Profile For J.D.

J.D.'s Info

  • Location:
    AZ

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 1 month ago

J.D.'s Bio

just another humble rookie

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Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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Truck Driving School???

I've been exposed to a fair number of the situations with schools, well, AZ private; and then several company-sponsored around the west while researching where to use my CDL. Short answer is to echo Rob, that you should be fine.

Discussion: I’ve actually been surprised there hasn't been more school disruption beyond smaller class sizes and more distancing and masking, and mine was surprisingly lax...too much so for my comfort. The other local ones seem similar. We had a class come from NM to get tested and such at our school, but otherwise all seemed like normal MO. Of course it's against their interest to close if they don't have to and seeing as how they're deemed "essential businesses"...

As for DMV/MVDs that seems to vary somewhat by state. Even though my local ones were shut down to "drop-ins" (an employee screens 'em outside the front door), that seemed to actually shorten the wait times for the essential stuff that can't be handled online or over the phone, like of course CDLs.

(Cautionary tale: My permit test there was a piece of cake and all CDL legal stuff was smooth, but on the other hand, I had a messy record to deal with when it came to nearly everything else. This was due to having taken my eyes off the ball... Mostly I failed to set up accurate mail forwarding and didn't keep track of what was following me and accumulating as a result, as I moved from CA to NY then eventually to AZ to care for my dying father; a mess made worse by the different agencies having very differing data on me that proved difficult to sort out or change, much less explain. So I had to go to MVD quite a lot last year and spent hours listening to the same boring hold music that never changed over many months. Lesson learned: SO much easier said than done, but at least don't take BOTH eyes off the ball no matter the crisis, especially once you know you want to be a trucker--I decided after my dad died--.)

Dunno about the road-testing at MVDs, but a lot of the schools are allowed to do their own as long as it's not conducted by an instructor that worked with you prior. Calling and emailing around according to your interest and priorities should ensure you can nail down what you want. Good that you're getting on top of it here.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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How to contact a member

Well I'm sure glad, Anne, ya got the love you needed, in case there was any question! In my year here, hey, hard to believe anyone took any of that truly seriously. All I needed was for you to say that punctuation is supposed to be INside of the parentheses, to get a shrug-it-off chuckle from this language geek. (Say what?!) My response being, not so fast (it totally depends)! ...

and for perspective just ask Jammer whod rightly say who cares even though his nearly total lack of punctuation drives me half-crazy I read him anyway cuz I know I can be hard to read in my own way and besides we're all all over the atlas here anyway but that's what gives TT its rich flavor and texture Anne if you left methinks this site would practically crash and burn or freeze to death so don't even think about going anywhere cept OTR with yer hubster hey seriously I love your way with words especially when its possible to follow your mind-meanderings (!)

Posted:  8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Trans Am Trucking Employment or Non Employment Question?

Fascinating discussion...with serious implications for TransAm newbies and maybe the general public on the roads... Obviously the key data point would be how long ago the company made the apparently radical change to their "training" approach. Then we'd know it's had time to really show up as a difference in their safety rating stats. Does anyone here know if it was a recent shift? Sounds like calling the company isn't likely to bring an answer to the question? If they're not even providing full disclosure (or maybe only when asked?) to their applicants, well that can't be a good sign. But if they're somehow pulling it off, jeez, what does that mean? IF it's a fact, that along with the experienced driver commentary above, it'd seem to suggest there might a "placebo effect" of sorts re: the industry standard and obvious conventional wisdom behind weeks of OTR training. In other words, is the need for it more myth than necessity? Or would it mostly show how adaptable humans are when the stakes are so super-high, that they can take on what would be TOO much stress for most in order to stay safe enough to succeed? (While maybe for others, the weeks of directly-supervised mentorship would be MORE stressful and result in slower learning, less overall safety, than going solo sooner than otherwise ideal?)

Posted:  8 months, 4 weeks ago

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CDL testing on hold because of Covid

I'm curious what school that is in Phoenix, Baron, do you know...is it called "Phoenix" or "Southwest" or "Roadmaster"?

Posted:  8 months, 4 weeks ago

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Light At The End of Tunnel With Transam

You've got some top-notch support that's already posted to your new training diary, Jason. I just wanted to add my encouragement for you to continue, and if you get too bogged down in the process to keep up, let TT know and they'll support that too. Will be reading about your journey, since I might be ending up at TransAm too. If I do, I'll do what I can to help out with the communication, though it sounds like it'll get tougher to find the time.

Posted:  9 months ago

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Anything I should be doing before I leave for orientation with Western Express?

Yeah, I wasn't referring to driver reviews or YouTube...ya'll have warned us away from falling for that propaganda. Thanx always for the reminders, O.S. I for one would never dismiss your experience... You're clearly the kinda guy who could make it anywhere! It's just that if a company HAS been struggling, declining in recent times, sure seems like it COULD be a factor worth knowing about and considering in whether to go there.

Posted:  9 months ago

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MVR Record: License Suspended Twice for Underage Drinking While Not Operating a Vehicle

I do a lot of research when I get into something big, and this career tops them all, so I've learned a lot since I got my CDL in the fall and have been looking for a "right" company myself. The 2017 thing is not as big a deal since there are companies that only look back 3 years. A rolling stop conviction less than a year ago is a lot tougher an obstacle to get past... Others here will hopefully know more about your options, if any (besides waiting a while), as I've seen in similar posts to yours. I have heard of one company via these posts; haven't really looked into that one myself, but you should shortly see what others have to say.

Posted:  9 months ago

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Anything I should be doing before I leave for orientation with Western Express?

Believe it or not, I've been doing that stuff, Rob. Applied at that link last month, but in retrospect I'm not sure I heard back from anyone... Strange of course, but didn't seem totally suspicious cuz I did get one who contacted me, but maybe that was due to other effort elsewhere like a list I got on. A glitch? Maybe, so thanx, man, will try the link again. In the meantime, had also applied at several other companies and am now checking them out, winnowing down since I can't actually say yes to, show up and train at, more than one at a time.

I did want to add a qualifier to my last reply--- In bumping this back up, of course I do get the wisdom so well expressed by the TT moderators here. My take on what I've learned is basically, 'Don't cry over the milk you have in your coffee cup when you ordered half-n-half, if skim's all that's available for awhile. Do your best to enrich the experience while it's all you got.' BUT, IF you're not even there yet, and you have some breathing room and ability to screen milk delivery companies, and believe in checking out those with reputations both "good" and "bad" because you had reason to believe those reps were suspect, it seems prudent to drill down a little deeper into what's true here and now... If possible. That's all I'm trying to do... ...Onward! ..........

Posted:  9 months ago

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Anything I should be doing before I leave for orientation with Western Express?

Wow, it sounds like Western Express is just about the most controversial company out there...which maybe I should NOT be seriously considering?! Anne, thanx for the tip, will next check out Freymiller for sure...yup, 'tis the weekend for me to be posting, fa-la-la-la... (But will be making my "final decision" by around New Year's Day, for sure!) Old School's experience there is admittedly old, and others' seem more cautionary tales than positive reviews... Have they really gone downhill or what? (wait, downhill sounds like it's a good thing, right?, unless that hill's too steep...;-) ............

Posted:  9 months ago

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Best Way/Place to Begin

Heath, re: your implied Q, "... i really like this company freymiller out of okc but they don't do the paid school you have to enter with a cdl then they do a 6-8 week driver otr training. so I'm looking into a cdl school and possible sources of funding for that."

See my reply to Mark C. in his "Lookin' At New Roads" thread this morning, same basic question to which I answered with what worked perfectly for me just several months ago. And if that's not an option, maybe a loan source outside of a trucking company, especially if the one you most want to work for doesn't offer CDL training, is a better way to go? No shortage of reports by those who end up regretting the company contract, which is in most cases just a choice-restrictive type of loan, right guys? But then there's the other conventional wisdom here, that the average company that offers its own training for its future employees will do a better job of educating you for the CDL and beyond...which makes sense, and the experts here know more than me, but they also say it isn't a universal truth. A lot of the company schools rush you through it, while a lot of the private ones do not, like the one I went to. Seems to me they all tend to be far from ideal (mine couldn't allow enough truck time per student) and are mostly just about getting you that license, which is a much easier hurdle than what follows.

Nice to have some time lately to feed back some of the basics of what I've learned at this great site mostly (and also elsewhere, especially in my early experience so far) over the past year-plus. Maybe take a little pressure off the moderators et al during their much-deserved holiday time off (hopefully?!), before I get immersed OTR shortly.............

Posted:  9 months ago

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Need Info on Medical exam for CDL License

If it were me, I'd just go in to an office that does 'em and ask, get the free expert advice that way, then you can go to your PCP or get one to test you on all that... But like Banks said, it's very basic, though does include a little physical activity (is that part universal?). And then work on your health in the meantime before you have to have that certification...I.e., healthy food, minimize unhealthy habits, get good exercise... It's what I did 13 months ago at an older age than you and the only thing that was even close to a concern was my borderline BP. You've got enough months to prep yourself...good planning, Ken!

Posted:  9 months ago

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Bad start with new company???HELP

Hey Tashawna, please stay engaged here...IF you're really dedicated to continuing your career without too much delay. This is the place for supportive feedback and advice, particular options to consider, etc. The veterans have been weighing in for you already... My take as a fellow rookie from my current experience? Sure sounds to me like there's "second chance" companies like Western Express that will consider you, and many others. As far as what you told us that happened, I keep reading and hearing here and elsewhere that such mistakes by rookies are stumbling blocks to be turned into stepping stones, IF we're determined enough to do so. There's probably more to the story from your first company's point of view, but nothing you cited sounds all that serious once you learn from it and come across as good to go! If they're into giving you a break in the "reportable" dept., seems like you should be able to go OTR, maybe team if that'd help, which sounds like in your case just might IF solo's too daunting to start? (Hotly debated topic though that only you can discover for sure about.) But like has been said here already, remedial training ought'a do the trick... And what about that childcare issue, is that overcome-able?

Posted:  9 months ago

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Seriously am i wrong for shutting down

Anne, curious cuz have seen you refer to it more than once--by "Trucker Feed", sounds like ya mean on Facebook, or..?

Posted:  9 months ago

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Trucking Truth On A New Server

As someone else mentioned something about somewhere, the "timed out" time allotted for posts-in-progress seems to have shrunk quite a bit...not sure if I encountered one before the server switch... Any idea if it's a set number of minutes we could set a timer for (it'd be fun to race against a known deadline ;-), or to at least know about how long to expect? Though and/or maybe it's a way to encourage shorter/faster posts?

Posted:  9 months ago

View Topic:

Lookin' at new roads

P.S.P. (a “Post-Script-Post”?)— So I'm just plain "J.D." in my profile now. Taking your lead though, Mark, to turn that into a more phonetic name, am considering "Jed". (As in Jed Clampett, one of my all-time-favorite TV characters, which "dates" me. "The Beverly Hillibillies" was a silly show based on a classic concept...loved it as a young'in... Dressed up as Jed for a big-deal restaurant-bar Halloween party, while my GF was "Granny" with her moonshine jug...ah, were we popular there...Hmm, got a pic holding a homemade cardboard shotgun that I could upload to profile...ha!

Anyway, this post is to answer your on-point Q that I forgot in my previous:

"I've looked at private schools, there's one close that's quite reasonable in price, but why do that if I don't have to? Have you noticed any benefit for having done so?"

In some cases, like mine, DEFINITELY, dude. I don't know how controversial(?) it is if you have desirable alternatives, but you could look into getting a grant. Backstory: After having so much trouble during the years-long-care-nightmare leading up to my dad dying of Parkinson's in the fall of '19, it was time to return to the workforce. But even getting a job interview after dozens of online applications "at my age" proved almost impossible, so I decided to go with "the calling" and go all-in on trucking. Almost went with CR England about year ago, but the GF forcefully talked me out of it all (I felt turned off by the whole particular recruiter vibe I got from CRE anyway) and, for then, she had a point)...so I turned aside...for a while. Daunted for months, I finally had had enough of trying to get more than super-temp jobs, etc. that aside from the bux I didn't want anyway... So with my previous career dried up, I set the sights on getting into local CDL school without selling my pickup truck (good thing cuz the school's a half hour of freeway away) or taking on a too-risky debt. (What a terribly tough time these past several years were!) Then when I thought all was lost unless I went company-sponsored, the school recruiter alerted me to the state's super-helpful "back to work" program... Which I applied for and was sort of surprised to get a grant that paid for my whole tuition and a new pair of glasses. Now, though I technically owe nothing, am looking forward to "paying it back" to the government via the income taxes on being a trucker! Not sure if it's an option for you, but easy enough to find out.

Posted:  9 months ago

View Topic:

Lookin' at new roads

Some interesting and helpful facts there, Ted. Thanx for the minutiae I didn't know, like you can't wear sandals outside of a truck? Any sort of sandals? Not that I'd want to, but some of what you say helps with packing, e.g., I've been wondering about bedding but haven't read the thread yet about what exactly to take to training and OTR; gotta do that cuz I'm getting really close to that "final" decision. ... So it's DOT regs that mandate "x" hours driving with trainer before going solo or team? (Hm, how does TransAm get away with their approach?!) So many factors involved...really makes my head spin sometimes, deciding on "which way to go", and the "To Do List", since I can't help trying to take it all into account...and when you don't, can't, know enough till you do it, it can get a bit maddening to know where to draw the lines. At least for me.

Mark, "J'dezer" is a good one... (reminds me I'm sort of a junior-old geezer) I'll have to change that profile; at least that's something I CAN simplify ;-) ! ... Was disappointed to read there's no real outdoor escape from the humidity living anywhere in FL, except A/C like in AZ with the "dry heat". I can handle the dry way better than the muggy, but the temps are rising overall and it's often way too oppressive to be outside here, especially in the sun, and I love sun... Not oppressive THIS season though, which is often like paradise. Not having my sweat evaporate fast enough drives me crazy, feeling always wet...I think being super tall and relatively slender = more body "surface area" which = more cooling with less internal effort... I see a lot of those with more the opposite physiques fanning themselves a lot with their paddles when we play pickleball...even INdoors. I just don't seem to get as hot...unless it's muggy, which I've always hated. Used to always hate A/C too, but that "luxury" (of avoiding it) is long gone in the 2 1/2 years I've lived here. So...jeez...no idea where I'll "end up" living yet.

...Except to the extent it'll be "on the road"! I like your take and style so far with this quest, Mark... Like you, it seems, I'm trying to sort out what is true, "period", from what is true depending on the person, from what is BS across the board; how much to value different factors like training practices, payscales, how good a fit a company will be, all of it that's good to discuss during and ahead of time... Invaluable that we can all compare those notes, while getting the benefit of the knowledge base and hard-won wisdom of the veterans here... Back to the relative ease of the "weather talk" and get more specific for a moment, like you I have great DIS-interest in training up north, but will if I have to... CA, AZ or UT are looking most likely though. Salt Lake City's pretty cold in the winter, but a man's gotta do...

As for this tricky team driving vs solo debate/discussion/dilemma, so, like you I'm trying to get a better handle on it ahead of time. BUT realizing that as long as I don't lock the decision in in advance (such as at a co. like CRST where there's no option, or where you have to make a solid pre-commitment as to which), we can hopefully decide/will just know, according to how the OTR training goes. Thus am trying to dial in a co. that most closely simulates that, preferably not have it be in the trainer's "own" truck (and not a manual shift), and where I'm not doing ALL the driving, not have that phase be for TOO long or short a time, MAYBE get to take at least a few breaths in solitude afterward, to get the clearest sense of what's next, if still not sure.

So I hope you'll join me back at that "teaming" thread that I started, Mark (and others), where I may need more fellow "newbie backup" ;-) ... Cuz today am probably gonna have to invite more controversy by basically saying crazy stuff like... Perhaps the teaming critics can't quite relate to those who still DO want to start out with a co-driver, because we aren't all the same type of person, not just cuz we're still ignorant. And if that's true, maybe we sense something which WILL make it work out better for some of us, even though not others. If you know what I mean. If you don't well, will hope to shed some tracer light shooting in the dark over there, as I try to pitch the argument for the "pros column" which has already been shot fulla holes ahead of time (for which I remain grateful). Should be interesting!..and hopefully helpful, more than tail-chasing................

Posted:  9 months ago

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New to The Site

Well a Western Express recruiter actually told me very recently that they're "a second chance company". They only do a 3-year look back, so if that's good enough, it sounds like a better option for ya. If you get in, their training period OTR is a solid few weeks. I guess I don't get why you'd be denied everywhere but TransAm so far when so many companies do NOT look back even 4 years... But maybe that's mainly just the MVR and the "Driver IQ" check a lot of 'em use... So you're saying that stuff as old as you say on your "criminal record" has always come up during checks, even the driving in '06, or you didn't get that far cuz you were asked, were honest and did the right thing in disclosing these, and that dis-qualified you? Hang in there, man...would like to hear what exactly happens with W.E.

Posted:  9 months ago

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51 and looking to get CDL... What am i doing?

Sure I'll chime in... If your health is good for your age, and you're otherwise "the type" who'd like it enough, there's a clear consensus that trucking is one of the best options for relatively older people. Less "age-ism", even the opposite compared to the vast majority of careers out there. I'm way older than you, not working yet but a recent CDL grad who's about to get rolling and my age is pretty much the least of my worries. I applied for countless jobs before turning to this, in order to get some income generated for awhile; I've always interviewed well, but nowadays with having to do 'em online, if you're older and they have younger applicants, you're lucky to even get an interview. With almost no exceptions, I did not. And now my age is no longer an obstacle.

Posted:  9 months ago

View Topic:

Official starting with Prime

Joseph, I don't want to be co-opting your "Prime" topic here! Would you prefer I drag this expanded discussion to a fresh thread?

Meantime...Always good to get the opportunity to clarify mis-impressions I create, so thanx as always for the honest feedback, Rob... No matter how careful I am with my words, misunderstandings seem all-too easy to creep in (though the carefulness does help, which is why I try so hard, though still probably not hard enough)...

...I wasn't at all saying anything like that I wanted to pull off a regular schedule of, say, 3 weeks on, 3 weeks off, just that the flexibility if it's needed at times is an apparent rarity (at nearly any job) that I can really appreciate. Since...you know, stuff can happen these days! Long story short, not as much to do with me directly, but a serious crisis at home in the next year is a strong possibility (such as major surgery after which I'm needed for a few weeks, which slowed things down a lot for me during school, but was fine with them). And I'd much rather that not have "whatever" be an emergency L.O.A., but more a built-in flexible job situation that doesn't majorly inconvenience my employer, who naturally passes the stress on to me.

To me, IF it's possible for them, it's a show of real caring that you're truly a valued member of a smallish company's team, and not just industry standard lip service they all seem to (understandably) have to claim in order to compete to attract drivers. Such a company's a place I could easily see myself staying until retirement, but if for good reason I wanted to go elsewhere after a year, good to know that all home time off would still count as fully employed for that year. You may be right, but so far I trust the Placement Director, who knows the company very well, saying that the record would show you put in a full year. Is it industry standard to have to establish how many miles were driven when changing companies? Never heard of that, and the ads all simply say stuff like "minimum 1 year experience", and what he said is you just have to have a year in good standing with them to get the credit, and that companies do vary that way. Of COURSE the more actual experience the better, but I doubt I'd be worried about not having a "solid" year of driving, what, over 300 long days the way most have to, in order to qualify elsewhere for a dedicated western route that gets me home every week.

(I’ve already written a response to O.S. and Kearsey’s thoughtful feedback, but will hold off awhile as I want to think through it all a little more... Plus I’m well aware I’m probably bombarding this forum, and this thread, with more than my share of words…though that dynamic will be changing as soon as I manage to "get a REAL job"! ;-).......

Posted:  9 months ago

View Topic:

Official starting with Prime

Thanx once again, Old Schooler, for the reality check… (This "HomeTime" sub-discussion seems important enough that maybe we should cross-post it to a new thread? I mean, you're revealing some serious inspirational history here, and the topic title's pretty obscure.) Though I’d read of the low profit margin issue in the trucking industry several times before, here and “in the news”, you drove it home for me more here, enough to catalyze a partial breakthrough in my understanding. (I rage against “simplistic thinking” and how it actually betrays the truth, so when I realize I’VE been guilty of it, it’s a real eye-opener.) Before this I’d just been assuming, ‘Hey, all almost any company’s gotta do is hire just enough more drivers so they can give their existing ones more home time, since when they’re not running they’re not being paid anyway. But duh, of course those drivers still do cost the company, just being on the payroll and accruing benefits, etc.; and then there’s the good-ole difficulty of hiring more reliable drivers. Tight margins make those smaller factors prohibitive.

ON THE OTHER HAND, here’s the example that’s been (mis-?)guiding my understanding most:

I graduated from a probably averagely decent CDL school, that appears to be a hybrid of the two main types, which seems a common enough strategy. Though the education is not company "sponsored" and you have to come up with your own tuition funding, the school is owned and run by a parent company, a medium-sized carrier, supposedly the main sub-contractor (unsure if that’s the right term) for a mega-carrier. They both run out of the same building and fairly large lot, and it’s obvious the school is a (non-exclusively) direct-n-easy pipeline for the company to hire lots of new drivers. (Non-exclusive in the sense that they hire plenty from outside; and those like me who get their CDL there aren’t discouraged from working elsewhere instead.) They're totally positioned to make it the path of least resistance for grads to get their first good OTR job, either solo or team. Though for other reasons I'm glad I decided not to go there, by far the biggest draw was that the Placement Director who’d worked for this carrier and also a mega-one assured me that they’re relatively very flexible with home time. (I still think I may end up with them in 2022.) Not to say they advertise or encourage more than the standard amount of home time, but they do allow it if that’s what you really want/need and aren’t gonna budge on it, without threatening to show you the door if you’re a driver in good standing. I’m talking like up to 3 WEEKS off between OTR runs!, with no company consequence except the slip seat, so of course you have to clear your stuff out of the truck when you get back to the home terminal, but no biggie there. And you still get to claim 1 year experience after your first year, he said. (This P.D. seems totally credible and I’ve an ex-classmate about to put the home time to the test; the guy I was gonna team with).

So, naturally I figured if THEY can give some drivers a lot more home time, why can’t other companies?! Though I now newly understand the market and other realities better, the factors blocking nearly all carriers from doing that, I still can’t see anything so superior about this company’s M.O. that they should be such a rare exception. They pay very competitively, so it’s not that… My best not-well-enough-educated guess is that being a sub-contractor for an industry titan reduces their operating complexity, along with using the hybrid model, and thus controls their expenses enough, that they can take on more of the new drivers coming out of “their” school than almost any other company could?

Insights, anyone? —JD

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