Profile For Pacific Pearl

Pacific Pearl's Info

  • Location:
    Seattle, WA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 11 months ago

Pacific Pearl's Bio

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Posted:  1 day ago

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Mega Carrier- Best Insurance and benefits?

First, a history lesson. There used to be a lot more variety in insurance plans - some were better than others but most were affordable. Then, the government decided that wasn't, "fair" and busted in like the Kool-aid man. Good plans - with low premiums and deductibles were declared, "Cadillac plans" and taxed to extinction. The plans that were left required thousands more in premiums and huge deductibles to cover all the folks that got, "free" insurance from the scheme. I personally went from a plan that cost me ~$40/mo with a $100 annual deductible to one that costs ~$60/wk with a $4,500 annual deductible!

One exemption was made from this scheme - union health plans. ABF insurance (health, dental, and vision) is all provided at no cost for you, your spouse or your children. This is not cheap insurance. It is Blue Cross for health. YRC offers insurance at no cost for the driver. Details vary by terminal (and their union contract), but co-pays, office visits and prescriptions are generally under $20 on these plans. I'm not aware of any union OTR company that trains new drivers but ABF and YRC (LTL companies) do and your insurance is included with your union dues.

Posted:  5 days, 8 hours ago

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Autonomous trucks outpacing self-driving cars, will come to market sooner

Yeah, tell me a story. Lane departure? Adaptive cruise control? None of the automated systems on my 2021 Freightliner work like they claim to. Every time the truck in front of me exits the freeway and slows while it's on the exit ramp my ACC slams the brakes on because it thinks I'm getting too close. It can't figure out that I'd have to leave the freeway, take my truck off-road at 70 mph and execute an almost 90 degree turn while keeping the truck upright to be in any danger of hitting the other truck. (Kids, don't try this at home).

When I could use a little help, say driving through a snowstorm in Nebraska at night, my dashboard starts lighting up like a Christmas tree as one by one all these gizmos go offline when their sensors start icing over. No mention of how these trucks are going to fuel themselves, throw iron, perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections or know when to shut down because the weather it too bad. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the trucks to start driving themselves.

Posted:  5 days, 10 hours ago

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Ordained Minister and Trucking

I see Less Than Truckload (LTL) in your future. Starts at $17.50/hr. while they train you to get your CDL then goes to the Teamster's pay scale once you have your CDL. As a linehaul driver you will usually drive nights to deliver trailers to nearby cities then haul other trailers back to Columbus. You'll have days and weekends off (usually finish your week Saturday morning and start on Monday evening). You'll have to start on the extra board filling in for other drivers who call in sick or take vacation days but after a while you'll have enough seniority to bid on a regular run on your own. You will have to declare your work hours against your 70 hour clock (will be explained in CDL Academy).

Lucky you, they're hiring drivers in Columbus:

Linehaul Driver CDL Academy

Posted:  5 days, 10 hours ago

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Ordained Minister and Trucking

The Lord works in mysterious ways. What city are you closest to?

Posted:  5 days, 21 hours ago

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Finally completed the easy part.

Dedicated is my jam. It's an excellent choice. Here's what I like about it.

1. Hometime? I don't need no stinking hometime - I get three-day weekends! (Every other week, the other weekends are two days). 2. Waiting for a load? Nah, I have a loaded trailer waiting for me at the terminal every Monday at 1 pm. When I reach the DC at my destination another loaded trailer is waiting for me. 3. Ease of maintenance. If something isn't right on your pre-trip it gets fixed on the spot since you're already at the DC. You don't have to find the Freightliner dealership in an unfamiliar city and check into a hotel. If they can't fix it you move into a new truck for the trip. 4. Worried about not getting enough miles? I get paid by the hour. 5. Receivers are a whole different story. Rude, difficult or time wasting receivers are a thing of the past. The employees at the DC work for the same company I do. They value my time because I get paid the same whether I'm driving the truck or waiting on them - they get penalties for making me wait. 6. The equipment is well maintained. Since the fleet only goes back and forth between the same company's DC's there are no trailers that are parked in remote locations and forgotten about until some poor driver draws the short straw and finds the only empty trailer available is full of pallets, is missing a tail light and has a flat tire then has to spend half a day (unpaid) getting it road-legal again. 7. None of the uncertainty/confusion of knowing if you've turned into the right place. It's the same destination every week.

The name of the game in Dedicated is CONSISTENCY. The carriers want to know that you will be able to perform week after week without issues so they want to see that a new hire can manage the responsibility with minimal adult supervision. My carrier won't hire new drivers straight out of school. I would say the worst parts of the job are the seniority and repetition. Like all great driving jobs the most senior employees get first choice of runs and new hires get what's left. The entry-level runs tend to pay less or require more skill (ie. driving over I-80 in Wyoming every week in the Winter). Your gig may vary. I drive across several states every week so it's not the same as driving back and forth between Portland and Seattle. Still, I know every truck stop on my route and what my restaurant choices are without looking. Several times a year I'm asked to fill in for other drivers on different routes so I get some variety.

I would say if you are fortunate enough to be offered a dedicated opportunity to jump on it and make it squeal like a pig.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Association launches to take CDL driver training to high school students

Unfortunately, common sense isn't that common anymore - the lawyers have hunted it to extinction.

Most adults could figure out if an 18 year old was mature enough to handle that kind of responsibility after spending some time with them. In today's world the ones that weren't ready won't just quietly wait until they turn 21 then try again. They will lawyer up and sue you for age discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and whatever else their lawyer can fit into the court filing. It would be cheaper to let them wreck a truck and buy a new one than to pay the legal fees to defend yourself.

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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Do owners get drug tested?

Yes, no, and maybe. The rule for the Federal regs are:

1. Do you operate a truck or bus: a) with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 or more lbs.? b) designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver)? c) of any size that transports hazardous materials which the vehicle is placarded? 2. Do you need to hold a CDL in the United States or a similar license issued in Mexico or Canada?

If you answer, "yes" to any part of 1 and question 2 above you are subject to DOT-FMCSA drug and alcohol regs. Your state may have their own requirements as well. What state/states do you plan on operating in? Your trailer would need to be rated for less than 10,001 lbs GVW as well.

To meet your requirements your business model may not be financially viable. Bear in mind, a Toyota Highlander weighs 6,000 lbs by itself. There are several heavier vehicles than the Highlander, but most SUV's are in that ballpark. You would only be able to pull one SUV at a time! A lot of hot shots have a hard enough time finding enough loads to keep the wheels turning without those restrictions.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

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Finally completed the easy part.

It seems like since covid is easing, applicants are soaring.

Nah, it only seems that way. Trust me, things will look a lot different after you get your first job.

While some of the folks where laid off or otherwise idled did spend their free government money on training to get a better job, a lot more drivers retired sooner than planned because they were in a high-risk category for death by Covid. For almost a year truck driving schools and DMV offices were shut down and still have reduced capacity in many locations. I recently got my medical certificate renewed. On the day the new certificate was issued I emailed an image of it to the DMV and the doctor faxed it in. Good thing I got it done early because it took the WA DMV more than 30 days to log it!

With the promise of vaccines ending the Covid threat freight rates are booming and won't be coming down again any time soon. There's still a driver shortage and will be for the foreseeable future.

Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Pilot

Is it possible to take a shower at least a few times a week?

It's possible to shower every day! It's a question of priorities and preparation. I have a heated shower in my truck:

https://www.rei.com/product/167941/geyser-systems-portable-shower-with-heater

Just stand in a storage tote from Costco while bathing (get the rubbery one, the hard plastic ones crack and break too easily). When you're done, dump the water out and let it dry out on top of your bunk. Store the shower unit inside the tote with clean towels and toss it under your bunk when not in use. Not my everyday option but 10,000% better than wipes or going without when truck stop showers aren't available.

My truck also has cable (not satellite), wi-fi, fridge, freezer and microwave.

Posted:  2 weeks, 2 days ago

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Just wanted to say hi

Linehaul Driver CDL Academy

Pays $18/hr while you're in CDL training. Goes up once you get your CDL.

Teamster insurance - Company paid medical. dental and vision for the whole family. Doctor visits and co-pays are usually under $25. Details vary by location (depends what union contract your terminal is operating under).

TT Review of YRC

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Just wanted to say hi

What city are you closest to?

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Medical card help

Question: Should I go to a different examiner? Do I have a time limit before they downgrade license? Also will it catch up with me if I see and get certified by a different examiner?

The problem with a different examiner is the signature block on the MCSA-5875 (Medical Examination Report Form):

"I certify that the above information is accurate and complete. I understand that inaccurate, false or missing information may invalidate the examination and my Medical Examiner’s Certificate, that submission of fraudulent or intentionally false information is a violation of 49 CFR 390.35, and that submission of fraudulent or intentionally false information may subject me to civil or criminal penalties under 49 CFR 390.37 and 49 CFR 386 Appendices A and B"

Your best bet is to avoid a downgrade is to switch your CDL to an intrastate CDL. Intrastate only lets you run legally in SC but doesn't require a valid medical certificate so won't be downgraded. You can switch back to an Interstate CDL when you get your medical certificate. South Carolina is pretty medieval about downgrades, "To regain the commercial designation once it has been removed, drivers will be required to apply for a commercial learner's permit and complete all required knowledge and skills testing."

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Medical card help

My question is do I have any other options or am I basically screwed?

Nah, this falls under the bubble wrap rule. No physician wants to make your condition worse so they will always defer to the safest, most conservative, no-risk option available even if it's a PITA and makes it impossible for you to do routine, necessary things like bathe or work. The ME doesn't want to override your doctor's restriction. It's safer for them to wait for your doctor to remove it. If they remove the restriction and you make your injury worse, even if it was for a completely different reason (lightning strike, snake bite, demonic possession, etc.) that doctor would be legally liable.

While you're out of luck for a CDL job for the time being you know who:

a) Would die of joy if you applied there?

b) Doesn't care about your Medical Certificate?

Box trucks, delivery vans, airport shuttles and movers all need safe, careful drivers and in most jurisdictions you can drive a 28' box truck without a CDL. Having a valid CDL will put you at the front of the line of applicants since it's proof that you drive to a higher standard than the 4-wheelers.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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People getting sent home because of drinking and drugs!

Nothing new. I went to a special company school for veterans. Every Monday the new class would UA and every Wednesday someone would be sent home for failing. One of the dorms got caught abusing the, "no alcohol policy". They were kicked out of the dorm (but not the school), forced to pay for their own lodging and commute to class from the nearest hotel 41 miles away!

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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HazMat Endorsement In Florida. TWIC Credential

Just to be clear - while the individual states get to issue the licenses and endorsements (and make their own rules) the background check is a Federal requirement. As such, the Feds make the rules. Individual states don't get to decide what background checks they will accept, nor perform their own background checks.

The change in the rules is relatively new (April 15, 2020). I'm guessing that for the Florida DMV updating their website during a pandemic is a low priority.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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HazMat Endorsement In Florida. TWIC Credential

Per TSA:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that holders of Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs) are no longer required to submit duplicative biographic and biometric information – and fees – to TSA when these drivers are applying for a state-administered hazmat endorsement.

Full announcement:

https://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/tsa-191230-3_4.1attachment_for_1978_exemption.pdf

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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First at fault accident

I'm confused. As I read your description she hit the side of your trailer. While backing up in traffic is NEVER a good idea (BAD driver, BAD! - had to say it) she hit a large, slow moving object that wasn't moving towards her. Have you had a chance to look over your trailer for damage to your tires, scratched paint, missing DOT tape or any other signs of impact? I get why you wouldn't necessarily feel it, I don't understand how you're, "at fault". Besides, "at fault" is the 4-wheeler standard. For professional drivers the standard is, "preventable".

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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CDL past records rules

WOW - that's TWO hard strikes. Are sure he hasn't been pulled over doing 30 over with a full load of fentanyl and Texas State Democratic representatives in his trailer before? The one thing he has going for him is the years since his last conviction. It's not the companies who make the hiring decisions though - it's their insurance carriers. Still, there are TWO blacklists he has to go over:

Trucking Companies that hire drivers with a DUI

Trucking companies that will hire felons

While there are a handful of companies that will take no drivers with any DUI history, there are many more that have lifetime limits (ie no more than two DUI's lifetime limit.) regardless of how long ago they happened. I strongly recommend finding a company paid training program instead of paying money out of your own pocket then scrambling to find someone who will hire him. He has limited options, but he does have options.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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1099 companies

Yes, it's a HUGE red flag. It's illegal. The problem is that by the time the IRS sends a demand letter to the company they've already moved, changed their name and gotten a new DOT#. What it means for you is that the company treats you like an independent business person who is performing a service for them - like a locksmith or a painter. Workers Comp Insurance? Only if you buy it for yourself. Benefits? Only if you provide them. Tax withholding? Nope. Liability insurance to drive their truck? No, that's usually on your dime too.

1099 companies do have one unique feature - they will, "hire" drivers legitimate companies won't touch. Fail a drug screen? No problem. Speeding tickets? Yep. Accidents? Sure. A lot of their drivers shouldn't be driving a Big Wheel BUT if you have no other options, have learned your lesson and want a path to redemption as the months and years roll by until a 3rd chance company will touch you they will pay you to drive their trucks while you maintain your proficiency as a driver.

As a new driver with a clean record you shouldn't even be slowing down when you drive past them.

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