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Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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DOT Physical and psychiatric drugs

I've been on a substantial amount of psychiatric drugs and did my physical through the same office that prescribed 90% of them. When I did my physical I went cold turkey on all of them which I really advocate against because for one withdrawals are awful and two it gets you listed as "non-compliant" and did the physical and drug screen clean. Then I had the doc prescribe the meds again after stating I now had a med card/cdl. A lot of doctors will sign off without really knowing what liability they are taking with that. At least that is my experience. Of course you're very clearly setting yourself up for a disaster civilly and possibly criminally. Some companies as stated will bar certain things. I'll go ahead and say, of the psychiatric drugs I've used, anti psychotics all make it impossible for me to even work a job like crunching numbers or bussing tables. Anti depressants typically blur my vision and make me somewhat antsy. Mood stabilizers are absolutely awful. I can't function in day to day life on them, let alone a job. Stimulants give me really bad tardive dyskinesia which require benzos to make me sleep which are almost universally banned by companies and rightfully so. Stims also make me hate driving because I can't sit still on them and want to pace around.

I don't take anything now and just deal with the mental challenges and more or less tough it out which is unhealthy as all hell but otr is extremely unhealthy in many regards anyways. If you have to be on psych drugs I'd look into something else as a career or go to driving in a govt job like public works, solid waste, or dot state projects. Pay sucks but benefits are good, great home time, and you can drive on insulin, bad heart, etc. I might end up back in the govt jobs because I'm nudging the cut off to high blood pressure and I'm pre diabetic. I might have another dot card renewal or 2 in me but I won't be driving non excempted interstate in 5-10 years.

If I may ask, what have you been formally diagnosed with and what are you prescribed? Also of major importance is if you've been baker acted before. If you've been held on 72 hour involuntary, I'd be much more concerned about getting a cdl. I've never been through the 5150 process but have been in in patient psych wards before, I've been diagnosed as schizophrenic, schizoaffective, major depressive, and also bipolar by different docs. Some also think I am autistic but they never tested me for it.

Even with all that, I breezed through the med card deal since I wasn't and still am not on meds. Prime scanned a copy of my med card with the disclosures on it and probably didn't even give it a second glance. They're really more concerned with medications than anything else and if you have a med card with no prescriptions, you're usually golden.

Be forewarned though, trucking isn't easy for most people. Compounding that with mental illness and especially anxiety is a bad recipe. Most companies team you for a while and if you're on like me, lack of sleep really exacerbates issues. Luckily I can sleep in a moving truck so it doesn't really bother me but again, you're going to need super human resilience to make it out here with anxiety and mental health problems unless you get lucky and can mesh well with the job. On the personal level for me, I'm stuck with my own thoughts endlessly which isn't really a healthy thing. I'm still in team training but even then, my thoughts are racing the whole time I'm alone and I'm sure with anxiety that isn't a good thing. Just some insights from someone out here with psychiatric illnesses. I'd suggest looking into something different first but if not, good luck. You'll need all of the luck you can get.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Yeah I'm sure it will get better for the food thing once I go solo but my trainers truck has 1 small cabinet for my stuff and no fridge or anything and he doesn't go to Walmart with his truck except for extremely rare circumstances. He's terrified of getting booted at Walmart or towed and also won't drop and lock trailers at truck stops or prime terminals to bobtail. He's pretty afraid of getting off anywhere but truck stops, customers, or prime terminals. Which leads me to another question too. He says that prime will withhold mileage payment if you route outside of qualcomm gps route. So say you take a wrong exit and don't turn around but it is only a 20-30 mile detour back to your route or there is a bad storm or traffic and you route yourself 50-100 miles around it. In this case prime would supposedly give you a hard time about getting your paycheck. I'm pretty certain this is a complete lie but figured someone here could answer that. I'm sure they don't want you wasting fuel and they won't pay you for anything more than dispatch miles but that seems not only illegal but extremely unlikely.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Interesting that they are paid on an incentive basis as well. My trainer made it sound like our FM didn't care at all if I changed divisions since I was going company anyways. There's a lot to the behind the scenes stuff I wish I had a guidebook for. The job itself isn't too bad other than the training or rather my trainer possibly. Teaming is pretty awful but the job itself and life on the road isn't really that big of a deal other than the boredom and crappy food choices, for me at least. Once I'm solo it won't be the worst job I've done by far.

My trainer finally gave up I think on me driving for him after tnt and pushing lease. He showed me his quickbooks breakdown but it was one of those, "Here are the numbers, but I'm going to scroll faster than you can read them. But you see how much I'm making!" He didn't offer to let me sit down and really analyze them. Then again his numbers are padded from training, and also having 1 driver beneath him leasing under his llc which I have no idea why someone would do that but I don't know what it entails. He was showing me payroll and he is bringing in 1900-2300 a week for 7-10 weeks at a time and then random lump sum payments of 7-8k a week. Didn't get clarification on that but by the way he moans on and on to people on the phone about selling personal items and covering tax liabilities each quarter, my BS meter stays pegged.

Not sure where the money goes with some of these people. Not trying to be judgemental but there is a weird duality I see. All these lease ops brag about taking home over 100k a year after all is said and done supposedly but then are broke and needed higher freight rates. All while supposedly living otr full time or never going home or having a family/kids/spouse. I'm not getting rich during tnt and won't being solo either but just seems strange to me. Even with 10 dollar happy meals at truck stops there isn't much of a place to spend money. With primes home time policy, I don't know why you'd pay for a place for housing and a personal vehicle if you're single like most of the people I've talked to. Just makes me wonder where it all goes. At least the area I grew up around, a company driver making ~1k a week net would be firmly middle class and not have much to worry about if they lived frugally but I suppose expenses scale with income for most people. For me personally I'd be pretty annoyed if I had a mansion and a Ferrari in the driveway but worked 24/7 for a month or two only to get to enjoy it a couple days then go back to work. Different people I suppose. I got really off topic there.

I don't know why anyone would go otr unless they enjoyed the lifestyle or were trying to go debt free and save money to pay off a house and living expenses and then get a local job. And of course the Volvo drivers trying to get citizenship in the us and bring their family over here.

Seems like a lot of people I've encountered are out here miserably shackled to materialism and debt and the only way to service it is to work their life away. I've met very, very few whole openly say they just love the lifestyle. Just some vicarious observations since we're once again sitting at a truck stop doing nothing lol. Also, since it is a diary I figured I would mention I've lost almost 20lbs since orientation about 3 months ago. I was about 205-208 starting out and just scaled in at 187 with clothes and shoes and all. I have a highly sensitive stomach so truck stop and fast food makes for rapid and rather energetic elimination of anything I eat lol. I'm also what you could call a fussy eater, I can only eat subway so many times in a week. Barring "training" and teaming and that nonsense, the food situation is the worst part of the job by far followed by the boredom in a distant second place.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Got in touch with dispatch, signed me up for flatbed but there is about a dozen person wait for trainers on flatbed. Have a feeling dispatch didn't want to sign me up probably thinking I wasn't serious. He had to go to Steve Tassin to make the request so I probably should have reached out to him to begin with. Had I known there would be a wait I'd have made the call sooner. Oh well, live and learn.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Give your FM 2 weeks notice for home time. That way they can't say they didn't have notice to get you home. Rob Dcan answer your LW vs flatbed pay. I am not sure. Remember once you finish the miles to get on your FM to get you signed up for a truck. Once they have one.... About 3 to 6 days wait.... They will bring you in for more classes. Then you inspect the truck and get any repairs or modifications done. Then you will need to get your securement equipment. Understand you buy the tarps and straps yourself that they break into payments. Then get your load and go!!! We will be here for you as you move along. Keep truckin along.

Just out of curiosity, how long does it take for a tnt student to jump ship to another division? I requested it Tuesday and it is Friday now and haven't heard anything about it other than the initial, "we'll look for a flatbed trainer." I'm going to check up Monday again when the main FM is back in but I'm a bit of a paranoid person. I don't remember if I mentioned it but I mentioned it to my tnt trainer in passing a few weeks ago and immediately he told our FM about it but I didn't know what he told them. Of course QC messages are returned to the both of us on the truck and the FM stated he'd keep me on the truck until training was over and then go to flatbed. Just wondering if I'm being jerked around or if I should be watching for my trainers FM to drag his feet. Just for reference we've been dispatched on 3 loads since the notification and are booked out until late Monday. Not to brag or anything but I've been rather painless for everyone and I keep my head down and don't complain about a lot of stuff I certainly could be *****ing about. I run my miles safely and keep to myself. I know it isn't an immediate thing but just asking if you or anyone else has input. If they force me to stay out until I'm at like 40-45k then do 30 days flatbed; I'd rather just take the paycut and interrupted hours of reefer. On the positive side, dispatch seems to have lifted the curse on us. Last week I got 3 34 hour resets in but we're finally moving good and likely to get about 4500 miles this week.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

No... He can't keep you more than 50k miles unless you are unsafe have accidents tickets or critical events.

As for home time... It really isn't his decision. Message your FM--- NOT weekend or night dispatch but your FM with a date for home time.

No.... You don't have to run 4 weeks once solo. They will want 2 weeks solo before home time. So go home before you upgrade.

Nooooooo... 4 to 6 days without a shower is not acceptable and they must have given you numbers to call to switch trainers if you like.

Yes lease sucks which is why I don't do it. Labor day has indeed reduced miles.

yes lease ops try to get good students to stay on the truck or run a separate truck.

Yes going solo can be totally worth it.

Yes you could switch to FB right now and finish your miles.

Yes if you wait they will want 30 days of FB TnT after your 50k reefer.

Thanks for the straight facts on that stuff. Knowing that I'll probably see about going flatbed around 25-30k miles. Maybe get some home time worked out around 45k. I didn't get any phone numbers or really any policy on how all that stuff works through tnt, just going off shop talk and rumors pretty much. Just seemed to be knock it out and try not to make a scene through tnt. My trainer can tell some big ones but apparently there are some folks that really make tnt difficult or don't understand what otr trucking is like. I don't know where my trainer ranks as far as difficulty and I've somewhat adjusted to being with him, as much as I can but for all I know I could swap and it be to someone far worse. Hence why I've been hesitant. I haven't rocked the boat any or even talked to dispatch aside from forgetting a macro 25 once lol. I've got some stuff to take care of from my old side business I no longer run that would be waiting at home and getting home time would be nice to finish that up too but the paperwork won't be ready for another 2 weeks. Should line up good if I can make it work out to where flatbed tnt finished about 30 days and at 50k simultaneously. I'd need to get boots and winter clothes too, I was worried I'd have to go to Thanksgiving with only a hoodie as well lol.

The full size truck in flatbedding is what is a major factor, that and the endless downtime and weird hours of reefer. I also sleep like a rock and have a hard time waking up to shipper/receiver calls. God forbid they say they'll text me. I need a deafening alarm to stir me from slumber.

Just wondering if at the end of the day if lightweight reefer and flatbed are a big difference in pay or not.

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Wow... super similar~!!!!! Uncannily so. The husband of mine actually 'needed' that refresher in '03 that I helped him study for. He had a 'bite the bullet' time, as well. He had felt like 'he' could've TAUGHT the school . . . IIRC. BUT for the pretrip, and the new regs. Here's the way his went:

My husband 'inherited' his dad's refuse/trash company, as a 'younger' lad. (I just read your post out loud, to the hubby, ..and he said 'YEP sounds like me~!') << So true. He WAS his own boss AND bus, per se.. but for his dad, until he passed. He did some H/H on the side, also. WOW.

Life was more 'lenient' in the 90's, and early 2k, so I've heard. I didn't meet hubby until almost 2000, but.. man, he had similar stuff as you to share! No endorsements, either. Had to 'do it all.'

Wish you well, man. Hang in.

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Oh yeah I've done the local trash route deal. Won't ever do that again. Trash men are a different breed of people. I remember having to tarp the back of roll off compactors with a weeks worth of garbage juice pouring out in front of you. Of all the trucks I've drove, roll offs scare me the most. That and parking next to dumping frameless end dumps at the quarry. Never could get used to pulling roll off cans onto the truck inside the cab. Outside was fine because I could see everything. Inside is nerve wracking lol. I wouldn't trade all that experience though. I was eager to learn and government workers are glad to pass off the seat time to someone else who is willing.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Yep I was driving for a local public works municipality so honestly, as long as nobody hurt anyone we could do nearly whatever we wanted. We had guys that couldn't pass the pretrip or written test on anything or drive manuals so they got an examiner to give them school bus licenses to drive on for their CDLs. No joke, we had one guy driving a hazmat fuel/lube truck after failing the cdl written test 9 times. I was one of only 5 people there that actually got a cdl the right way albeit class b. And it was a class b because insurance went up for them for class a drivers.

Funny how the government doesn't eat their own. We had guys pulling excavators sometimes with 1 single 3/8ths chain draped over the tracks between the slew ring, literally completely unsecured. We didn't even have to have dot med cards or anything like log books etc. Dot saw the government logo on the door and it was like we didn't even exist. Hell I personally was assigned to pulling a tandem dump truck with 18.5 ton in the bed of 87s so grossing almost 70k with a 963 cat behind it on a pintle trailer tilt deck. That poor dump truck was moving over 100k pounds with nothing but a 10 speed and a well worn cummins n14 to get it there lol.

God forbid if any of those guys get into a wreck, the lawyers will send em broke overnight. That's one reason I left that side of work. Getting 10-14 dollars an hour doing stuff like that is just senseless. I wouldn't doubt that the bosses would throw the driver under the bus in a situation like that.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Welp I've been sitting around various truck stops for about 3 days and bored out of my mind so a small update I suppose.

Been at it about 5 weeks total and have accumulated about 17500 miles. My backing isn't amazing for tight spots but I can get it in without breaking someone's mirror or asking for help. It's just slow to do. Still adjusting to not having your axles all the way at the rear on long trailers. Also my trainers truck isn't adjusted to where you can use your blindspot or hood mirrors for backing which is croppling for me personally. But oh well, I also miss day cabs for backing lol. Other than that and winter driving I could definitely go solo now. Hindsight being 20/20 I'd take a pay cut to have the training wrap up faster having drove as a day job before. 50k team miles when you get 3-4k a week is making it an absolute slog. Between sales, dispatch, and claims, we're getting nowhere fast. We had almost 6k one week but this week is shaping up to be maybe 2800 due to claims and finding buyers for damaged goods.

As far as training, well I've been shown how to do paperwork and macros and how to redeem shower credits but that is about as far as it goes. It's more about cheap labor for lease ops from what I've seen. After the first 2 weeks it's pretty much been the same thing day to day. At least on the reefer side there isn't much to the job, just get it there on time and follow the customers rules and send macros/paperwork. I'm not going to lie though, the job is pretty easy. The training is wearing on me though. I'm very solitary and a bit of a clean freak and don't like being around people for more than an hour or two. Team driving is being particularly brutal for me for a lot of reasons. I'd really like to take home time since it's been 3 or 4 weeks since last home time but my trainer committed me to finishing training without home time without asking me. I'm sure I could push the issue but he does petty stuff at times that messes with me like cutting off the air "accidentally" while I'm trying to sleep in the bunk. I'd rather not rock the boat since you're locked in a closet with someone you have to treat as the leader of the party. Not naive enough to think he can't make my life a complete living hell if I **** him off. But boy is it grating spending weeks around someone you really dislike without an escape but for showers. I talked with Rob D about jumping ship to flatbed because I'm really not keen on the lack of doing anything but sitting or sleeping that reefer offers but when I mentioned it to my trainer he had dispatch promise him that they'd make me finish training and then do tnt flatbed after 50k. Along with that it seems prime wants you to run 3-4 weeks after upgrading so getting home time around Thanksgiving if I stay reefer or next year with flatbed... I'll just stick to reefer. I'm far beyond wanting this "training" garbage done with.

I'm not trying to be overly negative but I'm not going to sugarcoat it either. The newness has worn off, we're getting no miles because my trainer is super picky about loads, and I really don't care for him. I've had tougher jobs before but this is probably the toughest challenge because there is no reprieve from it whatsoever, you can't relax or get away except for a shower which is like 30 minutes that only comes around every 4-6 days. I've also heard my trainer loosely mention that he may keep me longer than 50k miles. Apparently it is up to his discretion. I haven't said much when he mentions it but I will leave if they try and pull some BS like that. He's desperately trying to get me to drive a leased truck for him and also drive his truck when he takes 2 months of vacation next year. Either you're fine with me driving your truck solo or I need more training, guy. You don't get to say both. I find it hard not to laugh at the idea of leasing a truck and sending him 100-200 dollars a week for the privilege of being a part of his company. As if I was that stupid to fall for some **** like that lol. The lease guys here at prime have had more than their fair share of koolaid. I don't know how many guys I've talked to that "make" 200k+ a year leasing with prime. But I better get off the lease hater train, some people might take offence. Anyways...

I'll just say this, anyone that has decent sense, is antisocial, and has driven big trucks for a job before, be leery of committing to 50k miles. I'd do it over again differently in the present moment. I've seen some prime tnt students that clearly need 50k miles, probably more, and some that probably have no business ever driving big trucks. I started driving tractor trailers about 3 years ago but it was infrequent and without a cdl. I started driving dump trucks with and without pintle trailers about 2.5 years ago. I've had my class b cdl longer than my trainer has had his class a and drove illegally before that. Not trying to sound like a know it all or anything like that, just putting it out there for guys like me that know how to get around a bit in a tractor trailer but never drove legally. It's probably a rare situation to be in and I probably should have figured that for myself before joining up but I saw primes best equipment and pay apple dangling from their website and jumped at it. Maybe I'll be glad for it once I go solo but it's hard right now.

Anyways, that's all for now. Just some wisdom from my experiences so far so that someone might find it useful.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

So one week down and a day or two out until I hit the road again after home time. Did 4200 miles in the first weeks, furthest West we went was Chicago after leaving Springfield. Sleeping in a moving truck isn't too bad for me as long as I use earplugs. I have had a shift I felt too drained, really like the night driving except for the parking dilemma it causes. Still haven't been reimbursed for the rental car and have already gotten 2 paychecks. The tnt pay is .14 CPM for your and trainers miles. Was able to get a couple extra days home time because I live so close to Atlanta and wanted to be sure I made it to transfer license over since we dropped a load off in south Atlanta.

The DMV I went to "specialised" in CDL stuff so when I asked about the manual restriction they said it wasn't a problem, they just had to get it cleared from head quarters and that they can't remove endorsements you've already earned on another CDL class. The folks there are far nicer and more knowledgeable than other East of Atlanta locations. So my recommendation is to use the Jackson, GA DDS. It is only two service stations so it is pretty fast too. Went ahead and got doubles/triples while I was there so fortunately for me I have a cdl with no restrictions and all endorsements except for hazmat which I don't want anyways.

It isn't typical of Prime Inc and I wouldn't expect it but I got right at a week home time so that is nice. I'll probably try and get around 45000 miles before next home time. I don't know how they do it when they upgrade but I'd not be surprised if they want you to run their 3 week policy after you upgrade so having some home time and then knocking out another week training then 3-4 weeks solo seems like a decent plan.

It's easy to say I'd like to stay out for several weeks solo but after working jobs where you're constantly jumping in and out of trucks/equipment all the time, I'm glad to be home and doing stuff around the house, maybe I'm not as lazy as I thought. It's quite amazing how much atrophy I've had occur in a month of laying in a motel bed and sitting in a truck. After 2 days being home I was sore all over like I'd swam 3 miles. Also, strangely enough, I lost about 6-7 lbs the first week out.

I'm not going to say I'm going to jump to flatbed but... a crazy part of me is actually missing the physical activity of dump trucking or the physicality of heavy equipment operating. Maybe the road is already making me crazy. Another thing I've noticed is the difference in climate. I've always been told it gets just as hot everywhere else as it does in Georgia, it just doesn't last as long. And I can say pretty confidently that is a bunch of BS. Maybe on paper it is true but being in NJ, PA, Chicago etc, it is hot sure, but when I had to walk about a 1/4 mile with all my stuff when I got home, yeah... The heat here in the South is just another level, there's no breeze, humidity is insane and temps are higher, plus it storms every afternoon. It was striking how hot it was when I got home and I've lived in it for over 20 years. I can't wait to move Northwest. I can't wait to see the West, my trainer likes to stay West and doesn't like traffic so hopefully that is where we'll be and can rack up some miles fast.

I'll post another update around 40000 miles or so.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Swapped TNT trainers. My original one hooked up with someone else to train so I got a new one this morning, suppose to head out tomorrow some time. Got a better vibe off the new guy so that's good, met him in person at the campus inn and talked for a bit. The first guy called, talked for a few minutes about being a clean freak and wanting to know if I could manage my clock and macros on my own and that was about it. New guy had a lot more questions and seemed to care more about getting a good person with a decent personality. Also gave me the option of driving a week solo with him in the passenger seat or directly to team driving.

Also, special thanks to Rob D for taking me to dinner at the Lambert's. It's nice to get out of the routine of campus inn, Walmart, and plaza building.

As to the 700 dollar thing, the money was 600 advance during PSD plus a 100 dollar reimbursement for something. Perhaps the entry fee you send to Prime to enroll. Wasn't told specifically what it was but that is the only thing I can think of. You can opt to have prime take the PSD advance money back but you have to sign off at payroll to do it. Since it is interest free I'll just keep it, it is only 25 dollars a week deduction on payroll and while it isn't much money, you can make a nickle or so on interest lol, you're going to get the money anyways if you stick around, may as well have it to invest or save now rather than later.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

I am at the Millennium Center. In the driver's lounge at the top of the spiral staircase. Come on over and we can figure something out.

Alright, on my way

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

I'm here in Springfield on a 34-hour reset. My wife is leaving later on today so I'll probably have the afternoon free. Let me know where you are and we can try to hook up. I have a POV with me in long-term parking so we can go anywhere you want.

Sounds good to me I'm just hanging out at the campus inn, want to get some decent dinner for once lol.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Soon enough you’ll be out there good luck! You shouldn’t just drive nights but as you both run your clocks and with loading and unloading and waiting you will drive nights and days. Good to get use to it. Hi

As far as Comdata goes and pay, your next pay should be going into your checking account but you can always conform with payroll that they have your info. Same thing happened to me first one went onto my Comdata, then went to direct deposit on my own acct.

Good luck again

Yeah I gave them a blank voided check for direct deposit but I'd figured the first paycheck would be next week with the rental reimbursement and the trifecta bonus, and the 700 minimum a week would be taxed so it wouldn't be 700 even. I'll give them a call Monday to make sure the money is mine and not some oddity or error. I can't transfer my comdata money yet anyways due to the activation waiting period to link to your bank. Just seems odd they paid me for a week that I wasn't an employee technically.

I'm going to be changing it all over again after I can get home anyways because my local bank won't lift the travel restrictions so I can't use my card across the US annoyingly. Their rates are nonexistent anyways so I can at least make a little bit more with ally or a credit union or something else.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Talked with my tnt trainer. Should be ready to go in a few days since he is up in the northeast on a load. He's not super close to Atlanta where my home time would be but apparently it is close enough for Prime. Trying to book a DMV appointment before the 2 week period they want you to change your license over might be a challenge since they all seem booked for 2-3 weeks straight. Going to try an book at the Jackson DDS place, heard they're a lot friendlier to CDL people than most DDS locations.

The tnt trainer seems good on first impression, insisted on being clean and recommended just pushing through to try and get the miles knocked out fast. Non smoker which is really nice. Also said he won't keep me locked in driving nights all the time so I suppose that is nice but I've always been a night owl and still haven't broken out of the schedule of bedtime being around 9 to 11 am.

I forgot to mention during PSD I had 3 loads to run. One to Joplin and 2 to Kansas City. I think most PSD trainers get assigned a load a week for students to run if I understood it correctly. Also got to use a real truckers GPS which seems like a must have. Got some rain driving in as well which being from GA, it's nothing new. Doesn't quite have the same pucker factor as spreading rock in a flash flood on slimey pumping red clay. Would really like to have gotten a bit of snow and ice experience but doesn't look like I'll be getting any winter driving with anybody. Oh well, I'll manage one way or another. Looks like I have a day or another to kill. Might check out the world's biggest bass pro and get something to eat that isn't close by. I tried Uber eats and that seems about a scam but maybe I'm just unlucky. Ziggies cafe is good but costly. I've probably kept the subway in the Walmart in business just by myself. The McDonald's and Burger King are par for the course and I got steak and shake once which is also in walking distance. The Papa John's also delivers and is pretty good.

Overall, pretty solid experience with the first part of training. Prime is big but doesn't have that draconian corporate feeling, or at least I haven't witnessed it yet. It seems like as long as you aren't rising the ire of the DOT and not breaking stuff or being late, they let you drive how you want. I've been told by lots of different people the low governor speed isn't to do with safety but with fuel mileage. Mostly just missing having my own means of transportation and the option of eating whatever I want that day.

Something I'm going to have to ask about is the deal with the comdata card. They said my first paycheck will come next Friday and they took my direct deposit info but my comdata badge has 700 dollars loaded on it for some reason. My understanding is there are two sides of the card. One charges to company for fuel and truck expenses that you don't see but the other is your pay. I'm not going to touch it until I know what it is for but if anyone knows, I'd appreciate input. This is also checking it from the comdata app, not calling the number on the card.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Welp passed the CDL test with nearly a perfect score. Only got 3 points on the driving test. Was aiming for perfect all the way around but oh well. It's a $250 bonus either way. Got my TWIC applied for which you pay back over your weekly paychecks and got my purple comdata Prime ID badge. The rental car reimbursement goes on the same check that the trifecta bonus goes on along with your first 700 dollars as a Prime employee. I'll be getting my first real paycheck almost 4 weeks after day 1 at Springfield. I didn't touch any of the advance money they give you. Your recruiter is the one that handles the rental car cost and fuel so save your receipts. Currently waiting on my tnt trainer to call.

The TWIC is suppose to take about 30 days which routes you back to Springfield since they don't mail it and it is activated with fingerprints or something like that. They give you 2 weeks to route back to your home state to change your license over. Hopefully I can smooth talk the DMV people into letting my class B manual endorsement transfer to my class A but I doubt it will work. A bummer that my ability to drive normal transmissions is going to be void even though I've spent 2-3 years driving 10 speeds, 4and2's and 8LL's. I wonder what the DOT folks would think about holding onto that class B and driving class B's with sticks even though the license isn't valid since you can only hold one. They'd probably frown on it. Rather annoying that I can't drive something I was cleared to drive before just because I upgraded to driving something more complicated. I'll definitely argue my case though at the DMV even though it won't get me anywhere probably lol. Politicians writing laws on subjects they've no experience with though I suppose. I plan to go ahead and try to book a knowledge exam for doubles/triples since it can't hurt and the test is easy enough.

Anyways... Ready to get on the road and start whittling away at those trainer miles. 3 weeks in a motel has grown old for sure. I think Prime will probably stick to this model of getting all your stuff in order before coming up here. Apparently class sizes used to be nearly 100 people a week and maybe 20-30 seeing it through to a real class a license. Now it is probably 20 people a week with 15-18 passing. I know 1 guy from my class passed but haven't seen anyone else from it so who knows how accurate that is.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

As a TNT trainer I can tell you that some Class B drivers are the worst students who know everything

After being around them at quarries for a couple years, I definitely don't doubt that one bit lol. I'm surprised that many even come to prime seeing how slow the trucks are governed too. It was rare for me to see dump truck drivers who didn't drive like they were suicidal.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Alright so day five, I do the same deal of waiting around pretripping that morning at the plaza building until I get a trainer. Something to note as well, nobody told me this but when you pass the Sim test and get a new schedule for pretrip class, the place you are going is the basement classroom in the plaza building. Pretty early in the morning my guy calls me, says he'll be there in a few minutes and when he shows up, we bs for a few minutes and he says meet him the next day to do some backing and driving. Rest of the day is free to goof off.

Nothing much goes on at this point. I decide to walk to the subway in Walmart but they're out of what I want so I say it isn't a bad idea to just walk around to avoid cabin fever. I walked to the long johns up the street and tried calling because if the Covid stuff but they just hang up when you call so I try the Burger King and it looked abandoned the closer I got so I got McDonald's instead. After spending about an hour walking around, I'll suggest you try not to look too unsuspecting, I had a few bums ask me for money or some of my food but didn't get any issues when I told them no.

And that pretty much sums up orientation. Pretty well painless all things considered but I'd recommend being a little assertive with your recruiter to try and ensure all is truly taken care of and you'll be ready to go. I'd have been pretty ****ed if they just wrote me off as lying on my application or being a headache and sent me packing for another 450 dollars rental and another 12 shot back home. But luckily that didn't happen and everything seems to exceed expectations here at prime so far.

The very limited class time, Sim time, and the handful of CBT's are nice for me since I don't have to go over a million basics that I've already been through and done. I'd be far more apprehensive if I didn't have prior experience though. Jumping in a truck for me is par for the course, this is just a different job with a ton of new smaller things like starting with any kind of new vocational truck, freight, or job. I'd imagine PSD might last a week or two longer for your average student since there is such a brief intro period. Within 4 days most that come here are in a 75 foot rig and moving it around no matter what your experience is. It is definitely something to consider. I don't know if this is always how it has been but I'm sure the 5 or so hours in a classroom and Sim is probably a new thing. Then again, you can't scribble on a chalkboard how to drive, it is seat time.

One final note I've observed about orientation, don't even bother speaking about your driving experience or past driving jobs of how you did this, that, or the other somewhere else unless it is to a recruiter or your PSD trainer. You're just going to **** off the teachers. Made that mistake. And don't get me wrong, I didn't act ****y or anything I just talked about how I did my pretrip when I had to do it while making small talk to another student and it got shot down pretty fast lol. I made brief mention of the automatic restriction situation and I think that might have been taken wrong as well and they might have inferred I was just going to cut and run once I got my fill class a license which isn't the case.

I'm young and only drove for a few years so far and not going to act like a know it all and I have definitely learned just to stay quiet and sit back and watch everyone else but even stuff that seems harmless to you can be taken the wrong way. I'm sure they've seen a lot of young kids waltz in with a lot of talk and no skilld but take my advice, keep your head down and pretend to know nothing. The orientation folks are friendly enough up front but there are certain ones that seem easy to offend or annoy.

I'll do a post once I finish out PSD, so far that side of things is going fantastic. Glad to be driving again, and coming from the mom n pop grading company deal, the dump trucks and the solid waste world, prime trucks are like Cadillacs. Big and SLOW Cadillacs but nonetheless, eh?

I don't know if you guys knew this or not but apparently big trucks can be equipped with this magical thing called air conditioning. It is the best thing since sliced bread.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Thanks for the good wishes.

Now for the orientation training. It starts with you being assigned a few things and getting your alcohol/drug Clearinghouse done. I honestly haven't a clue what the Clearinghouse is or does but it seems like a DAC for substance use while trucking. That is the first thing you do, once it is set up you give consent for prime to view it. From there you attend class in the morning on your orientation date which basically confirms what you told/gave your recruiter and you fill out a job application again to I guess check for inconsistencies. You're assigned CBT's which are online modules which are either forms to complete or videos. You can probably do it all in about 5 hours. This is when you get your meal card. My class had about 5 people in it I think. There were 3-4 orientation groups so probably 20 people or so for my orientation date. Out on the pad with the PSD trainer I've only seen 2 people from my group so who knows what happened to the rest of them. Afterwards you have a simulator class. They have about 10 simulators and they're cool looking and all but I think it is just a weed out kind of deal. They're very easy to do but not really that realistic. They make me a little sea sick personally. I can already float gears but they won't let you even have a go at them in manual mode. They don't even run manual trucks at all so unfortunately my unrestricted class B will be turned into an automatics only restricted class A. But that's lawmakers for you.

Anyways, that basically wraps up the day of orientation. They require everything be in place before you get up here so unless something had expired like a drug test preemployment screen, you won't need anything. Or should I say shouldn't. I ran into some problems but I'll get to that.

Second day you should have nearly all CBT's done. Class lasts maybe 30 minutes and most students get cleared for their green PSD badge. Sim class lasts about 2 hours on this day and you do a snow/ice Sim, a city Sim, one or two more then an assessment you have to pass. All forward driving stuff, no shifting, really basic stuff. Assessment is graded and you get 2 tries. I scored a high 80 or so. It is very touchy about maintaining lanes and turn signal usage. It also doesn't feel realistic at all so I'm not sure how useful the Sims actually are other than to weed people out. Apparently they used to do 1 week straight for shifting and maybe that is where they shine. Either way, the time on the Sims is so brief it isn't a big thing to even think about. I was on the Sims a total maybe 1 hour of drive time. I know one guy failed it the first go, haven't seen him since.

They want your CBT's done by 4 on the second day which is very generous timing. They have computer labs and recommend their use but I did them on my phone. I Driver Pulse or the prime website can access them. I laid in bedding watching them with the ac blowing. Pretty nice deal all in all. This the day you would do the flatbed physical. Most everyone else was clear at this point but my recruiter called saying they couldn't get employment verification except for to one job or education verification. HR was MIA for one job and couldn't be contacted and the education deal was running on limited staffing. So then the prime orientation people tell me references that are personal and not worm related will work for one job and education but the other job was DOT regulated and I operated a CMV so that would have to be verified. The big issue with this is I am nearly a total loner trying to track down phone numbers for people I don't stay in contact with while 1000 miles away from home. After about an hour I source 3 personal contacts and find emails for direct deposits to my last job. After getting back in contact with prime they say they heard back from my previous employer and everything is good to go except for a new MVR since the last one expired and I'll be badged on day three.

Lessons learned: Keep yourself armed with a smartphone and 4g data.

Keep up with at least a few personal contacts, not just work references.

The recruiter said everything was solid and good to go except for one employment verification "delay." I was pretty annoyed that I'd spent 450 dollars on a rental car to get up here and start treading the line of being a PITA that gets booted out because a dozen things went wrong on day two that I was told were all ready.

Day three rolls around and nothing much goes on. Get called by orientation office to get my green PSD badge and that gets wrapped up. Rests of the day is goofing off doing nothing in the room. I'm a hermit so I don't bother socializing at the driver lounge plus it might keep the cooties away that are floating around.

Some folks are assigned PSD trainers on day three by this point but I'm the back of the list because I was the last to get cleared.

Day four sees me and two other guys left to do the pretrip class while trainers filter in and take students. It's a quick easy class. Once you go outside you do mock pretrips with the other students and get called in for a tire class. Lots of interesting info in the tire class. Once that is done we all filtered back to the campus inn after a few of us check out the millenium building. Food options are a lot better, still cheap, and taste okay. There are a lot of amenities but I opted to get my food, give a forelorn gaze into the decorative fountain and make my departure. 1/2

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

I've read helpful reviews and diaries on getting a cdl here on trucking truth and figured it might be useful for some people to get some 1st hand experience of heading out for cdl training during this virus.

I chose Prime simply for the pay and good equipment and not much more to say on that.

I came into the program already having a class B CDL and about 2-3 years of driving local, mostly dump trucks, roll-off's, and other vocational trucks like bucket and grapple trucks. Had my class AP for about a year and drove some lowboys hauling heavy equipment so I'm not totally a greenhorn coming in. I'm going reefer because I'd rather bump docks than throw tarps and spend 3 hours shoveling mud out of tracks, I got my fill of flatbedding in boiling summer heat in the deep south.

I've been in Springfield for about a week and will start driving this week with the PSD trainer.

Since this virus is such a concern the program is a pretty big difference from what I've read it would be like.

I arrived the day before orientation as was requested by Prime. You can check in as early as 6am at the campus inn. Masks are required and they take your temperature at the front desk or if you get picked up by the shuttle they do it there also. There are 3 shuttle lines. One is the green line and it runs farther out. I think the red line just runs a circle from campus inn, to plaza building, to millenium, to Walmart, then back to campus inn lounge. They give a card at the front desk. If you rent a car, check in at the campus inn, get the shuttle card and room card, drop all your bags and stuff in the room, take your car and stock up on food and eat good in town then drop the rest of your food off in the room and return the car and call the shuttle. There is plenty of parking at the inn. If you get food or plan to bring it on the shuttle, be sure to bag it, they won't let you on if there isn't a bag for it and they won't wait for you to find a bag. You'll be waiting again. I haven't been reimbursed for the rental car but be sure to get them to email a receipt when you turn it in. Feel free to goof off this day while you've got a rental car because the virus has made it very, very slow paced and boring.

The rooms at the campus inn are just typical run if the mill motel. They're clean, housekeeping does a good job for sure, and there are a handful of amenities like a driver's lounge with some vending machines and microwave. The pool has been filled in and sodded over. I'm not sure if anyone is in it but there is a wing that is closed off with a sign that says infected/fever risk area or something along those lines. I guess that is a quarantine zone. The rooms are all single person only as far as I know at the moment which is nice because I've spent a lot of time in it. My room has a mini fridge, a queen sized bed, coffee pot, a ridiculously good ac unit, and tv. The tv channels are pretty limited though with about 25 channels that aren't 24/7 paid programming or talking head news stuff. I've pretty much kept it on comedy central to kill the down time. Bed sleeps okay, showers are spacious and will roast you if you turn them to full heat, the toilets are the longer seat style which is nice compared to most motel 5 gallon bucket style deals. There is a washing room but I haven't used it. Usually only 1 person in there so probably no lines to wash clothes. If it matters, there is a smoking area where the shuttle picks up. There is also a "cafe" for the inn and the food and drinks are exceptionally cheap but the food is pretty rough. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with specials for each which is usually 1-2 items plus about 2-3 entrees for each time and some random sides. Sometimes stuff runs out and they only serve full service mon-thurs. Fri, sat, and sun have the cafe close at 2pm so be sure and get your food or you'll be SOL. They give cards that cover your full meal and drink for the times they serve food. You would have to be a really big individual or live on MRE's to run out your meal card and keep the food down, trust me. But the food is a lot of food for free within reason so I can't complain about it much. The soda machine is calibrated very well and the soda does taste really good though. I've heard one guy get placed at a local hotel for an extra 25 dollars a night because something went wrong with his room so I'm not sure if that is reimbursed or what the deal was with that. I haven't had any issues with my stay other than the door card dying which is commonplace. Just be sure when it starts to take a few tries to get the doors to open that you swap the card out when it is convenient that way you don't end up like myself and have to walk all the way back to the lobby with your hands full of food that is getting cold and soggy. Once the card dies, there is no getting into anything. It gives a warning but when it goes, it goes. I think the lobby is staffed all night so you won't be sleeping in the lobby to get a card should yours die at an in unfortunate time. Other than that, I think I've covered everything. If you are a light sleeper, the campus inn will give you your first trial. It can get pretty noisy during the day and at night there are people coming and going, sometimes dogs will bark, doors will slam here and there and cars without exhausts will roar by. Not much of an issue for me but I could see someone getting annoyed by it. But it's trucking, you better get used to it.

Next, training.

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