Profile For Mike O.

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    8 years, 5 months ago

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Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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RunHard GetPaid...NOT ANYMORE!!!

I don't understand why a person would get into this career with all the sacrifices that it entails to be lazy about it. If I'm away from my friends and family I want to make it pay. And to do that I will bust my azz, otherwise what's the point? There are plenty of jobs you can get with very little skill , be as lazy as you want and be home all the time.

ife is not a 4 course meal where you can sit there and someone serve it all to you. Life is a buffet!. You have to get off your butt, get up there and shove the fat guy out of the way to get your fair share of the mashed potatoes and fried chicken!

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Told to drive when it's obvious you're too tired.

I'm not a trucker yet (1 week of school left) but........ whatever happened to the old Smokey and the Bandit mentality of "we're gonna do what they say cant be done" attitude? Or when bandit says "of course were gonna make it! we aint never not made it yet!" Or my favorite when The Snowman says "when we say were gonna do a job ... We do a job!!!! LOL! I know I know ! Its not real and its just a cheesey 70's trucker movie and the industry isn't really like that.

But its that kick azz "I'm gonna get'er done no matter what it takes attitude" that always drew me towards this industry. Now I know we all of course have to put safety at the forefront but my attitude in this situation would be to man up, get the job done and beg dispatch to keep me rollin!

Let me ask you experienced guys a question keeping in mind I have zero experience yet. Im I wrong in thinking that dispatch made him take a 2nd 10 hour after a 20 min run and then gave him another short load after that because this guy has been a pain in the azz in the past?

Would it be wrong of me to call dispatch and beg to get that load in earlier in the hopes to get another load even sooner? What I mean is if I can get things done ahead of time everytime, doesn't that possibly set me up for a small chance to squeeze one more load in that week? Meaning a small chance for a little extra cash to take the Misses out for a cheeseburger and milkshake and the next home visit?

Or Im wrong and it doesn't work that way?

I mean for gods sakes would he really have been in trouble if he was THAT tired to call dispatch and tell them " Hey I need to pull off and take 45 minute snoozer, but then I'm getting the load delivered" I cant believe a company would be that unresonable with that? or would they?

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Blind siding it...

I have to say as a guy that's just halfway thru school and have only been backing for about 3-4 days. I sorta agree. I blind side about the same. But I for the most part suck at both still.. I see improvement in myself everyday so maybe the one will start to be easier faster. Watching other students progress thru the class is fascinating to me Everyone has at this point has 1 thing they struggle with more then the rest. Some its left side offset, others its ally dock, others its blindside offset. Some its shifting. And in my class some just struggle with speaking English. Except for 1 stand out in our class. This kid from Mexico. He's been in the US about 8 days. But he's been bumping docks in Tijuana since he was 9 years old for 3 bucks a day. His English is broken, but his blindside backs are flawless.

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Trucking School. One poor saps perspective.

Sorry for the bad punctuation everyone. This forum has no edit feature and lets be honest, I was warehoused for 12 years in a inner city public school so I'm lucky to just be alive much less be able to read or write.

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Trucking School. One poor saps perspective.

Weekend 5 is in the books. With a little hindsight it has occurred to me what is going on. It has been described to me in the past that in Marine Corp boot camp, the way they train is to first break you down in order to build you back up. That's exactly what is happening here. The first range weekend was filled with frustration, tears and a demoralizing test of manhood. When you show up on the second weekend of range days the instructors immediately brag about whose Youtube videos from last weekends comedy backing show is getting the most views. But after that its straight to work and right to the range for everyone.

Like I said before our class is set up in stations, 1 pretrip station , 2 backing stations and one old sleeper cab truck shifter truck for The Grinder 500 track. On weekend 1 everyone is anxious to get in the trucks. But on weekend 2, everyone wants to do the pretrip station. Everyone realizes its the only station where you can retain a shred of dignity.

Anyways, the trainers drag us by our leashes like a dog that's going to vet to get neutered and knows it over to the backing trucks. He gets in with you and lets you do it one last time your way just so he can tell you why you suck so bad. Once your ego has been completely removed, you can now receive instruction! You probably here people describe "it just clicks". And its true it really does. NOW don't read that wrong. You still really really suck! But NOW know why you suck! and you know how to correct it.........sorta. So now he leave you alone to do it 237 more timesbut now you almost get it each time.... almost. Then it happens. When absolutely no one including the trainer is watching... you nail it perfectly. A perfect blind side back with no line encroachment or smashed cones and not one single hot chick around to give you a wink or a thumbs up and tell you what a bad azz super trucker you are! So now the trainer comes back to watch you do it again and you screw it up 27 more times before you complete it again once....and poorly.

So at this point now that your leg is sore from clutching all day, another instructor grabs and says "lets go, we're heading out on the road" you laugh and say that's funny. But he's serious. This time with a short trailer. So after you run to the bathroom to take a whiz before you go(read puke here) you are saddled up and down the road! So far so good, a little quite in town driving doing some practice shifting and making sure your not taking out street signs around corners he says the unthinkable........."take a left here onto the freeway" and you do it. SO! up until this point I know Ive made this all sound sort of negative. But this moment right here is where it will most likely all change for you. Once you start heading down the on ramp, grind yourself all the way up to 10th gear and slowly and successfully merge into traffic without killing the mini van full of sixth grades on there way to the spelling bee something happens. After you wipe a quick tear and the sweat from your brow, pull your shorts out of your crack this overwhelming feeling washes over you. HOLY CRAP "I"M DRIVING A SEMI TRUCK DOWN THE FREEWAY!!!!!!! . All the heartache from the backing range is gone and in your mind you are a bad azz super truck ready to do some illegal bootlegging all through the south with nothing but the your basset hound and you buddy running blocker from the smokeys! Its right at this moment the instructor snaps you back to reality and says " ok not bad but you need work, exit here" And back to the range you go. So that about sums up weekend 5. just repeat that each day. Whats now however becoming interesting is seeing your own small progress but also the progress others in the class. You actually do start to bond with them and start rooting for each other. I'm betting all classes are about the same. everyone sucks at first but halfway through you can see a couple guys who are basically ready to test, A couple guys that are most likely gonna kill somebody someday. And everyone else is in the middle. Don't worry. Your not going to be one of the ones that kills anyone. I'm talking about guys that actually speak almost zero English and the language barrier alone is going to have them fail. We have one stand out. Hes from Mexico and this guy has been bumping docks in Tijuana since he was 9 years old.

So that wraps up weekend 5. Confidence is back up slightly and theres a chance your wife will let you back in the house now this week.

One thing that has stuck with me since that our classroom instructor the rubber duck said to us. "once you pass this class and your DMV road test, don't kid yourself.......your still a terrible driver and don't ever forget it" He could have been a motivational speaker in-between making 70's trucker movies. But I get what he meant. Don't ever get complacent. Always try to improve stay safe. Oh and stay away from the lizards in west Memphis....

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Trucking School. One poor saps perspective.

Weekend 4. Our first on the range. Confidence and emotions are high. I'm pretty sure saw a few "high fives" and maybe 1 or 2 "chest bumps" as we were walking out there. I'll start by saying our school range is set up in stations. 2 backing stations. 1 pretrip station and one bobtail sleeper truck that's for shifting.

First they start us all out one at a time in the shifter truck station. We all make 1 or 2 laps around the range with the instructor slow shifting up and down just to make sure we get the concept. We all go around twice and its clear we are all at basically the same level. We Suck. I like to call it "The Grinder 500" You go around range making only left turns 500 times at 5mph shifting up and down through the first 5 gears. Its like slow motion NASCAR for inept truckers.

Those that pick up the shifting right away (and by right away I mean you didn't kill anyone yet, send an instructor through the windshield or send the truck flying into swamp behind the range) He moves you into the first backing station. Just straight line backing. NOW here is where they separate the people who cant back from the people who REALLY cant back. For those of you who have been backing trailers for your whole life behind your pickup truck I say this to you...... HA HA! Forget everything you think you know. At this very moment in time your manhood will be tested like never before. I have another post in this section called "humbled and frustrated already" read through it and read Bretts article about The backing range, clown soup for the soul. It will describe it perfectly.

Now the instructors move those who really cant back into another station. Offset backing. Here is where you have to look over both shoulders before you get into the truck to make sure there aren't any hot chicks watching you. Once in the truck you are not allowed any food or drink other than bottled water. The bottled water isn't really for your thirst, its mainly to wash away the tears and frustration. . The instructor will show 1 time just to prove to you that it actually can be done then he leaves you along to do it by yourself and let you screw it up about 237 times in front of the whole class. Here is the spot in the day where your start to see more grown men get frustrated and throw tantrums. At this point on day one you will receive no further instruction from the instructors. You are left to rotate through the stations all on your and continuously do everything incorrectly. The instructors spend the rest of the day taking cell phone video of you for youtube and text pictures to your wife and girlfriend of what and idiot you look like.

Day 2 of weekend 4 is more rotating you through the stations with little to no instruction just to make sure every reaches a certain point where the snap and scream F word into the dash because they either keep turning the wheel the wrong way or overcorrecting or have just completely given up on ever learning how to downshift. The only other thing the instructors add on Sunday is they take 4 of you at time in a bobtail sleeper cab into a quite industrial area so they can add the fear of killing a pedestrian into the mix. Again purely they are sizing you up but really they are jut out for some laughs and to kill time cause they are a little mad they got stuck with the weekend shift.

So you go home on weekend 4 after your first 2 range days broken, a severely bruised ego. And a wet shirt from wiping tears on it all day. Cancel any plans you had to make love to your wife in the next few nights. Making love is for winners, and that is clearly not you. Besides she is probably to bust facebook messaging you cute truck driving instructor that was texting her all day

You also look through all your paperwork to see at what week you could quit and still get a partial refund

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Trucking School. One poor saps perspective.

So I'm gonna try an chronicle my trip through trucking school here. But I'm going to do it a bit different then others have. I believe all these "3 week cdl mills" are generally the same as far as procedure and so forth. So I'm not going to describe every single detail that happens like where the bathrooms were, what we ate for lunch and so on. . More of a big picture type description. I want to document it for the new guy that hasn't started yet and is a bit nervous as to what to expect, how its gonna go and how he/she is going to feel going through the process. HOWEVER I'm gonna try and inject some humor and sarcasm along the way, so if you are easily offended or have no sense of humor, this might not be the post for you.

So here we go. First I'm enrolled in a school that has a weekend class for those that still work during the week so I'm gonna break it down basically by the weekend/s Ours is going to be about 8-9 weekends long

The first three weekends are all classroom. We met out classroom instructor. This guy is "The Bandit", "The Snowman" and "The Rubber Duck" all rolled into one. He looks like a cross between Merle Haggert, Richard Petty, and Grizzly Adams. VERY VERY nice and knowledgeable man. He walks with a limp due to "truckers hip". His left arm is visibly tanner then the right due to hanging it out the window for the last 35 years and his face has a map of the USA etched into it. Clearly this guy was a Pirate in a former life and you immediately respect him when he walks in the room even thought you aren't sure why?

I wont bore you with all the classroom stuff but for us its was basically 3 weekends of reading the book chapters and taking practice quizzes. That was rotated by listening to war stories from our instructor the old sea captain and sitting quietly while he swore at the computer trying to get the power point presentations to work. He had some great stories most of which I'm sure were a lie and he always prefaced the with "don't do this when you get your license" His best story was when him and a buddy were offered $80000 to run a load of Coors beer from Georgia to Texarkana TX in 28 hours! They got into all sort of hijinks! (just kidding he didn't tell that story)

Anyway back on topic. Just read the book chapters twice, take the quizzes and you will be fine. Don't over think it. If you have done the High Road CDL training program here you will be fine. Keep in mind they will give you about 5 times more info then you will really need for the DMV exams. The DMV exams aren't tricky just take your time. If you're like me and have a 7th grade reading and comprehension level and you can tell the difference between red and green you will be fine.

So once you are through the book and go to the DMV and take your permit and endorsement tests the last thing they will do is get all your pedigree info. The license, your permit, your med card, hair sample, blood urine semen and stool sample and put it all in a file with your name and your $3500 check.

Now we part ways with the classroom instructor. We shake his hand, he gives us a "big 10-4" jumps in his Trans Am and squeals away into the horizon

At this point they now wipe the drool off your mouth, grab you by the ankles, smack your bare butt and send you out to the range.

We go home anticipating weekend 4 . Our first on the range. Confidence and emotions are high!

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Humbled and frustrated already!

Im not exaggerating when I tell you this article could not possibly be more spot on to what you experience on the backing range! Good luck

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It's a look at what you guys are going through from the eyes of an experienced driver. Because to us, The Backing Range At Trucking Driving School Is Like Clown Soup For The Soul. You'll enjoy that.

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If you are looking for a "how to" that's not here. If you want some good, sincere advice and some serious laughter, this is the place. I got some real belly laughs at the expense of my future foolish looking self. Very good, Brett. Thanks again for saying just the kind of stuff we all need to hear.

Jopa

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Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Humbled and frustrated already!

Brett, I had not seen that article until just now. You cant believe how much better it made me feel! You could not have described the situation more perfectly. I actually think I now know why the instructors seemed so unhelpful the first day. 2 reasons. 1st, I bet its hilarious to watch grown men screw up and get mad over and over again and lose their cool (why waste some good laughs) and 2nd they probably figure by letting us try it own way incorrectly over and over that by day 2 we will be begging for their help once our egos are completely demolished!

It was interesting to see the guys who had never even seen a trailer before pick it up quicker. It defiantly seems the more you think you know the worse off you will be. Just like shifting. The instructor even mentioned that the guys who drive manual cars are much harder to teach shifting.

Thanks for the words of encouragement

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Humbled and frustrated already!

Thanks, And you are correct. I'm sure i'm way way over steering. And once I make the mistake early on in the attempt its already to late to correct and I get frustrated And like I said I didn't think I was going into it really overconfident but even after even the first 3 try's failing to do an offset, Im definitely NOT confident now. It seems like A guy may be able to pick it up faster if he had never backed a trailer in his life. L It was very humbling.

I haven't ever seen you back up, but judging from your history I can guarantee you that your problem is most likely over-steering. Remember, when you're backing up a 53' trailer that it responds better to small adjustments/corrections. What I mean by that is, you shouldn't turn the steering wheel all the way to the right or left. You'll end up in a jackknifed position if you do that.

If you're backing up a boat you can steer hard to the left and right, whatever you want. But the car has such amazing steering capabilities that you can easily correct it. Not a truck, if you steer to hard you'll end up in a position where you're almost an 'L' shaped. If you've done that then it's too late. You need to always keep control of the trailer.

So my advice, the next time you're out on the yard make sure to not turn the steering wheel hard. You can honestly do an alley dock not turning the wheel more than 1/2 steering revolution.

That's the mistake I made in school. I started off with a hard left, then hard right, then hard left... Then its so lost and confused I would just reset myself after that failure.

Also, give it time. No offense, but Class B is kindergarden easy and everything you've driven in the past with that B license is too. So just because you had a B license does not give you an advantage or make you better than the average guy coming in. So I would shift your mindset from "I had a Class B and I drove this and that and that and this" to "I'm a rookie and completely new to this world so I'll proceed as a student". Don't have a chip on your shoulder, that's dangerous.

Backing is one of the toughest aspects of this job. You're only a few hours into it, it'll be about another 6 months before you're semi-comfortable with backing up. So take your time and learn.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Humbled and frustrated already!

So I started trucking school a few weeks ago. We are through all the book work and are now in the yard working on skills. Granted we have only been in the yard 2 days and I've only had about 2 hours behind the wheel myself. BUT here is my frustration . I've had a Class B for years. I drove a box truck here and there, drove a school bus on and off over the years. I have driven a pickup and backed up trailers since I was 15 years old. Boat trailers, sled trailers. Anything you can hook to a pickup in almost any situation.

When I had the chance to do offset backing for the first time in a tractor trailer, I looked like a monkey ******* a football!!! Its like I have never backed a trailer before in my life!!! Now I only got about 45 min so far to work on it but I was unsuccessful in the sleeper with the 53 foot or the day cab with a 30 foot. Hell I even struggle with straight line!(haven't even tried ally dock yet) Guys that have barely driven a car picked it up almost right away. I'm usually the guy at the boat launch laughing at others trying to back their boats in the water. Is this normal? Is it just because I have bad habits from how I would normally back? Man I sure Hope its something I can pick up? I'm a little frustrated with the first instructor. He watched my try about 20 times and screw it up every time without saying anything until I finally said to him "do you want to keep watching me screw it up? or do you have any advise?

Needless to say its very humbling for a grown man to get in one of these trucks and try to back it up the first time. Any words of advice/encouragement? Or similar stories? Defiantly need to check your ego at the door in these classes.

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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So is it just me? Or........

A recurring recommendation here is to spend some time at a truck stop and speak with the drivers you meet there . You will get insight as to the companies moving freight in your particular area .

You will also get first hand information from somebody who is currently working for these companies , not someone who failed at a company for any particular reason and feels the need to go on a web site and bad mouth the company for not kissing his royal derriere to his/her satisfaction .

You should be advised as well that while at a truck stop drivers who appear to push their name/driver # on you during the informal interview maybe searching for bonus money from your potential application to the company they work for . An honest and unbiased opinion will not involve a driver # .

Hope that helps . `S`

Thanks for the responses! I guess I wasn't talking about specific companies just the negativity online in general on the web for the whole industry . It just seems this profession as a whole has more than its fair share then any other jobs?

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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We really do care.....

Brett, some of us started trucking when there was manual steering (gives ya Popeye arms), no air ride ANYTHING, vacuum windshield wipers, jakebrake on the floor, no ac, and coffin sleepers. The up side to that kind of cave dwelling trucking ??? You could have as many log books as you could keep up with, as many cdl's from different states that you could get, and you didn't have to pay your tickets, if you could continue to sneak thru the states you got em in !! Now THAT was truckin' !!!!

This reminds me of the movies Convoy, and Smokey and the Bandit!!!

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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So is it just me? Or........

So as I sit here researching, considering and dreaming about a possible career change into trucking. (My wife says I over think and over analyze everything). All I seem to find online (aside from this site) is drivers that hate the job and the industry. Over and over I find guys that say things like .. You can't make money anymore. You are looked at like a second class citizen. ( that one doesn't bother me because I've spent the last 12 years as a realtor so most people would consider a truck driver a huge step up! lol). My company sucks It's way to much work. It's way to dangerous. One tiny mistake and your career and maybe life is over. Way to hard on the family. Not worth it mentally or financially. And no way a rookie can survive and on and on and on. It's kinda taking the wind out of my sails.

So my questions are these. Does it suck that bad? Or is it one of those things that for every 1 guy online *****ing there is 4 guys/ladies that love it and have great lives and do well financially? It just seems like this profession has way more than its fair share of negativity ? Or do truckers just have a predisposition to complain. Lol . I have tried to research a ton both online and off before making the leap but aside from this site it sounds like a bad idea for a whole host of reasons. I'm not naive, and I don't have nor want rose colored glasses going into this. I know it's hard work. It's a lifestyle and just like all jobs there ups and downs. But it's hard to find anyone that says the positives out weight the negative. I'm from a small community and only know a few drivers. But those ones I do know seem to be happy with great lives great families and seem to actually be fairly well off.

Let's be honest. None of us would probably work if we were rich! I know I wouldn't ! I actually picture myself spending my time on a beach somewhere haggling with the kid that sells beads and cigars to the tourists! ( that's a whole other topic).

So is it just me?

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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Prescribed drug question? DOT

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I mentioned before that cr england told me they had a driver on 4 zanex a day. so be up front,do what you have to do. i also find comfort in just having my baby valium on hand. you,re right just knowing they are there works as good as taking them.

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Seriously I hope that they did not say that about one of their drivers. Zanex(sp?) has a well know history of cause memory lapses in people that take it and often black out periods. Can't say i will be comfortable being around a driver that was taking that type of drug while in control of a CMV.

Xanax (Generic name: alprazolam)

If you read the link above and I had to search for it cause I was curious myself I now can firmly say I defiantly do not want to be anywhere near the driver that was taking Xanax or even a generic form of it.

While listing the side effects does not make it illegal by any means and I am not saying any of these side effects will happen but if there is a small chance of a side effect happening that is what the DOT look at. An since falling asleep behind the wheel is a major focus of the FMCSA I would think even if the DOT does not disallow it that most trucking companies insurances would not allow a hire if they thought it could cost them millions in a lawsuit.

Now with all that said I could find no where that stated Xanax disqualifies a person from driving a CMV but everything above is strictly my opinion.

Certainly would never ever consider driving on it , carrying it the truck or bringing it anywhere near trucking. I was just wondering if it would disqualify me from a company or any DOT for even having the prescription in my name even though I only take it once or twice a year for flying anxiety. This is NOT a drug I take regularly.

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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Prescribed drug question? DOT

I cant find anywhere online an answer to this question. I was prescribed Xanax (or the generic version) specifically for anxiety for flying only. I do NOT take it every day only as needed a couple times a year for flying. In fact the prescription is months and months old and hasn't been refilled. I actually don't really need it anymore even to fly.(just knowing you have it if you need it makes the difference if you hate to fly) Is this something that could hinder my DOT examine? or employment?

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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Questions from a newbie.

Any experience with Schneider's claim A guy fresh out of school can get weekly home time?

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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Questions from a newbie.

So I'm brand new to the forum, but have been lurking for a few weeks. I've been thinking about a driving career for many years. Currently I'm a Realtor about 65 miles from Minneapolis MN. I'm burning out on it and every year it gets tougher and tougher to make decent money. I'm not ready to pull the trigger on the decision quite yet but next spring is probably going to be the point where I need to make a decision. I'm married with no kids. I love every bit of the idea but my only concern is the OTR for long periods. I'm not sure I would like being away from my wife for weeks and weeks on end and I'm afraid of what it would do to my marriage? (if she was with me I would consider staying out on the road forever!)I think we would be totally fine if I was home weekly(ish) So I've always held off on making the change in careers because of that.

So with that being said it leads me to my first questions. I have been researching Schneider. It seems they promise weekly or even nightly home time even for drivers fresh out of school? Does anyone have any experience with them? Is this possible? I understand it would probably be less pay? But was wondering if they promise that and then do the old "bait and switch" once you sign up? My ultimate goal in life is to get the experience needed to get a local driving job, propane delivery, garbage, dump truck or so on but I understand no one will hire without experience so I'm trying to find the best way to get it. Every thing I read here on these forums seems to indicate that the only way a guy is going to break into this industry is to go over the road for at least a year. I'm leaning towards a private school vs. company sponsored because I'm not sure I want to commit to a company before I get my CDL. This idea of becoming a truck driver has been in the back of my mind for 20 years since I had my first job at 18 driving a cube truck around MLPS as a delivery guy.

So I'm kind of looking for direction before I make a life changing decision. Is it just a pipe dream to think there is any way I could get into the industry without being gone for weeks and weeks at a time? (not opposed to being gone 1 week at a time) And if it is a possibility, Does anyone has suggestions and where to look in the Minneapolis/St Paul Area? Companies? Schools? And So on??? Sorry for rambling on and on and I'm sure all these questions have been asked a million times here. Thanks in advance for your help.

P.S Im certainly not afraid of hard work and don't want to come across as if I'm trying to discount the importance of paying my dues to get into trucking. Or insult the guys that have busted there ass to get where they are. Just struggling with the decision.

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