Comments By Chris L

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  • Chris L
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Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Worries regarding acquiring a cdl

Brett wrote:

SoI got a little more info on that guy's situation. He's from South Carolina and he went to a school in Georgia. He can't test in Georgia, and the school won't give him another opportunity to test in South Carolina, so right now he's stuck. He graduated from school but doesn't have his CDL and isn't sure how to get it now.

I'm confused why did this guy go to CDL school in Georgia and not in his home state of South Carolina? It would have made better sense for him to go to school in South Carolina. Does South Carolina have a requirement that out of state CDL drivers transferring into the state to live have to retake the written, skills and road test again like Illinois requires?

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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My Job Search has started

Update: I talked with TMC today but I was a NoGo because of my home locations is outside of their hiring area (The farthest north in NY they will hire from is Watertown- I live 30 miles north.) I told the recruiter to keep me in mind if TMC ever adjusts their hiring area. So I moved onto checking out Roehl talked to a recruiter but they are full up with Inexperienced / CDL graduates going through training at the moment she suggested that I get a couple months experience and re-apply as an experienced driver. So I'm looking at Melton Trucking out of Tulsa I filled out their application and one of their recruiters call me within an hour after I submitted my app. I also found some old threads here on TT and the comments were positive about the company. So Melton is on my short list - I also was contacted by a recruiter from USA Truck he recommended starting out in their dry-van division and get my over the road experience and then move into their flatbed division. I have a couple more applications out - I got a Pre-hire letter from Swift, and Werner also has contacted me I plan on reaching out to them tomorrow and see what they have to offer. Also in a strange turn - back in October I took the New York State Civil Service Exam for Motor Vehicle License Examiner and I received a letter from The DMV asking if I would be interested in a position out in Buffalo (Which is surprising because I scored 85 and I was 684 on the Order of Merit List) So I sent the letter back with a copy of my resume - I doubt anything will come of it since I figure the sate probably sent out letter to everyone on the list. Well I continue on with my job search.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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My Job Search has started

LDRSHIP wrote:

Wolding also has a VA approved apprenticeship program. I know, I did it, lol.

I looked into Wolding one of the recruiter came to NTTS at the beginning of this month it peaked my interest but I am leaning towards OTR flatbed trucking.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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My Job Search has started

Coffee wrote

TMC, Schneider, Melton, US Xpress, Werner, Covenant, Maverick, Swift, USA Truck, Roehl, and CFI all have VA approved military apprenticeship programs for eligible veterans. There are other companies I’m leaving out. The benefits from these programs are paid out by the VA, not the company.

You can verify if a company is approved here: https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/onthejob_apprenticeship.asp

Thanks for the link I'm checking it out now.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

My Job Search has started

Rainy wrote:

What does a "military apprenticeship" entail? Most companies are going to give vets some sort of benefits. Prime has a 9 month contract instwad of 1 year for vets.

But Coffe, you said you are using the GI BIll right? so what are the companoea offering to vets?

Rainy When I talked to the Prime recruiter on Friday he told me that Prime was not enrolled in the "VA Apprenticeship program" and was working towards getting certified to offer the program. Prime is one of my top considerations to drive for I used to be stationed at Ft. Lenardwood every month I would make the Pilgrimage to the "Redneck Holy Land" (Bass Pro Shop....lol) I'd always drive past the Prime HQ and their big electronic billboard right on 44. It reminded me of driving down the Vegas strip! "Drive for Prime...… Steak and Lobster dinner $10.99" lol

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

My Job Search has started

Chris I’m also looking at companies with a military apprenticeship option. TMC also wouldn’t hire due to me being located in Northern Minnesota. Currently Melton Truck Lines is at the top of my list.

Although not flatbed, I’m also considering Werner as well. They seem to have a lot of different accounts as well as Canada.

Good luck with your search.

I got an email from Melton as well I plan to follow up with them on Monday.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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It's not my fault I failed

I thought I would weigh in on this because Opinions are like A** Holes everyone has one. Is truck driving school the same as Boot Camp / Basic Training? The tenants of training is: Task, Conditions, Standards (Other services insert your perspective training terminology here). The training cycle goes with the Crawl, Walk, Run phases. You don't walk into your prospective school on day 1 and the school hands you the keys to a tractor with a 53' trailer attached to it and say " Be back in Six weeks for your test". They start out with the basic introduction to the tractor and trailer, basic skills mastery and the development of on road driving. Both Basic and Boot Camp set training milestones which the recruit need to meet before progressing to the next phase Driving school is the same - master basic operating skills move onto more challenging tasks. The main intent of Basic / Boot Camp is to put "Steel on Target"! by turning civilians into Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen. Trucking school are the same by "Putting Butts in the Seat". By turning civilians into entry level professional drivers that will go forth and power the nation's economic engine. I have to echo G-Towns sentiment about former service members / Veterans washing out of school because they don't take it seriously. In the group that I started in school with there was about 6 of us fellow Veterans most of the were fresh out like a couple of months to a few years (I'm hitting my 9th year since I retired) some are taking it seriously and some are not. One guy (Veteran USAF) actually told the class the only reason he was there was to collect his VA benefits and he had not intention of going into the industry. He actually missed so much class time in the first month that the school's training director (Veteran USMC) told him that if he missed any more class time the school would notify the VA of his lack of attendance and he (USAF guy) would loose his benefits and pay back what he already received. I believe that some of my fellow young Veterans actually believe that when they graduate that they will receive the Diamond Encrusted Platinum truck that runs on Unicorn Farts and get paid $5.00 for every Half mile they drive. Some have gone into this with the attitude of "I know everything I don't need to learn anything" they will all have a rude awakening when they take the NYS Road test I can guarantee that. My back ground is a trainer I had the fortunate opportunity to train Soldiers- (U.S., Iraqi, Afghan), As a School Bus driver trainer, and retired Open Water SCUBA Instructor. I love training and teaching people but when I decided to take this path I didn't put on any airs that I knew more than the instructors at the school I went in with the attitude that I was going to wring out all the knowledge that I could from the school so I would have the best foundation on which to build on to become the best professional driver I can.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Is four weeks really enough?

I have never even seen the inside of a tractor. I've driven a manual vehicle (all my vehicles have been manual), pulled a few trailers (boats and what not, never a 5th wheel). I have my permit and understand the gist of it, but I'm nervous that four weeks of training simply isn't going to be enough to learn.

I just graduated from School this past Wednesday (I went through a 7 week course) the best advice I can give you is get everything you can out of your time at school. You will pick up the basic maneuvers quick - I'm not familiar with Texas requirements for licensing if your school road test will qualify for a state license. If you have to take an actual road test with a Texas state Motor Vehicle License Examiner make sure that you school is covering the testable items that you will need to know to pass that road test (I had to take a Skill & Road test to graduate from school and then another NYS Road test for my license). Also forget about everything you know about driving stick!!! The transmissions in the tractors are not synchronized like in your pickup I had a struggle breaking my old habits the Tachometer and Speedometer will become your best friends. Good luck with school go in with the attituded that you are going to get every bit of knowledge that this school has to offer and you will be successful.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

My Job Search has started

My job search has started I want to drive Flatbed OTR So I have started to focus on companies that will hire recent CDL grads. I filled out the quick application here on TT and I have gotten a couple of responses already. Also the placement director at NTTS had us (my classmates) fill out a generic application which he transcribed to Ten Street and I have personally applied to Swift, Werner, Prime, and Roehl. I also applied to TMC prior to starting at NTTS but I was told I was out of their hiring area ( I live 30 miles north of Watertown). I'm specifically looking at companies that participate in the Veterans Apprenticeship program. So hopefully by next week I'll have a couple of solid prospects.

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

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Hilarious

That's funny right thar I don't care who you are!

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

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I made the grade today!

'East bound and down, loaded up and truckin' We gonna do what they say can't be done We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there I'm east bound, just watch ol' bandit run' 'H/T to Jerry Reed'

As of 12:00 P.M. EST today I officially be came a proud possessor of a New York State CDL "A" drivers license! I was kind of bumming last night because I had failed my road re-test to graduate and I wasn't sure if I would take the actual NYS road test this morning. But I got to school this morning the training director sent me out with a trainer and one of the road trucks down to the test site. I passed my School road re-test and then about an hour later I passed the NYS road test. It was kind of funny when I first got into the truck the Examiner could not find my name on the test schedule so she called Albany to find out the disconnect was- got it fixed and I started the test. For my Pre-Trip I got Front of Truck, Under Hood, drivers side and the 5th wheel. I finished the under hood on the drivers side and I started to drop the hood back down and I realized that I forgot the to point out the items on the passenger side so I yanked the hood back open and checked those items. I also realized that I did not point out the suspension components so I pointed them out also and it saved me from blowing the under hood. The skills test went ok I got lucky on the Box parallel I was real crooked and I thought I was not in the box but the Examiner though otherwise. The road test went good also- I lucked out because the traffic was light for a Wednesday morning. So now next is to start looking into trucking companies to drive for, I'm leaning towards driving Flat Bed getting experience under my belt then sliding over to specialty transport. I can only say the if wasn't for my beautiful and supportive wife that kept me from totally wigging out I would be posting this today! I'm looking forward to the next adventure see you all down the Road! East Bound and Down!!!!

Posted:  3 months ago

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Offically a Gear Jammer....Well sort of!!

Update: So I'm starting my final week at school I'm schedule to finish up on Wednesday the 20th. I was kind of discouraged this past Friday I failed my 1st road test- I was starting out from a stop light and trying to shift from 3rd to 4th gear but I had inadvertently flipped up the range selector from Lo to High with my pinky (I slid my pinky under the switch when I grabbed the stick) Yah going from 3rd to 9th gear doesn't work to well. Today I got back on the road and did better I get one more opportunity to take the school road test again. I'm also getting the feel for the box parallel and getting inside the cones consistently which is one of the tested skills on the NYS CDL road test the others being straight line back and offset back. If everything goes according to plan I will graduate Wednesday morning and take my NYS road test that afternoon.

Posted:  3 months ago

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Study suggest that the ELD Mandate causes unsafe driving behavor.

I've been surprised at this study. Not so much by their conclusions, but by how quickly they came to them. The transition wasn't very well executed and there's still a lot of people fighting it. There will need to be a good many years of data to come up with a realistic idea about any safety correlation with ELDs. I honestly never realized they were attempting to improve safety. I was always under the impression it was for compliance to the rules.

And Chris, I'm very careful about information from that website. I can't spend five minutes there without it turning my stomach.

I read the article and thought it was an interesting topic to post on TT and generate discussion. I'm not real sure how this website / newsletter got my email address - I can only assume that since I'm enrolled at NTTS and follow them on Facebook. My Facebook newsfeed now has become filled with adds from different Trucking companies and I have filled out a couple of request for information for companies that I have an interest in. So my email address is out in the ether so to speak if I get allot of emails pertaining to the trucking industry now I guess it's allot better than regular spam emails I receive telling me that I'm in dire need of Male enhancement!!!!….. lol

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Study suggest that the ELD Mandate causes unsafe driving behavor.

I get an occasional email from a website called Truckers Report. The latest post has an interesting article about the ELD mandate:

According to federal regulators, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) were supposed to make roads safer. Instead, a comprehensive report on the effect of ELDs nationwide has found that unsafe driving behavior has “increased significantly” since ELD enforcement began. A team of researchers from Northeastern University and the University of Arkansas has published a report on the effect of the ELD mandate. Using inspection, violation, and crash data from the FMCSA, the researchers examined a year before the ELD mandate went into effect, three months during the “soft enforcement” period, and five months from after full enforcement went into effect Pre-ELD, truck accidents averaged 1,717 per week. That increased to 1,912 per week during the soft enforcement period, and fell again to 1,703 during full enforcement. According to the report, “there is no evidence to suggest” that ELDs helped prevent accidents. While the report does say that HOS compliance increased significantly under ELDs, it also points out the drawbacks of the rigid HOS structure. According to the report, “unsafe driving violations increased significantly.” As more drivers adopted ELDs, the number of unsafe driving violations – such as speeding – spiked. And amongst those groups who had lower levels of voluntary ELD use (such as owner-operators and small fleets), those violations increased even more. At the end of the report, the researchers claim that ELDs “unequivocally enhanced HOS compliance.” But because of that, ELDs “incentivize an increase in unsafe driving behavior, which is more tightly correlated to accident rates than hours of service violations.” As a result, the report finds that “the effect of the [ELD mandate] is that accidents actually increased by between 2,290 and 3,266 per year here is the link to the entire article https://www.thetruckersreport.com/whoops-eld-mandate-actually-increases-accidents-unsafe-driving-behavior-says-report/

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Isn't regulation a good thing?

Chris this website is about Truth and sharing relevant experience. Please carefully reread what I wrote and try to build-upon your knowledge base.

Again, the WMPF driver was not in violation of his 14, because the last log update he posted on his e-log was, “off-duty”. He was on a 34 hour reset, had several days off leading up to the accident. I know for a fact when he logged-in before he drove that night, he had a fresh 14 and a full 70.

G-Man I get where you are coming at about sharing relevant experience I totally agree. I am just referring to the information that is available to the public I only pointed out that the CBS new report stated the driver has already been "On duty" for 14 hours when the crash happened that is what they reported. I also searched for and found the NTSB New release about the crash and it stated:" The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of the accident near Cranbury, New Jersey, involving a truck, a limo van, and four other vehicles, was the truck driver’s fatigue, which resulted in his delayed braking to avoid traffic that was slowing and stopped for an active work zone. Also causal to the accident was the driver’s operation of the truck at a speed in excess of the posted limit for the work zone area. Contributing to the severity of the injuries was the fact that the passengers in the passenger compartment of the limo van were not using available seat belts and properly adjusted head restraints." also it addressed the HOS: “Hours-of-service rules cannot address what drivers do on their own time,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “This driver had been on duty 13 ½ hours of a 14-hour workday, but had been awake more than 28 hours at the time of the crash. Fatigue management programs can help.”

The NTSB report also goes on the fault the Limo company for the lack of use of available safety restraints: "The NTSB also found that the serious injuries to the occupants seated in the passenger compartment of the limo van were due in part to their failure to use available seat belts and properly adjusted head restraints. The NTSB reiterated a recommendation to the FMCSA to require operators to give pretrip safety briefings to passengers concerning the importance of safety equipment and how to exit the vehicle in an emergency." Here is the link to the NTSB news release: https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20150811.aspx

It's all about perception that the general public sees since the Media tens to sensationalize traffic crashes that involve truckers especially if there are fatalities involved. There will always is the inevitable call for more regulation and over site of the industry. I believe that incidents like this are just a small fraction of accidents / incidents that happen across the country on any given day but the Media chooses to highlight these as the adage goes "If it bleeds it leads."

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Isn't regulation a good thing?

Chris wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

The Federal mandates came about because of increasing accidents from drivers who were found to be in violation of HOS. A good example was the Wal-Mart Driver who had the accident with Comedian Tracy Morgan in New Jersey back in 2015. I found a CBS News report on Youtube stated the driver had driven from his home in Georgia to a Wal-Mart DC in Delaware before his run started and according to the report, the NTSB stated the Driver was already in violation of HOS by the time he had gotten on the road.

double-quotes-end.png

Chris I do not agree with your example supporting the e-logs mandate. Walmart Private Fleet (WMPF) has a sophisticated electronic logging system on all of their trucks that predates the new law by at least 7 years. WMPF is arguably one of the stricter carriers when it comes to driver compliance.

The Walmart driver in question violated the unenforceable law of common sense. Meaning; implied when off-duty you are to have adequate rest before reporting to work. He also lied when asked the question by his dispatcher; “are you physically able to drive?” IMO he wasn’t.

However, he did not violate any HOS law. He was off-duty, not under any dispatch. He chose to drive from a graduation party in Virginia to his Walmart GM DC in Smyrna DE. This falls outside of any HOS law and can be loosely considered a commute. When he reported for duty he started with a fresh 70/14 hour clock. This is no different than an off-duty driver, in their sleeper, gaming all night long and then being dispatched the next morning with a 12 hour day ahead of them. It happens. Short of collaring us with electronic monitors, there is no way to enforce lack of adequate rest for a person who wrongly chooses otherwise. It’s about personal and professional responsibility.

Although I am not condoning his lack of common sense or absolving him from responsibility, there is nothing any e-log system could have legally recorded that would have prevented him from driving. There is absolutely no excuse worthy of what he did. His mistake was catastrophic and had a rippling effect for all of us, especially those of us pulling Walmart branded trailers every day. We became targets for increased enforcement and elevated public scrutiny.

In the end, a driver is both responsible for getting adequate rest and ensuring they are fit to drive when called upon.

Like I said I'm a bit naïve when it comes to the trucking world and I have lot's to still learn. Of course the news report only highlights the faults and choices of the driver. One part of the report stated that the driver was already at his 14th HOS mark when the accident occurred. I guess it comes down to perception of the general public all they see is this horrible accident caused by a driver who was in violation of the HOS rule. Of course the cries came out for more regulation on the trucking industry as the old saying goes they (The Press) doesn't report on drivers doing the right thing only the wrong thing.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Isn't regulation a good thing?

I know that I am still new to this industry especially since I’m still in School so please forgive my naiveté I read the article that Brett linked to and I have a couple of questions. (Italics font is quotes from the article) “Fewer than 10% of America's 1.8 million long-haul truck drivers are unionized. And independent truck drivers, called owner-operators, are outright banned from forming unions.” Wouldn’t that be the main incentive to become a Independent Owner Operator? The driver has chosen to be “Independent” not bound to a Company or Union? "At the top of the list is the electronic-logging-device (ELD) mandate, which came into effect in December 2017. The mandate requires truckers to keep an electronic log in their cabins to ensure they don't work for more than 14 hours a day or drive more than 11, in accordance with the hours-of-service law. Many truckers have told Business Insider that the federal mandate cut down on their wages, freedom, and safety." Safety: How? The Federal mandates came about because of increasing accidents from drivers who were found to be in violation of HOS. A good example was the Wal-Mart Driver who had the accident with Comedian Tracy Morgan in New Jersey back in 2015. I found a CBS News report on Youtube stated the driver had driven from his home in Georgia to a Wal-Mart DC in Delaware before his run started and according to the report, the NTSB stated the Driver was already in violation of HOS by the time he had gotten on the road. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50_DwdTvW1c Wages: Again, I’m a bit naive in this area but don’t most OO negotiate their fees up front before picking up a load? Freedom: Again, most OO set their own hours and work schedule? "And if Black Smoke Matters succeeds, it wouldn't be the first time naysayers were proved wrong. Between 1973 and 1974, independent truck drivers organized over CB radio to shut down trucking across the US for multiple days in protest of skyrocketing oil prices. Truckers won their demands after the shutdown, and the strike gave rise to the influential Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association." I remember when I was a kid hearing on the news about an Independent Truckers Strike, I think it was in the early 80’s OOIDA: I have heard commercials on Sirius about them I assume that the organization is an advocate for Independent OO. "The ELD mandate was one of the driving forces for organizing the strike, as many truckers said the electronic log forces them to speed against the clock." As I have seen in many posts here on the TT forum most successful drivers manage their time so that they stay within the HOS limit. "One of the many consternations ELDs have brought to truckers such as Franklin is limiting parking at truck stops. Because most truckers are now working around the same time every day, they're also populating parking spots at the same time. So, many truckers aren't able to find a place to park their truck and sleep at night." To me this is a classic Supply and Demand issue Truck Stops that can will expand to meet the needs( i.e. Parking) of the Drivers they serve. The ELD mandate has only been in effect for 14 months now it will take some time for the industry to catch up. I would bet that Truck stops / Travel Plazas that are currently planed or under construction have probably taken steps to address the parking issue. The again I could be wrong. The rest of the article goes on to talk about Organized Labor and it’s decline in long haul trucking starting in the late 70’s. I’m not a fan of Unions even though I was in one while I was a School Bus driver (It was a closed shop so if I wanted to work, I had to join). I believe that Organized Labor at the national level has their own views and agendas and that might not coincide with the views and agendas of Widget Makers Local One in Stump Jumper Georgia. Case in point is political views of the National Organization do not truly reflect the views of the rank and file members. So again, my opinions goes back to the original question Independent drivers / Owner Operators are this for a reason because they want to be independent. Will there be allot of Drivers who will shut down on April 12th there might be some but I don’t think it will be allot for the simple reason OO have to keep moving so they can get paid. Hopefully I’ll be out on the road by that time so I can see how it unfold first hand (knock on wood that I pass the NYS road test at the end of February)

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Offically a Gear Jammer....Well sort of!!

So my fifth week at NTTS is in the books! I completed my 14th training drive and my shifting is getting better the Instructor complemented me on my improvement. I passed my first four field evaluations! My Off-Set backing maneuver has also improved I can get the truck and the trailer in the box when I back to the drivers (See-side) but I still have problems on the blind side getting my turn and follow- through dialed in. This coming week will be nothing but practice in the field and training rides. I haven't gotten my date for the road test but I expect to test some time in the last week of February.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Got pulled over

Good thing you were not in New York the Old Andy probably would have jumped up on your running board and give you a good scolding!!! lol

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Offically a Gear Jammer....Well sort of!!

Update: So I have so far have completed 8 road / training rides and my shifting skills have improved dramatically my shifting / double clutching has gotten smoother and my coordination is starting too sync. I have about three weeks left for my course and I am working on my skills and prepping for the New York State Road test.

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