Comments By Brian K.

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  • Brian K.
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Posted:  5 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Good Morning,

Short update on Saturday's school stuff. Saturday was once again pre-trip review. We all stood around the truck and trailer while the instructor explain how we are to point and say things in order to past the pre-trip. I'm getting mix messages about what we need to know for pre-trip vs what the students who are working to get their CDL permit need to know. Since my group has their CDL one instructor said will not be graded and we do not have to recite the pre-trip info verbatim. Guess I will know more in the days to come.

I was also told Monday will be more pre-trip and on Tuesday we will start with the driving maneuvers. Can't wait for that.

That's it for Saturday. FYI, Saturday was a half day, in at 7 am out by 12.

See you all next week. Brian

Posted:  5 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Sitting here at Stevens, lunch time, and thought I give you all an update.

Day 3, 4, and 5 that would be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, has been really slow for my group. We were told the instructors are waiting for a group of student paper testing for their permit so we can join them. My group is small, remember we are in a refresher course. There was 7 but we are down to 4. One left, don't know why, one did not get past the physical, and the other had a family emergency.

Days 3, 4, and 5 have been basically just doing review of pre-trip and spending some time on the simulator. It's all good I guess, just taking one day at a time. Some of the my group and other students are getting a little frustrated and I can see why but you need to go with the flow and not let it bother you.

But what I can say is the stories some of the students have told me concerning why they are here makes me more appreciative of what I have at home and my financial status. I not wealthy, I just retire and my wife is still working and I could go without a job but I have one kid and he will be ready for college in a year and hopefully the money I might make here will help him out with a car, living expenses, and tuition.

Many of the students here come with very little money in hopes Stevens Transport will be the answer to their financial needs. Some of the reasons make me a little sad and I truly hope they all succeed here and get to where they need in life. Hope they all pass and enjoy life on the road.

I have a goal which I will share late in the blog but first I want to see if i can make to getting a truck and running solo. I will explain more later.

Have a nice weekend and I will be back next Monday or Tuesday with more updates.

Brian pre-Stevens driver, lol

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Thanks Old School,

That's how the first day at Stevens made me feel. So I am taking your post to heart. Today was very uneventful. There was a computer glitch which caused me and a couple of other student to have to redo some medical info online before they could continue with the physical. One student had to redo the online form 3 times. I start at 7:30 and finally finished the physical around 12:30. Did a little more paper work after lunch. They did not have much else for us to do so the trainer put us on the simulator for a couple of hours and then off to the motel.

That's it for day 2

See you all later!

Brian

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Hi All,

Well I'm here at Stevens Transport. Arrived Sunday afternoon and the Stevens van picked me up at the airport. When I got to the Luna Lodge, where Stevens keep there drivers, the motel was full and they had to put me in an overflow room. Monday after coming back from my first day of training I was assigned a permanent room. Here are few facts I know for sure:

1) They do not pay for your travel to Stevens

2) They do not pay for your room.

3) They front you $70.00 a week for food.

They will front you the money for travel, food, and the room but you have to pay it back a little each week when you start driving. Since I am doing the 3 week refresher course It will cost $600.00 for the motel. I paid for my own travel and will not take the food advance money.

So what did I do on my first day, mostly paper work and waiting around. Complete half of the physical. Tomorrow morning I will finish the physical. That's about it for day one.

What did I think about the place so far? They seemed a little disorganized. They kind of make you feel like you in 5th grade. How, they would say things like stand here, don't leave this spot, what did I just tell you, things like that. I have to admit, there had to be at least 50 students or more in the school and each group of students were at different levels. It reminded me of a factory but for students. So I would imagine, at least in the beginning, the trainers needs to keep a short leash on the student or it could get out of control. Covid wise, there was lots of Plexiglas between seats or chairs are set apart. Everyone pretty much kept their mask on as well.

I haven't got anything other companies to compare it but for the first day I would say it was just OK. Nothing to write home about. Hoping as each day goes by and trainer gets to know you the 5th grade attitude will go away.

I keep updating the page when I can.

Brian

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

First of all, for those who thought you may be to old to start a driving career, go for it. I am in my late 60's. I drove during the 70's, 80's & 90's but had a desk job for the past 24 years. Now that I am retired, I going back on the road for a few years.

I know there are a couple of people in these forums that suggested I might want to keep looking for another place to start and I appreciate your opinion. But Stevens was the only place in the past 2 to 3 months that would take me with no recent experience and since since I have my CDL the recruiter said, if you can believe him, the refresher course would only be a few days to maybe a week depending on my skills training.

I have to find out if I can still do it. Not all the bull crap stuff the company may ask me to do but the driving, dealing with the traffic, the hours behind the wheel, waiting to get loaded/unloaded, working with dispatchers, truck stop parking etc... those kind of things.

So I am leaving this Sunday and starting orientation on Monday. If anyone is interested, I'll try and update the blog with my experiences objectively while at Stevens. I'm excited and apprehensive at the same time,

Brian

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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ELD and DPF emissions questions

Thanks for the update but I need to get some recent experience. I have been politely turned down by many companies because of not having any recent experience or they tell me they are not hiring from my area, I dare not turn down a job offer after looking for the past 3 months. I know money is important to everyone but right now experience is more important to me right now. I'm easy to get along with and will see how things go. As soon as I get past the prelim and not being sent home for any reason, I'll start a blog on the "CDL Training Diaries" with my experience there. I'm excited and hope things go well!

Brian

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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ELD and DPF emissions questions

I enjoy reading all your comments and this old trucker is learns something new here every time. I say old trucker because I haven't driven OTR or any semi's for over 24 years. I kept my CDL current during all that time. Now that I have retired from a desk job after 24 years, I started searching for a driving position a couple months ago but no one would hire me because of my lack of recent experience and those that might of did not hire out of my area, Fort Lauderdale. Even offer to buy a truck and lease to a company and was refused as well for the same reason.

After a few months of searching and not getting anywhere, I was offered a job with "Stevens Transport, Inc" today. I spoke to the recruiter a couple of times but today, over the phone, we discuss my application and he said everything looks good. A few minutes later he sent me the official "Welcome to Stevens Transport, Inc" letter via email. I have a start date of January 11th. There will be some training involved and a few weeks with a driver trainer. I am excited and nervous at the same time, but feel confident I can so this. I'll probably be the oldest student driver there at 67 years old but hoping my past driving experience of 18 years and racking up 1.5+ million miles during the 80's and 90's will come back to me like riding a bike. Hope so!

Thanks for all the info and keep an eye out on the "CDL Training Diaries" section. I may start a blog there to let drivers know what Stevens training is like in 2021.

Brian

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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ELD and DPF emissions questions

That's some good info to know. I been reading a lot about the emissions controls and getting conflicting information. The one common theme is it can cause your engine to fail prematurely. I been thinking about buying a used truck, nothing soon, but it would be a real bummer if the engine had to be rebuilt in the first year or so due to the emissions on the truck. I am also assuming you can idle, trucks without emissions controls or deleted, in all states except Ca. to say warn or cool without the police citing you in a truck stop. I'm really not concerned with ELD's. I believe they are here to stay and doubt I will buy older than 1999 if I even go that route.

Thanks for the info

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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ELD and DPF emissions questions

Hello my trucking compadres,

I have been out of trucking for many years and I have a few questions. This is more for my own knowledge than anything else and I have googled the questions but received different answers so I thought someone who has been through it can give me more concise answers. 1) When did ELD’s come into existence and when did they become mandatory? 2) What year trucks are ELD exempt? 3) When did the first emission controls start, EGR etc...? 4) What year trucks are free of any DEF, DPF, or EGR controls, not deleted but original? 5) If your truck is originally free of emission controls, not deleted, where can you drive or not drive the trucks, include Canada? 6) If you have your truck deleted, is it illegal? 7) Would the same state consider a deleted truck illegal and a original emission free truck legal? 8) Does DOT check for emissions controls or if your truck has been deleted. 9) Isn’t it easy to tell if your truck has been deleted by how much soot comes out the exhaust?

If you have time, I’d like you hear your comments.

Brian

Posted:  6 months ago

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18 years driving but none recent, Want to get back to it, HELP??

Hi Compadres, A strange thing happened to me and I thought I would bring it to light. I sent in an application via Tenstreet to a company I thought I had a really good chance at getting a driving job. They knew I did not have any recent experience but provide some training. If you read any of the pages above you will know I haven’t driven in over 20 years. Anyways after a week or so, in the Pulse-Tenstreet app, I notice my application was declined. I also notice the reports they pulled on me, the CDLIS, MVR, and Employment Database, were all neatly uploaded in the Pulse-Tenstreet app as well. I have to stop here and give a little background before going forward with my story.

In July I checked the status of the my CDL knowing I was retiring after 24 years at a desk job at the end of the month. During those years I had always renewed my CDL and DOT physical. So, on the web, I put my driver’s license in the cell and hit enter. It returned saying my license was “DISQUALIFIED”. I was shocked. I called the CDL helpdesk immediately and a guy by the name of Scott answered. After a short conversation he asked me to fax my DOT card and pay a 75-dollar fee. I did this immediately and within three hours my license was valid again. Never gave it a second thought. OK, back to the story.

As I mentioned above, I noticed my application was declined. After thoroughly reviewing the documents they received on me and I could only come up with one reason for the decline, I answered NO to question number 1 under "Motor Vehicle Record", Has any license, permit or privilege ever been denied, suspended or revoked for any reason? To them it must have seemed like I falsified my answer. But there was no malice, no wrongful intentions or anything nefarious with my answer. It was due to the failure to “self-certify” my current DOT medical card. According to the docs, in Nov of 2019 my CDL was disqualified until I corrected the problem in July of 2020. Scott, the CDL help desk guy never mention self-certification during our conversation either. When filling out the application, I did not connect question one with the self-certify issue. What the hell is “Self-Certification”. I never hear of this until now. When I drove a tractor trailer, pre-2000, there wasn’t any self-certification for DOT physicals. Just like automatic transmissions in trucks, it hadn’t been developed yet. Well, I googled it and in 2012 there was a push for all the states to get the driver’s medical cert into the CDLIS by 2014. Yep, happened after my driving years. I guess as long as I answer “yes” to question one in future applications and leave an explanation it shouldn’t have a negative affect going forward. I can’t imagine why it would.

I tried to called the company Friday morning and again after lunch and left voice mail each time but never received a reply. I gave up and sent an email late Friday evening. Still nothing as of this writing. With no recent experience, but they knew that on the initial call before sending in the app, and then this DOT medical card issue, I’m not really sure what the real reason may be. I’m still hoping I get an answer. Hate being left hanging.

Guess I will be self-certifying from now on.

Live and Learn, Brian

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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18 years driving but none recent, Want to get back to it, HELP??

I updated my bio with an email address and phone number. If anyone knows a company that might consider me for an OTR job, (see qualification in previous replies) and would not otherwise want to reply to this blog, please look up my bio and feel free to email or call. Any leads will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Brian

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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18 years driving but none recent, Want to get back to it, HELP??

Thanks for the reply Pack Rat, I don't consider myself a primadonna, just the opposite. I would welcome going out with a trainer for how ever long it takes. But that is where I am having trouble, finding a company that will give me that opportunity. I will need training with ELD's and probably will not be lucky enough to get a standard transmission so I will need training on the automatics. Also, I am sure load planning is a high priority now. Back then most of the drivers I knew, including myself, kept multiple log books so we could be where ever we needed to be without worrying about hos. Companies I worked for never even asked for the logs. Driving a truck down the highway should basically be the same but everything else I will need to re-learn. I am actually looking forward to running legal. One last thing, for those that may be reading this, I really like to pull a flatbed. I don't have much experience, just one year and that was my first driving job. But right now, I willing to pull anything if given the opportunity. I would be glad to leave my email address but not sure if it proper to do so here. Maybe the moderator will let me know if it is allowed. If so, I will leave it on the next post. I enjoy reading your replies and hope I may get a couple of good references with your help. I will post my progress in my quest to getting back in the driver's seat. Thanks for reading!

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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18 years driving but none recent, Want to get back to it, HELP??

HELP, no recent experience in 20+ years and living in South Florida, (Ft. Lauderdale) is getting me down. I'm willing to take a refresher course, ride with a trainer, and stay out 2 or 3 week at a time, I'll pull any type of trailer any place it needs to go. It doesn't matter to me as long as I can get some OTR experience. If you haven't read the previous post, I have driven 1.5 million miles or more of driving over all 48 states and never had an accident. I have a current CDL A with XTP endorsements, a current Twic card, current DOT physical and a valid passport and only one minor speeding ticket in any vehicle in the past 10 years. actually longer than that. I filled an application out with Cypress Express and they replied via email they do not hire any further south than West Palm Beach. That sounded a little fishy to me considering I only 50 south of there. Another company said i would need to go to school and redo my cdl all over again. I spoke to a recruiter with Knight Transportation. He seemed genuinely nice. He said if I could get 3 months of clean OTR experience to call him back. I feel like I am so close but just can't just find the right company to give me a shot.

To whom ever may be reading this, if you know any company that may consider me for a job, please reply to this post. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I am going to make a few more calls next week. Hope something turns up. Thank you all for reading this and if you happen to reply, thanks again.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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18 years driving but none recent, Want to get back to it, HELP??

Thanks for that last reply and I have a little more news to report. Today took the hazmat test for Florida. I used the hazmat practice test I found on line to study from, read all of section 9 in Florida's CDL handbook, and passed quite easily. While there I filled out the TSA form and got finger printed for the background check. When I asked how long it will take for the background check to get processed, the DMV guy said he doesn't normally see the requesters after they leave the DMV but from what he is hearing I should get a notice of pass or failure in approximately 45 day or less. If passed, a new license updated with the endorsement will accompany the letter. So cool, my endorsement current reads, ntp and the new should read XTP. Monday, I have an appointment to get a TWIC card. If shouldn't be a problem especially if the background check for the hazmat is approved. It's the same TSA check. Anyways, I was a little nervous but all went well.

More to report as it happens. Stay safe!!

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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18 years driving but none recent, Want to get back to it, HELP??

Thanks for the reply and advice.

I been thinking the refresher course is probably the easiest way to get back into it, therefore I agree with you wholeheartedly. Maybe after a few months of driving otr and talking to other drivers I might find a company to take me on as an owner operator. Also, since things have changed so much, ELD's, automatics, cameras etc, this will give me the opportunity to experience what it is like on the road compared to when I left. Maybe I will find it sooo different I may not want to continue on this path. On another note, I have an appointment with DMV to take the Hazmat test on the 8th and an appointment with TSA on the 12th to get my TWIC card. So this will give me CDL with Hazmat, if passed, Tanker, doubles/triples, and Passenger and a pass to enter the port here in Fort Lauderdale or Miami or for that matter any port in the US I think. I am hoping this will give me a leg up with some companies.

Again, thanks Rob for the advice and will update the forum as things change.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

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18 years driving but none recent, Want to get back to it, HELP??

Hi all, hope this is the right place to ask this. So, I retired from this current company and really don't have to work but can't sit home doing nothing and have always thought of driving again. I keep my CDL current and have tanker and double/triples endorsements still on it, although I never pulled a tanker or doubles/triples. I had Hazmat but when I when to renew I said I wasn't currently driving and they would not let me keep the hazmat. Every two years I been keeping up my Dot physical card. The one I have expires 7/21. I'm sure when a company ask for the long form what that is but I have a card or piece of paper mentioning section 391.41 signed by a doctor approving me to drive. It was a DOT physical but never got any kind of long form.

That's all well and good but the problem is I don't have any recent experience. Also, need to throw this into the mix, I have some money and currently looking to buy a good used truck outright no financing and a mac flatbed trailer and lease it out somewhere, maybe Mercer or CRST Malone, or somewhere. Any Ideas? Regardless, I am back to no recent experience. I have 18 years of driving experience, 1977 - 1995, and a million and a half miles and I am probably under estimating that number. I was hoping I could test out, do a drivers road test at the company etc..., but stick around for the ELD and Securing a load training. So my question to my past and future trucking compadres, what do I do? I really can't afford my own authority and all the insurance that goes with it. Maybe later but I would just like to either lease my truck and trailer to be, or at least just the truck to start. I not going out there tomorrow and buy the truck and trailer until I get a clear picture and know things will work out. I might even wait until after the Christmas holiday to be home with my wife and kid and avoid the holiday down time. Maybe the covid thing might be in better shape by then as well. You know I can't go buy all this stuff and no one hires me, which would really suck. If anyone has any ideas please post. I will keep looking for your comments. Thanks Guys. One more thing, wtf happen? There are automatic transmissions now??? I understand all the avoidance stuff but automatic transmission? Companies could find people who could not drive a stick? lol. I was so flabbergasted I had to google it to find the history on this. Sorry this kind of went a little longer than I meant it to go. Anyways, If you’re interested in my driving history you can read the rest of the book below.

Let me give you a brief history of my past first. Dad was a logger in upstate NY, way up state. He would cut them down, I skidding them out and loading them using a crane with tongs on to my own 10 wheeler International truck. Dad retired, I move to Richmond Va. and found a job with lumber company. Drove day truck (18 wheeler) pulling a flatbed doing local deliveries for a couple of years. Guy across street from lumber yard asked me to drive for him hauling livestock. We either went west across route 60 into Charleston WV to Ohio and Indiana or south to the Carolina's and picked up pigs, 230 or so on a triple decker, and delivered to Smithfield packing. Highway 60 was and probably still is one of the most dangerous roads in the country. We crossed it during the winter with a foot or more of fresh snow and curves where you could see the back of your trailer out the passenger window. You could look out the driver's window and see over the guardrail and never see the bottom of the drop off. Thinking back on those days it's a wonder nothing ever happen. Most freight companies would not allow their drivers on this road. They made them go around through PA turnpike to go west into Ohio etc.... Once loaded we could only stop for a few minutes for fuel and food to go. Anyone who ever pull a livestock trailer knows what I am talking about. I was proud to be a bullhauler but there was little sleeping time. Good thing ELD were not around, probably would have gotten a life sentence if caught. Later move on to Mullinax Refrigerated freight hauling Ice Cream out of Cincinnati to Kroger food's warehouse in Roanoke Va. and soda pop back out of Bluefield WV. Not too long after I was hire I was assigned a beautiful 15 Speed, two sticks a 5 x 4, AutoCar with a 3406 cat all decked out in chrome. Real head turner. I could hit 80 or higher and never make it to high gear. When that job kinda petered out, a guy in Knoxville with a few trucks leased to different companies hired me. I was leased for a while to Cheyenne Express and drove all 48 states. Think I been on every main highway in the United States. Stayed there for many years until my sister convinced me to come off the road and move in with her in Fort Lauderdale until I could find my own place. That's the last time I drove a semi. All in all about 18 years, 1977 - 1995, and a million and a half miles and I am probably under estimating that. BTW, I never had an accident, a couple of speeding tickets but no accidents. If you wondering what happen after that, I ended up getting a bachelors degree in Computer Science and worked for 24 years for a local college in Fort Lauderdale, the last 10 years of those years or so as Assistance Director of Technology. I have no interest in working in that field anymore. Need to get back to my roots, lol. That's it, need to get back on the road again.

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