Comments By James H.

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Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Help! CDL school didn't teach me to down shift

No they did not teach me to downshift. They told us to slow down coming to red lights and if it turned green then to proceed and let the truck catch up. If we had to stop at a red light/ stop sign they told us to reset back to 4th gear.

Around here, as part of the test you're required to pull to the side of the road - not blocking any signs or driveways, set your brakes and four-way flashers, and describe what you'd do as far as placing your triangles. Then safely reenter traffic. And you're always supposed to downshift to sixth before coming to a stop. So slowing and downshifting is unavoidable even if you somehow hit nothing but green lights.

My first and only job is with an LTL carrier, and the driving audition they gave me was the first time I'd ever driven an automatic transmission truck. I still prefer a manual for backing into a dock or coupling the doubles I pull as a linehaul driver, since I like being able to feather the clutch and can be more gentle and in control. Although I've gotten OK with the automatic.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Automatic restriction

I believe in most states you'd only have to take the road test portion of the hands-on testing - you're all done with the pre-trip and backing maneuvers.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Scared about a DOT Physical

If you do the local private CDL school route, be sure to find out where they place their graduates. Since it seems you have a specific job in mind, ask what schools they accept. And check with a few other employers so you have options. I did private school, and one of the companies I contacted told me their safety department doesn't have that school on their list of approved facilities. I ended up getting hired for a local job I'm very happy with so it turned out fine for me. But a few phone calls now will ensure your training gets you where you want to be.

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

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New job twist: a Russian company

double-quotes-start.png

I do know though that the most important thing is to pay your taxes. So I don't see how 1099 can be illegal if the bottom line is paying taxes to the government.

I would want to be very sure about insurance. If you're an independent contractor, you may be required to carry your own insurance for operating a CMV. Both I and my significant other have worked as 1099s, and we had to carry our own Professional Liability/Errors and Omissions insurance, since we weren't covered by the companies we were contracted with. Different line of work, but the same concept may apply.

Posted:  4 months ago

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Ordained Minister and Trucking

You will have to declare your work hours against your 70 hour clock (will be explained in CDL Academy).

This is likely to be the main issue. Whether you're doing God's work or anyone else's, if you're being paid for it, it doesn't count as off-duty for HOS purposes. If you're working a typical M-F linehaul job it's a lot less complicated than it can get for OTR, but you'll need at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty every day, and an additional 34-hour reset each weekend. You might be able to get creative in how you define your pastoral duties and compensation, or claim that your First Amendment rights should protect you from the rules that otherwise apply, but those rules exist for a reason: you need some down time. I would think that as a pastor, you have a duty to your flock to be available when they're in crisis, and that could place you in conflict with your driving responsibilities.

Posted:  4 months ago

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General question about endorsements

If you might be interested in a local job, I would recommend doubles-triples as well. As a LTL linehaul driver, I pull doubles about 95% of the time. I get at least a couple placarded trailers a week, so the hazmat endorsement gets plenty of use too.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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A new turn on my winding road

That seems kind of harsh, in that both accidents involved fairly minor damage to the company's equipment, not anything at a customer's location or with another motorist. They could, and maybe will, take care of the repairs without even notifying their insurer. Still, when one door closes, another opens. Keep the positive attitude and you'll be fine.

Posted:  4 months, 4 weeks ago

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Considering a career in Redding CA

People on this forum will give the reasons why they feel that starting out working local LTL isn't a good idea. I don't question any of their reasoning, but for some of us it's the only driving job that allows us to attend to things at home that are important to us. I don't feel qualified to give anyone career advice, but for me at least, three months in and so far so good. I would just caution you not to spread yourself too thin. You can't work a 12-hour shift, then come home and spend the next 12 hours caring for everyone but yourself.

Here's one in Redding: https://jobs.xpo.com/US/job/Redding-Truck-Driver-Home-Daily-CA-96001/664939400/

Posted:  5 months ago

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Is it possible to get paid cdl training locally?

Dock workers at XPO Logistics get paid at their hourly salary while being trained as drivers. I don't know how long you need to work there before you can apply for the training program.

https://jobs.xpo.com/key/louisville-kentucky.html

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Two months solo at Schneider

Congrats! I couldn't believe it when I looked at the calendar, but today I finish my eighth week solo! I feel like there's still so much to learn.

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

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Uncle trying to talk me out of trucking

S your uncle an orthopedist, or specifically your orthopedist? If not, his medical advise is worthless. What does your actual doctor say, either about sitting at the wheel for long hours, or doing some physical work as long as you use good technique like lifting with your legs, keeping the weight close to your body, etc? Old School is correct that, at least in my experience doing LTL, local work can involve a fair amount of freight handling, but fork lifts and pallet jacks do all the heavy lifting. And reputable companies aren't interested in their drivers going out on disability, so they stress lifting properly, not trying too much, getting help if something is too heavy, and saying no if the situation seems dangerous to you, your truck, or the freight.

Personally I like the change of pace and the chance to get off my rear end and move around a bit. My hiring process included a physical capabilities test with things like carrying a weight, pulling against resistance, and stepping up and down off a platform multiple times with pulse monitored. So far I haven't encountered anything more rigorous than the test. My hours doing linehaul are like 12 hours a night, five nights a week. If I switch to P&D after I have some seniority, the hours should decrease to maybe ten hours a day. But I'll be making less money.

As far as trashiness, I expect the percentage of trashy drivers is about the same as in any other profession. The overwhelming majority of my encounters with the other drivers at my company have been positive. But as a local driver, I've never been to a truck stop and the only time I'll be at a rest area is to read and reply to a text, or to check something on the truck. So maybe I don't get to see the bad behavior.

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

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I keep stalling with the clutch

CI'm always starting out of a stop in 4th gear- which is kinda the "policy" at the school.

If it's only 'kinda' the policy, why not try starting in 3rd, or even 2nd? Can't be worse than what you're experiencing now.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mom of 3 under 5

I don't agree that kids necessarily need a stationary home and a stay-at-home parent, but in a team driving situation, one of you is supposed to be resting while the other drives, not managing three kids in a very confined space. Are your kids in pre-school or day care for at least part of the day? If so, one option might be for your husband to get a local linehaul job, which tend to be overnights, while you do the daytime yard spotting job. But this only works if he can get some meaningful rest during the day, and you at night.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Has anyone ever been a yard dog?

Based on what I've observed, that job looks anything but boring. Those guys are go-go-go constantly. As navypoppop noted, communication is a key. Assume any radio transmissions you make can be heard by everyone at the facility, so it's essential to be professional and keep your cool at all times. Good luck!

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Different states with different driving cultures.

Where I come from, a left arrow on the floor is always accompanied by an arrow on the light in front of it. And when the arrow is green the oncoming traffic light is always red. I’ve never seen a solid green with floor arrow combo in my life.

This assertion caught my attention. This photo, which I hope I attached correctly, is the southbound approach of Canfield Ave to Route 10 in Randolph NJ. It is right down the street from the Randolph MVC and is on the route of every CDL road test given at this location, including the one I took. There's a dedicated left turn lane, but no left turn only phase on the signal timing. I've never heard of anyone flunking the test for the reason the OP gives. I think he just had a brain freeze. It happens, and luckily in this case the stakes were low. Retaking the test is no big deal. Nobody was injured, so it's OK.

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Posted:  7 months ago

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Company CDL school tuition

I own my cars, and insurance is not required in NH.

Wow is this really true? So if I'm driving my (hypothetical) $85,000 Mercedes to my (again, hypothetical) summer camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, and some uninsured kid with no assets and no job T-bones me, I'm SOL.

Posted:  7 months ago

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XPO Local LTL For New CDL Grads?

If you do P&D, you'll make the hourly rate for the first 8 hours of your shift, then time and a half for anything after. If you're doing linehaul, you'll make that rate for any time working the dock, and while doing non-driving tasks like hooking and dropping your trailers, and fueling the tractor. The actual driving for linehaul is paid at something like 58 cents a mile. BTW these rates all go up on May 30 when a company-wide 3% raise takes effect. I doubt there's a contract, rather you'll get part of the bonus at 6 month, part at 12 ,etc.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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First official load turned down....

Did you at least check out the receiver's location on Google satellite view? The area in the East Bronx near Co-op City is not so different from most suburban locations, while other neighborhoods have roads and buildings built to accommodate horse-draw freight movements, not 53-foot vans.

Posted:  7 months, 3 weeks ago

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Feasability of buying a truck and hiring another driver to keep the wheels rolling - CDL but no current experience

I would recommend you spend some time driving and getting first-hand experience of the industry before making that kind of capital investment. If your business plan makes sense, it will still make sense in a year or so, but you'll be better informed about how, and whether, to do this.

Posted:  8 months ago

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Things Are Bad, Running Out of Time

Eugene - the indisputable fact is that you CAN do this. You have successfully backed. Not consistently enough for you, or apparently for your company. But you have done it, and you can do it again. It's demonstrably not beyond your physical or mental capacity. As noted earlier, nerves don't move the trailer, and for that matter neither do the fates, or random chance. Specific control inputs (steering, braking, acceleration) have specific, repeatable effects on the truck's motion, every time. Without knowing the specifics of your situation, I'll suggest that one possibility is that you make a steering input, but don't get the desired result because you haven't given it enough time. So you steer back the other way, or oversteer. I did, and sometimes still do this. I'm creeping along so slowly, or am at a complete standstill, so no matter how much I turn the wheel, it does nothing.

Anyway, this is meant as a pep talk of sorts, so please take it as such. Go get 'em!

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