Follow Me To CDL School!

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Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

Hello TruckingTruth,

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Josh and I am 25 years old. I live in the Northwest Georgia area. I recently got married in May of 2012. I have been employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant for the past two years. I was pursuing a degree in the medical field when I decided it just was not for me. Since I was little, I have always been fascinated with trucks and truck stops. I have no previous experience or background in the trucking industry. I just did my research and it sounded like the perfect lifestyle for me. I say lifestyle because it is just that. It is not a job! A job is Monday-Friday,8-5, and home every night. Not everyone will be cut out for this type of lifestyle, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself in to. I am a perfect example showing that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can give a CDL license a chance. I know there will be many of you reading this that have not yet registered for this forum. I was just like you when I first started. I browsed around for a while before I finally signed up. I encourage you to sign up ASAP and take advantage of all this forum has to offer. If you do not do anything else on this forum, make sure you check out the High Road Training Program . If you are wondering how you are ever going to study or learn all of this information in such short time, then this is the link for you! Your are more than welcome to follow along with me through my journey. I myself, as well as others, will be more than happy to assist you through the process. Please, Please, Please (I can not stress it enough) ask questions!!! You may never know something unless you ask. There is just to much info to tell you, so please ask any specific questions you may have. Please check back frequently, as I will blog about my experiences. I will take you from starting school, all the way to driving my own assigned truck. Goodluck on your journey! I hope to see all of you out on the road someday!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Are you already signed up for a school or are you still trying to decide where you're going to go?

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

Hey TruckingTruth,

I recently graduated from Georgia Northwestern Technical College on February 25. Here is a link to the program for those interested:

GNTC Commercial Truck Driving

I started school on January 7. It was an eight week program that ran Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 1:15pm. Before registering for the class I needed the following:

~DOT Physical $38 ~DOT Drug Test $35 ~Motor Vehicle Report $8 ~CDL AP Learner's Permit $45

In Georgia, we have what is known as the HOPE Grant. It helped fund some of the cost of the program. The school is also provided money from the government to help lower the cost of tuition. The approximate cost is $1,200-$1,300, and I paid $839 out of pocket. Most starter companies have tuition reimbursement up to $6,000, so I should not have a problem getting my money back. I spent an additional $32 on books. They included an hours of service book, two log books, and a road atlas. The main book for the class ($50) was provided by the school. They have copies in the class paid for by trucking companies. They lend them out, and we turn them back in at the end of the 8 weeks. At the end of the class, I had to pay $50 for my road test. It was given by a third party tester. He is a retired CDL teacher from the school.

I chose this program for a couple of reasons. The main reason was because it allowed me to keep my full time job while going to school. It also allowed me to keep my job options open after graduation. On the first day of class, I went in and noticed only one other student. AWESOME! It was only me and him for the whole 8 weeks. I had my own truck the whole time and ended up with 526 miles and 16.5 hours OTR behind the wheel. There where some days I was able to be OTR behind the wheel for 2-3 hours at a time. During my class, we went over the basic pre-trip, maneuvers, and road driving. One thing that really helped me out was I had the chance to do a full pre-trip on the truck everyday for 8 weeks. There where some days later on in the program that we just did a shorter version. We also learned log books and trip planning during my class. I have heard some other students in various programs say they were not taught this.

It was a great experience and I am very happy with the choice I made. I understand everybody's situation is different. I encourage you to do your research and find out which route is best for you. There are many different options for schooling out there. I am sure I have left out some information here so if you have questions please feel free to ask. I am always glad to help.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Wayne N.'s Comment
member avatar

GA Rookie So, I've been lurking around the web on trucking sights and found this one. This is by far the most positive and encouraging place to be on the web. I've been working on The High Road Training Program for about a week....and I can't for the life of me understand how some people can show up and learn all of this stuff in a few weeks. I think Brett understands that students don't learn it in a few weeks. They pass a test and move on. I want to learn/know it. Congratulations on the 97% !! I won't be training for another six months or so. However, I'm 51 and it will be a whole life-change. One I'm looking forward to. I only hope I haven't romanticized the trucker life too much. The High Road Training has me kinda scared/overwhelmed. Like you, I want to team drive and have someone in mind who will be training soon after I (hopefully) finish the training. The part the has me the most nervous is the OTR training after obtaining the CDL...your next step. What if the trainer and I don't "click". I hope I have a trainer who is extremely safety oriented and wants to share that knowledge. "Book" knowledge and practical knowledge are two separate things (for me). The "book" knowledge helps, but I particularly want to work with someone who can translate that into real world working know how.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey Wayne - welcome aboard!

When you do begin you're training you're going to laugh at how far ahead of the class you are after completing our High Road Training Program. It's highly effective. And make sure you go through the logbook and weight & balance sections too - they're really, really important to know but the schools don't teach them well at all.

The entire training program has the actual CDL manual built right in, except those two sections. We built those ourselves from scratch.

Your concerns about the type of trainer you wind up with are valid. There are a lot of trainers out there who really have no interest in training at all. They're just doing it to make a few extra bucks and to them the student is either a nuisance or cheap labor to help them make their lease payments.

But ya know what? Every day out there you're going to run into tons of incredibly challenging and frustrating situations - terrible traffic, terrible weather, tight schedules, erratic sleep patterns, a lack of parking at the truck stops, poor directions, and very aggressive drivers just to name a few. Trucking is stressful at times and very challenging for everyone. So having to deal with a trainer that has a poor personality or is doing it for the wrong reasons is simply one more challenge to deal with along the way.

Don't think too far out and try to learn, absorb, understand, and prepare for every possible situation. That quickly becomes overwhelming. Just relax and focus on what's in front of you, and right now the only thing in front of you is the High Road Training Program and lots of reading about the trucking industry. Make sure you work your way through our Trucker's Career Guide if you haven't already. It's critical reading for everyone new to the industry.

But the trainer you'll have, the company you'll choose, and a whole host of other things are far off yet and you'll be able to handle them when the time comes the same way you're handling what's in front of you right now - just one moment at a time, one day at a time. You'll get through it all just fine. smile.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

Hey TruckingTruth,

I will begin orientation/training with Crete Carrier Corp. on May 19. It will be an 8 week training program, and then I will become a solo OTR driver. I will do my best to keep you updated as I go through the process. If anyone is interested in more detailed info on Crete, please feel free to ask. Also, feel free to ask any questions about my entire process from start to finish. I will be more than happy to pay it forward and help on the same forum that has helped me. Good luck to all my fellow newbies out there that are headed for the same process. Wish me luck!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
member avatar

Hey Wayne - welcome aboard!

When you do begin you're training you're going to laugh at how far ahead of the class you are after completing our High Road Training Program. It's highly effective. And make sure you go through the logbook and weight & balance sections too - they're really, really important to know but the schools don't teach them well at all.

The entire training program has the actual CDL manual built right in, except those two sections. We built those ourselves from scratch.

Your concerns about the type of trainer you wind up with are valid. There are a lot of trainers out there who really have no interest in training at all. They're just doing it to make a few extra bucks and to them the student is either a nuisance or cheap labor to help them make their lease payments.

But ya know what? Every day out there you're going to run into tons of incredibly challenging and frustrating situations - terrible traffic, terrible weather, tight schedules, erratic sleep patterns, a lack of parking at the truck stops, poor directions, and very aggressive drivers just to name a few. Trucking is stressful at times and very challenging for everyone. So having to deal with a trainer that has a poor personality or is doing it for the wrong reasons is simply one more challenge to deal with along the way.

Don't think too far out and try to learn, absorb, understand, and prepare for every possible situation. That quickly becomes overwhelming. Just relax and focus on what's in front of you, and right now the only thing in front of you is the High Road Training Program and lots of reading about the trucking industry. Make sure you work your way through our Trucker's Career Guide if you haven't already. It's critical reading for everyone new to the industry.

But the trainer you'll have, the company you'll choose, and a whole host of other things are far off yet and you'll be able to handle them when the time comes the same way you're handling what's in front of you right now - just one moment at a time, one day at a time. You'll get through it all just fine. smile.gif

Thanks for that comment Brett, that is what I am doing is thinking too far ahead, I need to focus on what is happening now (dang log books) and not worry about the physical or getting sent home because I hit a curb or any of the numerous other reasons to be sent packing, that have went through my mind. My biggest fear is being ) will that have any affect on my ability to get into Central? It doesn't say anything about that just wondering. I owned a restaurant and closed in 2011, it is some left over debts incurred by the business.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Kathy the restaurant business is very tough - I know, because I used to make signs for restaurant people who couldn't pay me for what I made them. I one time had to eat $8,500.00 worth of tacos just to get paid. That got old real fast, but I digress. What I wanted to say was don't worry about your debts; that's not going to be a hang up - there are lots of people that have gotten into trucking because they were in debt. It's okay, just take a deep breath and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Concentrate on the task at hand, and one day it will start moving along so fast, the very velocity of your progress will be what frightens you. Good luck and keep at it!

Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Kathy the restaurant business is very tough - I know, because I used to make signs for restaurant people who couldn't pay me for what I made them. I one time had to eat $8,500.00 worth of tacos just to get paid. That got old real fast, but I digress. What I wanted to say was don't worry about your debts; that's not going to be a hang up - there are lots of people that have gotten into trucking because they were in debt. It's okay, just take a deep breath and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Concentrate on the task at hand, and one day it will start moving along so fast, the very velocity of your progress will be what frightens you. Good luck and keep at it!

Were they at least good tacos??? rofl-3.gif

Bigdubber's Comment
member avatar

Hey TruckingTruth,

I will begin orientation/training with Crete Carrier Corp. on May 19. ...Wish me luck!

Two questions, if I may.

1) Curious as to how you came to choose Crete (out of all the carriers out there to choose from), what were the "deciding factors"?

2) Curious as to why you're not starting the CCC orientation/training until May 19th? Seems a long time to be waiting around (and get "rusty" on what you've learned in the school)?

Thanks for sharing your experience with "us".

God bless and be safe. ~Bigdubber

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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