ship is pretty weird. Truckloads of victims and stressed out caregivers, yet they didn't take advantage of the ship to its fullest. Fake news? Bureaucracy? Lack of coordination?

It's always difficult to decide what might have been; to reconstruct a different history out of "what if". Or in this case, "what if we hadn't..."

Someone referred to the precautions of Y2K and how unnecessary it turned out to be. Similar for the virus.

All this cost. All this sacrifice. What would have happened if we had taken no preventative actions?

The infection rate and the death rate would have leveled out. But where?

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Y'all, Pray For Me

Ear buds or, better, full sized headphones.

Nowadays your phone is much smaller than your face, so it's hard to hide behind.

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Can a company driver be forced to pay for fuel?

Is that one job or two? Are the two of you the two company drivers?

If you choose to leave, be nice about it. A company owner on the edge could get vindictive.

My fiancee and I are company drivers, driving a company owned and maintained truck. The company is tiny, with only 2 power units and 2 dry van trailers.

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Y'all, Pray For Me

You might want to be more specific in your prayers.

I feel for you Old School. I will pray for an early departure from that place.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Cdl permit transfer

I would think the permit is related to your driver's license. The CDL is, as far as I know. That makes it seem that you get the permit and the CDL test in the state where your license is.

You can train anywhere you want but that would mean the test would have to be related to the state of your driver's license. Do the big companies have some arrangement?

The original question seemed to imply that Swift needed the permit to be in AZ. That makes it seem like they don't have an arrangement that crosses state lines.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Cdl permit transfer

CDL licenses transfer between a lot of states. Permits may be a different story.

Both the trainer and the examiner have to accept that out of state permit. The trainer for school or company policy. The examiner would have to follow state rules.

A call to the AZ DMV would answer the examiner part of that.

But if Swift says no for their trainer, then it doesn't matter what the state says.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Expiration of DOT physical

I don't have a problem getting it done. Just got mine renewed which is what got me thinking about it.

Mine was on January 10th. Now it's January 7th. When I scheduled it, I realized it would be hard to get the full value of the two medical I was paying for - both in time and money.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Expiration of DOT physical

Not frustrated at all. I'm not complaining. I'm not trying to change anything. Just curious as to how others schedule it. My apologies for wasting your time.

From your answer, I take it that you happily accept the fact that you renew your medical a few weeks earlier every two years. Got it.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Expiration of DOT physical

It seeems silly to me that the DOT physical expires on the date of the physical.

Does everyone avoid operating illegally and get their new exam before the expiration? This means that the expiration date will move up a few days or weeks with every renewal.

Or, do you coordinate with a vacation so that your medical does expire but you're not driving and you get it renewed before going back to work?

I know there's a grace period for providing the new medical to the DOT but does that make it legal to run without a current medical during that time? I didn't think so.

My comparison is the FAA medical period which is based on calendar months. This basically provides an entire month to renew the medical and the expiration remains the same (the end of the month).

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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What status should we use in stopped traffic?

In the replies above, there seems to be an emphasis on using the sleeper birth rather than just off duty?

I understand the value of 2 hours or more in the SB. Are you implying that there is a perception difference? I.e. the DOT reacts differently to 1 hour in the the SB while waiting at a shipper vs off duty for 1 hour while waiting?

Do they feel SB is more off duty than being off duty in the front seats.

Any difference in waiting for a phone call or knock on the door vs a specific time? I could see that. In one case, I need to be ready to go whenever they call. In the other, I could go shopping or for a walk or sleep soundly until it's time.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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My Railroad crossing violation - DISMISSED!

Rob, I really respect the way you have handled this and the way you are conveying it to us. Really nice job and great attitude!

I know I'm over thinking this but railroad crossings make me crazy. Not becuase of trains. I love trains. Its the dang gates that drive me crazy.

This is just my thought process. I'm using the word "you" but I don't mean anyone in particular - and certainly not Rob specifically.

My conclusion here is that there is no warning like a yellow traffic light and that there are some no-win situations for truckers at railroad crossings. My goal is not to releive myself or anyone else of the responsibility to be safe or to avoid hitting crossing gates. I'm just thinking this through to find the boudnaries of decision making and operation.

Here are my thoughts...

It is illegal to "drive a vehicle through, around or under" a gate that is closed, opening or closing. I pretty sure we all want to avoid that - illegal or not. There is no minimum delay for the gates. Industry standard says the gates should start down WITHIN 3 seconds. The railroad has a vested interest to get those gates down as fast as possible. They must be fully down before the train arrives at the crossing.

In other words, there is no equivilant to a yellow light prior to a red. There is no room for judgement. There are many crossings where proceeding once the lights start flashing - no matter how close you are - present a good chance of making contact with the gate.

Minimal chance in a passenger vehicle so most of the world is OK with this.

Not so much for a truck.

Making contact with a gate should be handled differently than a crossing violation as it has nothing to do with obstructing the tracks or being close to hitting a train. It has everything to do with timing and the tradition of crossing signals. The designed delay is to protect the train, not the gates. Again, there is no designed delay to provide room for judgement like a yellow traffic signal. Only the delay to prevent bad luck from hitting the train.

Unlike passenger vehicles, we can't just go by the signal. If the lights start flashing, you better hope that you are right at the tracks going 30mph or better and have room to move to the middle. Or, that you are clearly outside the stopping distance for your speed. Any place in between and you're in trouble. We can't go by the signals.

Signals must be triggered with at least 20 second warning before the train arrives. Could be more depending on factors surrounding the crossing - determined by the railroad, not the community - things like speed of the trains, congestion, visibility, etc. Bottom line is that you have no way to know when an approaching train could trigger the signal.

With limited visibility, the safest way to cross is to stop/look/listen to be sure there is no train in sight. Think of all the crossings on rural 55mph roads obstructed by trees. If there is a curve with obsructions, it is possible that a train is just around the corner and could trigger the signals at any time.

Did I mention that gates drive me crazy?

If there is a clear view down the tracks in both directions, then higher speeds can be used. We are probably comfortable with judging the stopping distance at various speeds. The deciding factor is really how far down the tracks can we see.

Other than wide open country, there is usually a pretty big difference looking down the tracks through trees or buildings from 300 feet out (60mph, reaction time not included) or 20 feet out (15 mph). 30mph seems to be a sweet spot - with an 80 foot stopping distance, it has the quickest time to clear the tracks. (Due to the squared relationship to speed for stopping distance)

After that decision point, we might as well go for it even if it means crashing through the gates. Better than coming to a stop on the tracks in a panic (and probably still crashing into the gate).

If you're past the decision point and the lights start flashing, step on the gas - it couldn't hurt. In court, I would say, "I approached cautiously and observed that there were no trains in sight. There must not be sufficient delay between signal and gates as I was already into the crossing when the lights started flashing."

Whereever your decision point, you should be able to see down the tracks 2/3 to 1 mile in both directions to make your decision. If you can't see that far, then I would plan to do the full stop/look/listen and hope for the best. At least if the gates made contact, you could honestly say that you did all that you could have.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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My Railroad crossing violation - DISMISSED!

Very interesting and so glad it worked out for you.

It seems that area before a crossing has very slim margin for success if you're moving.

Lights flashing before you enter the Dilemma Zone? No problem come to a stop.

Come to a full stop before crossing? Great. Just make sure no train is within 15 seconds of triggering the crossing before trying to cross.

Approaching the crossing? Your analysis shows there is going to be a speed and distance where you can't stop and you can't get across before the gates start coming down.

My guess is that there is no margin for success other than always coming to a full stop.

That would mean that every crossing without stopping is rolling the dice.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Still struggling to understand HOS

Logging the extensive post-trip as on duty seems to satisfy the regs for an inspection. The question remains why the DOT chooses to ignore the off duty pre-walk-around as falsification.

It would be nice to know if this is some sort of prearranged agreement with Prime or a general rule of thumb.

Legalities aside, we are fundamentally debating the delayed start of the 14 hour clock by 15 minutes.

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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CDL school - Kansas City area - JCCC

Friday March 15th A little late on the update... The class has been a lot of fun.

Because we had missed a few weekend days due to snow and ice, they set up special sessions for a few of us. Last week, I had both Tuesday and Thursday afternoon one on one with a truck and an instructor.

Tuesday was 3 hours of practice and Thursday was a mock test. Went through a full pretrip, all the backing maneuvers and a road test.

Mock test went well and they scheduled the real test for this past Monday.

Had more one on one time last weekend.

Passed the test on Monday.

CDL-A in hand.

We've had recruiters at almost every class. Schneider. JB Hunt. Dot Foods. Crete. And others.

It's interesting to hear how each one thinks their system and compensation is better than everyone else.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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CDL school - Kansas City area - JCCC

Monday Feb 18, 2019 Hey everyone. I started at a CDL school here in the Kansas City area and wanted to share my experiences. I don't see any other posts related to this school and it does seem to use a different approach than others so maybe this will be of some interest.

They have a dedicated class structure but I'm taking the part time version while I work full time. This class meets for 6 to 8 weeks, two week night evenings for classroom and two half weekend days for driving. E.g. Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:30 and then a half day both Saturday and Sunday. It uses the JJ Keller text for reference.

I'm not impressed by the depth of information in that book but it does provide some structure for the class. There is also online JJ Keller lessons that get assigned which have quizzes we have to pass. The online lessons are pretty good with animations, videos, pictures, e.t.c.

The CDL permit (with combo and air brakes) is a prereq as is a DOT physical, drug test and a background check. That helps the level of dedication of the people that show up. They've already committed time and money to get there and they should be employable.

We're starting week three but we're behind because of snow and ice storms. We have missed one class and one weekend day.

So far, the classes are reviewing the CDL material, pretrip and general techniques. Great discussions with the instructor. All the information available here is certainly a big help in getting ahead of the class.

Plus, we have had two recruiters visit to give us their pitch. A local flatbed company and Swift (Edwardsville).

Since we missed a class, that's only three class sessions so far plus the online lessons. The first weekend session was hands on pretrip. The other two (half days) have been backing with two students per truck per instructor.

Straight line, no problem. I seem to be equally bad in both directions for offset and parallel. I can get it in but it takes extra pullups. I've never been in a truck before but I feel OK after just two sessions. Tried the 90 yesterday for the first time. Did OK on my first attempt and then it fell apart. On my last attempt, I just pulled way up outside the boundary just to get it in the box to have some closure for the day.

I've got pretrip pretty well down and I'm comfortable with test situations. We'll start mock tests in the next week or so. They want to see good progress on backing and solid pretrip before we go out on the road. Target is usually week 4. They'll pair up people of similar skills. Some guys (all guys) in the class have driven before. Some are nervous and lost. My goal is to not be the last one on the road 😁

Safe travels... Travis

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Rainy - CPAP question

We think you may have a sleeping disorder. Here, sleep with this machine on your face so we can be sure you have a sleeping disorder!!

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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DOT "tricks" should be aware of?

I see the two confused all the time in discussions. Even in training material.

Can you explain the rationale behind the kingpin rules? Is it just to ensure maneuverability?

Bridge law will never apply to a 53’ trailer.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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Youtube trucker videos

There are several popular YouTubers that show trucking in a positive perspective.

These all seem to be professionals getting the job done.

JBG Travels Long Haul Larry Trucker Josh Trucker Ray (Life on the road with Yeshua) Big Rig Travels Super Trucker Dan Dale Clay Indiana Jack (is still posting but now works in the office)

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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GPS issues

I'm confused. Your first post was around 7 hours ago as I write this. That would be around 10:30am central time.

Your last post was 3 hours ago. That would be 2:30pm central time.

So, between 10:30 and 2:30, you were able to return the Garmin, get a full refund and buy a new Rand McNally?

I know it's too late now but there is a user setting to select whether you want to use Foursquare or not.

On the other hand, a factory reset should not have removed the maps. Maybe there was something seriously wrong with that unit.

Glad you got something going!!

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