Comments By Kerry L.

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  • Kerry L.
  • Joined:
  • 4 years, 4 months ago
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Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Just getting started and already it's bad.

The truck wasn't ready at 7 pm. The shop said they would call me when the truck was ready. They never called me. HR called me at 2:30 the next afternoon telling me that the shop had called me that morning. I left at 6:30 because I was watching the trucks coming in and there was no truck being pulled in. The shop still had to do their inspection of the truck even after it got towed back in, so even if the truck had gotten there right at 6:30, it wasn't going to be ready by 7. I had been sitting out in the heat all day. I doubt you would have waited half as long as I did. Yes, TransAm is at fault for dropping the ball in communication. I wouldn't doubt if the shop had told HR that the truck was not going to be ready until 7 am, but HR misunderstood. It really wasn't a major issue, IF they had called me when the truck was ready as they said they would. There was no reason for TransAm to tell me at 4:00 that I need to wait outside at a terminal for a truck that won't be ready for 3 more hours when I live less than 45 minutes away. They knew this to be the case because I told HR this. They also obviously had my personal info, which includes address. I decided that when they called that the truck is ready, I would drive over there. It really isn't that hard a concept to understand. When the shop says, "We'll call you," that tells me that they don't want me popping my head in looking for the truck. I don't really give a damn how you feel about me. I am not affected by your opinion nor your point of view. Truthfully, you are irrelevant to me. So, saying how irritated you are and expressing all this disdain because I didn't bend over backwards to accommodate this crap company, it shows you value your own opinion too much, as it relates to other people. Yes, I know what my situation is. You seem much more upset about it than I am. Now, go find another rookie to make feel inferior and inadequate. It doesn't work with me.

Have a good day.

How is this Trans Am's fault? They told you the truck would be ready by 7pm. You didn't even wait that long, but just decided on your own to leave at 6:30pm. Then you didn't even have the gumption to at least be there when the doors opened the next morning. Stories like this annoy me-for someone whose back is against the wall, you sure aren't doing what it takes to succeed.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Just getting started and already it's bad.

Yes, there were people at orientation from all over the country. TransAm hires from anywhere east of the Rockies, I believe. They offered to put me in a motel, but for personal reasons, I chose to commute every day. Had I been staying at the hotel when this happened, nothing different would have resulted because I still would have had my car at the terminal. I would have left after sitting there waiting for several hours. It still would have been on the shop to call me when the truck was ready. They confirmed my phone number, which they had from HR, since I was a company driver at that point and assigned to that truck. If I hadn't been from around there, I would have insisted on them sending me back to the hotel via Uber until the truck was ready.

I have no desire to return to TransAm. So, I will just keep my CDL and med card active until the accidents are no longer a hindrance.

I applied at Western Express and the combination of my record and the recent accident was the reason they couldn't hire me.

As much as the situation sucks, I know that it's just the way life goes sometimes. I don't feel a victim because it is ultimately my own life decisions that are holding me back. Looks like more warehousing until Spring of next year.

Kerry, wow. I'm literally dumbfounded. Holy crap show, crayola ..type of wow.

Just wondering, had you not lived 30 minutes away, would they have put you up in a hotel/motel? Kinda would've HAD to, IMHO. Personally, I'd have gone THAT route...just so they 'know' where you are, and you are at their fingertips, 'available for dispatch' more readily. I think the convenience of the 'going home' thingy (although it was a great opportunity, I know, I get it...) might have been your downfall. I'd have let them put me up, and driven home accordingly.

I agree with Mr. Banks. Seriously, I do. Show your phone records, texts, ELD messages (if any) and EVERYTHING... including but not limited to, the empty picnic table they expected you to 'wait' at. 'Splain it away, Lucy . . . type of thing. Humble, humility, etc et al..

If all else fails, as it may, . . . . take a look into Western Express*. They sure turned out a GREAT driver, when they trained Old School. Flatbed is their forte' (or was?) but vans are just as prevalent (or almost) now, it seems.

*If you would be open to tarps and chains and bungees and straps and the like (lol) . . . I'd bet they'd welcome you quickly!

I sincerely hope you post back, and let us know what becomes of this conundrum. Man, Kerry. This is a double edged sucky sword; I'm sorry.

Best to you;

Anne

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Just getting started and already it's bad.

I was ok with it because it was my only option. I knew what it was, and I would be in a truck right now had I not basically been abandoned at the terminal.

As far as TransAm being a bad company, you don't have to take my word for it, but its reputation precedes it. I didn't want to go to TransAm and left no stone unturned in looking for another opportunity. TransAm was it. So I told myself, "you can do 6 months and you know other companies that will then give you a shot." I was willing to go out there knowing that I didn't know enough yet and basically train myself with the employee handbook.

You are absolutely right that the communication ball was dropped. That is part of why I say it is a bad company, along with the well-earned reputation. All through orientation and training, there were clear signs that communication is an issue with this company. The people in the office just lack professionalism. They themselves are not well trained, so it becomes a snowball effect. I have been around HR people a lot over the years, so it isn't hard for me to recognize those that do their jobs well from those that need more training to do their jobs well. The individuals at TransAm are not bad people.

The company's business model, from pushing lease on drivers with 0 experience in trucking to sending drivers pit solo with 0 hours of actual OTR driving, is designed to take advantage of the naivete and inexperience of new drivers. Whether intentional, as I believe, or unintentional, their business model results in drivers coming in with no experience and finding themselves married to TransAm because violations or incidents leave them with no other options. Too many of those, and TransAm cuts them loose. This type of employee relations is not unique to trucking. It is called predatory employment.

As far as my comment on TransAm wanting their drivers to have violations... They told us during orientation that they expect most of us to get a few months of experience and then move on. Based on what I observed, the company knows that they are not fully preparing new drivers to go out on the road. Their driver retention model appears to me to be creating a situation where new drivers out of school have no other option. In really makes no sense otherwise why this is the only company that doesn't have inexperienced drivers go out with a trainer before going solo.

Yes, their equipment looks great. We both know that a piece of junk can be made to look great, so that, in and of itself doesn't say much. Yes, breakdowns happen, but wouldn't it seem a bit out of the ordinary for 3 trucks in a 2 day period assigned to new drivers to breakdown? One of those trucks being a lease, so it should have been fully inspected before leasing.

Yes, they will basically give anyone with a CDL chance. Why is that? They are self-insured. The company owner settles all company claims out of pocket. For this reason, he has no insurance company to approve of new hires. They told us this in orientation.

If you fail to see how TransAm is a bad company, that is because you are reading my comments and automatically viewing it from their perspective. That's fine. TransAm's reputation as a bad company is well established and no secret in the trucking industry. I was warned about going there by people who have been in the industry for years. I had no other options, so it was either not use my CDL or make the best of 6 months at TransAm.

I fail to see how trans am is a bad company. It sounds like people dropped the ball with communication which resulted in your departure. You knew going into it the way their program works. You were ok with it then because it was your only option but now you're not ok with it? Can you elaborate by saying that trans am wants their drivers to have violations?

Trucks breakdown, that is in no way trans am fault. I can almost guarantee that a company their size is fixing equipment so its safe and roadworthy IF THE DRIVER WRITES IT UP. Sometimes even doing thorough inspections equipment will eventually breakdown. I'm typing this as I'm picking up at Tyson in Olathe KS right next to their terminal. From what I can see it looks like it's well taken care of.

You need to look at it from their point of view. They're one of the few companies willing to give those with a less than perfect record (criminal and driving). Somebody in the office clearly dropped the ball but go over their head if you need to.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Just getting started and already it's bad.

I absolutely know the accident is the bigger issue because that's what companies have told me. If it weren't for the accident, I would not have had to go to a company that I knew is not a good one. I really would rather not be a trucker than go back to TransAm. The company is really that bad.

There were 20 of us in my orientation group. All but one successfully completed the evaluation of backing maneuvers. On Monday of this week the first driver was flown out to get his truck. He was sent to the wrong location where there was a truck, but not the truck he was supposed to be recovering. The next two days, 3 drivers from my orientation group had their trucks breakdown. One of those trucks is being leased, a 2019. I am not so desperate to become a truck driver that I will put myself and others at risk to make it happen. I am more ethically sound than that. Yeah, TransAm might be willing to give me another chance, but I won't give them another chance.

So, I think my best course of action is to keep my CDL active until more time passed since that recent accident and the first accident becomes more than 5 years old. April 2021 the first accident will be 5 years old. The second accident will also be more than 3 years old, at that point. I will have 1 accident within the last 3 years and that accident being nearly a year old. I think that will open up some opportunities currently closed to me. I pretty much knew that TransAm was one shot to getting into trucking right now.

In some ways, I am glad it didn't work out. I know so little about driving a tractor trailer. I would be out there and so damn lost. I would end up with some sort of violation on my record that would have me forced to stick with TransAm. I really believe that this company intends for that to happen to new drivers. Their business model is that they will take anyone with a CDL--like Carolina Cargo used to be--because it is a self-insured company, then push their lease plan on new drivers coming in straight out of school. TransAm knows that new drivers are looking to get the experience then move on. I believe they count on a certain percentage having a couple of violations, thus preventing them from moving on. They barely showed us how to use the reefer controls. They expect new drivers to mess up on a load and then moving on is impossible because there's a blemish on one's DAC.

I am actually thankful I had that experience before getting in a truck. If they were willing to treat me with such disregard there at the terminal, I can only imagine what it is like being on the road with TransAm. I just hope this walk away doesn't set me further back than even the accidents.

The accident is more of an issue than your record. The only thing that can be suggested is apply everywhere and be honest. I know that seems like useless advice and that's what you've been doing, but it's the only advice that can be offered.

The other option is talk to TransAm and explain your side cool and calmly. Just ask for an opportunity and if you have to sit at the building all day, do that. If the Texas building doesn't want to talk then reach out to people above them and speak up.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Air Brake Test w/o chocks?

Here in Texas, doing it as you described is an auto fail. The examiners here are quite precise and specific about every part of the in-cab and air brakes test. The idea of not using chocks is an auto fail because level ground is never perfectly level. But, each state has its own way, it seems.

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You can do the trailer or the tractor one at a time. You do not do them both at the same time. Do you use 2 1/2 psi in one minute by doing them one at a time.

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Are you talking about a tractor and trailer? If so you’re only testing the tractor or the trailer at one time while the other break is set, holding you in place.

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I'll be taking my skills test at the DMV soon.

I'm renting a truck from a local school.

During a lesson, I asked the instructor if he had chocks for the air brake test.

He replied that I didn't need them.

I was wondering how it would be possible to perform the air brake test w/o chocks because everything I seen on Youtube were using them.

I don't want to make a stupid mistake or take any chance, especially with the air brake portion.

Do I just hold down the service brake before pushing in the Spring valves, wait for the pressure to stabilize, than start my 4 PSI in 1 minute test?

Does the DMV have chocks that I can use by any chance?

Please excuse my noob question...

Thanks.

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I'm talking about the airbrake test that you do for the CDL-A in cab inspection.

The static air check to see if you lose more than 4PSI/min while holding the service brakes, followed by fanning the the low air pressure warning system, and than the emergency valve pullouts.

I heard that the airbrake inspection portion of the CDL test is extremely important and if any mistake is made, it's an automatic failure.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Air Brake Test w/o chocks?

The air brake test requires chocks because both tractor and trailer brakes are released while fanning the brakes to release air pressure. Basically, there is nothing to keep the truck from rolling. This is a huge safety issue. I would be leary of being tested by that examiner.

Are you talking about a tractor and trailer? If so you’re only testing the tractor or the trailer at one time while the other break is set, holding you in place.

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I'll be taking my skills test at the DMV soon.

I'm renting a truck from a local school.

During a lesson, I asked the instructor if he had chocks for the air brake test.

He replied that I didn't need them.

I was wondering how it would be possible to perform the air brake test w/o chocks because everything I seen on Youtube were using them.

I don't want to make a stupid mistake or take any chance, especially with the air brake portion.

Do I just hold down the service brake before pushing in the Spring valves, wait for the pressure to stabilize, than start my 4 PSI in 1 minute test?

Does the DMV have chocks that I can use by any chance?

Please excuse my noob question...

Thanks.

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Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Just getting started and already it's bad.

I finally was able to complete my CDL training at the end of June after a few months of delays due to COVID-19. I had a hard time finding a company willing to give me a chance because I have a felony record (2 convictions from 2006) and a personal vehicle accident my first week of CDL school June 4th this year.

After receiving no after no, or get some experience then apply, TransAm said that they would give me a shot. I knew exactly what TransAm is going in. I knew that in the trucking industry, it is bottom of the heap pay. I was approaching it from the perspective that I make what I make now until I have the experience to move on to better pay.

I went through the orientation at TransAm. Their training is not really anything more than what I did in CDL, other than learning two new backing maneuvers. There is no going out with a trainer, no learning to drive in different states on different types of roads, highways, etc. But, I knew this, so I just thought, let's take it one day at a time and approach each situation as it comes.

I struggled early at getting the whole backing maneuver examination together at once. It was little attention-to-detail things, or getting frustrated then making stupid mistakes. But, finally got through it and completed the evaluation on the very last possible day. I was assigned a truck, which I was told was in the shop. So, as I was told, I went to check to see if my truck was ready. Shop manager told me not yet. This was at 10:00 am. At 10:50 am, I was informed that the truck would not be ready until later that afternoon. I asked to be able to go home and come back to the terminal later (35-40 min drive). HR personnel said fine and be back by a certain time.

I went home and got all my belongings together to put on my truck, preparing to stay out for several weeks, as ling as 3 months. I have no family at home, so I had a plan to stay out and make money while it's there to be made. I get back to the terminal at the time I was told. Checked with the shop, and my truck still wasn't ready. Shop manager said he had my number and would call me when the truck is ready.

At 4 pm, truck still wasn't ready, so I asked to be able to go home and come back when the truck is ready. HR manager told me no that the truck would be ready by 7 pm. I waited at the terminal until 6:30 pm, all office personnel had already left. I found out my truck was being towed back to the terminal by Kenworth where it was being worked on and that the shop would check it over before releasing to me. I thought to myself, if Kenworth is repairing something and they fix it, why is it being towed back? Prevent putting more miles on it?

I also want to mention that TransAm's terminal in Rockwall, TX has nowhere to sit down inside once they close the office. It is a bare bones terminal with an office, a shop, a shower, a transflo machine, and two tables at which to sit outside. At 6:30, after sitting outside in the Texas heat, I decided to go home and to return when they called that the truck is ready. I went to sleep and never got a call until 2:30 the next afternoon. They wanted to know where I was at. I told them I came home after waiting several hours on a truck. They claimed that I had been called earlier in the day. No one called me.

So, I drove back to the terminal because TransAm wanted their permit book back which also had the keys to the truck. I took them with me because I had every intention of returning upon being called that the truck was ready. HR wanted me to sign a voluntary resignation form. I refused because I did not resign. As far as I was concerned, I was left alone at the terminal waiting on a truck that was nowhere at the terminal. Pretty much felt like I was pushed out the door without being formally fired. Oh, I think it is important to note that there were 5 of us still being examined on that last day and all but one past the examination and were put in trucks. Most of the drivers had to fly out to various locations to get a recovery to return to one of the terminals. So, I don't think it taking me until the last day to complete the examination was the reason the company did what it did.

I really believe it was probably a matter of bad communication. Someone dropped the ball as to informing me when the truck was ready. HR probably assumed that the truck had been ready the day before and that I just walked away. So, here I am with a CDL and no experience, a background that makes it tough as it is to get any job, a relatively recent accident on my record, and now a walk away on my DAC. It pretty much feels like my truck driving career is over before it started. I applied at every single company that hires in my area that is willing to take recent graduates. TransAm was the only one to give me an orientation invitation. I downloaded the driver pulse app and filled out 30+ applications through it, calling every company after the application was submitted. So, when I say I applied at every company, I did my due diligence. From experienced truck drivers, does it sound like I am dead in the water with regard to a career as a truck driver?

Any ideas you can think of as far as places to apply, I have already tried... Craigslist, this site, another site like this one, Driver Pulse, Ziprecruiter, Indeed, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Could the passage of time make me hireable once that recent accident reaches a certain age? I also have personal vehicle accidents from 04/2016 and 10/2017.

Posted:  4 years, 4 months ago

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CRST after 3 months

I know this post originated a few years ago, but I wanted to post a comment because my circumstance relates to a small degree. I’ll begin by stating that I am a convicted felon with a sex offense from 2006. That being said, my past is just that, my past. Many of us have things we have done that were very poor decisions. This is mine that I carry with me. As to the original post, I am going to be starting my CDL training next month through a private, accredited trucking school using a government grant. I have been filling out applications inquiring about getting a pre-hire letter. CRST contacted me and is willing to provide a pre-hire letter. Recruiter said to call her when I am within a week of starting my training. She said they can do a pre-hire letter for me. With my background, I think that I am in a position that I need to take any opportunity given and run with it. If the company ends up being a poor work environment, well, I likely would have faced that in a warehouse job making far less money. I am single, no kids, good health, and enjoy traveling. I will run hard, VERY HARD, but be safe doing it. So, I think with my boyish charm, nice smile, and good attitude that I won’t have a problem finding success with CRST. After a year or two of experience, I’ll hopefully be able to find a company with a local or dedicated route and see where this journey takes me. I’d like to hear positive feedback from experienced drivers, as well as constructive criticism regarding any of my career plans. Oh, to any naysayers regarding sex offenders not being able to find trucking jobs... Not my first rodeo. I have worked in warehousing, so I know you naysayers are full of crap. Keep it moving and don’t stop to comment.

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