Swift School Diary (Memphis) Starting 11/2

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AdkMatt's Comment
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Day 0

Hello everyone. Normally, I wouldn't write a diary, but seeing as I haven't been able to find one on the Tennessee Swift School since they moved it from Millington to Memphis, I figured I'd start a new one. I'll try to update this nightly if I can, and I'll try answer questions if anyone has any. I'm currently on the Greyhound to Memphis as I speak, working on my High Road Training Program. Looking forward to this!

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Memphis, Matt! I did a Memphis-Millington diary almost a year ago.

I get to the terminal on Fridays. PM me with a phone number if you want to try to meet up.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

AdkMatt's Comment
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DAY 1

So today was was all about that fun paperwork, oh joy. Apparently our class is a bit larger than usual. We had 45 or so students. I say "had" because 5 or 6 have already been sent home. It seems they all had the same problem, so be aware, if you get your physical done before coming, make sure on your card: 1. The section that says "Intrastate Only" is marked "no"; and 2. The section that says "CDL" is marked "yes".

But otherwise, it was a day full of nothing in particular, long periods of talking to classmates fragmented by document signing, going over policies and coursework, and a brief drug test. Swift buys lunch at their cafeteria for the first day, which is nice, but it only taught me that the Burger King across the street from the terminal might be the only place to get a good meal nearby.

As for the people, the classroom instructors are very nice and really do make you feel good about being there. The drivers around there are pretty friendly too. I'm happy it'll be my home terminal.

The only assignment we received was to read a few chapters and do some review question, but this isn't due for nearly 2 weeks, so I'm happy with that. The real classroom begins tomorrow and we get our first range time on day 3, but that's all for today!

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Intrastate:

The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

AdkMatt's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Memphis, Matt! I did a Memphis-Millington diary almost a year ago.

I get to the terminal on Fridays. PM me with a phone number if you want to try to meet up.

By the way Errol, your journal of Swift's training was one of the first I read when I started looking at TruckingTruth back in January. I look forward to seeing you around sometime! Memphis is going to be my home terminal, so I think we'll be running into each other now and again.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

ARdave's Comment
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I believe you will enjoy the overall experience. The fun begins on day 3, when u actually get to sit behind the wheel of the beast!! The school is very fast paced! just try to remember to be patient with the 53' trailer behind u! I finished road training last week and obtained my CDL. Currently waiting for orientation in the morning. Good luck with everything!!!!

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

By the way Errol, your journal of Swift's training was one of the first I read when I started looking at TruckingTruth back in January. I look forward to seeing you around sometime! Memphis is going to be my home terminal , so I think we'll be running into each other now and again.

I was just there this (Tuesday) morning! I hadn't read your post yet. Watch the access road for a Grey Kenworth 148339, but I don't expect to be back till Friday now.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

AdkMatt's Comment
member avatar
I was just there this (Tuesday) morning! I hadn't read your post yet. Watch the access road for a Grey Kenworth 148339, but I don't expect to be back till Friday now.

So close and yet so far, haha. We were in the classroom today, but we are scheduled to be on the Range this Friday, so I'll keep an eye out :D

AdkMatt's Comment
member avatar

DAY 2

Man, this first 2 days have been going painfully slow. I know that anyone that has gone through Swift's program is probably having a little chuckle right now, knowing the mayhem I'm in for... Anyway, day 2 was a lot more learning orientated today, starting on hours of service, logging, and the cheesiest safety presentation I have ever seen. At least the instructors are energetic and pretty funny. They've already started learning people's names now that our class size is down by 25% or so.

I think things have been dragging because we're starting on stuff I'm pretty well versed in from taking the High Road Training Program. That, or it could be that my roommate ducked out of the program late last night. He said he wasn't satisfied with the tuition reimbursement program (which I think is plenty fair). But I guess his heart just wasn't in it considering he was willing to give up on it so soon.

Well tomorrow is the beginning of the real action. We're going to be spending time on the Range learning straight-line backing and some pre-trip inspection instruction. I guess this is where the real challenge begins, because it's not necessarily about what you know, but if you can actually put it to good use. Fingers crossed!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Matt, 90% of your range time will be in backing practice. Remember my impression of backing, "You don't know what frustration is until you start packing practice". Keep the patience, bro.

my roommate ducked out of the program late last night. He said he wasn't satisfied with the tuition reimbursement program (which I think is plenty fair). But I guess his heart just wasn't in it considering he was willing to give up on it so soon.

What an excuse for bailing out! wtf-2.gif If he doesn't like the reimbursement, he can just skip it!

But it's good he bailed now since it's still a "free trial" for the first couple of days. Plus, you get the room to yourself!

AdkMatt's Comment
member avatar

DAY 3

Wow, what a day. I went from having a sore ass to having sore feet today. We spent all day out on the range. And if you haven't noticed, I'm writing this update at 5:30am on day 4. That's because I was so beat after yesterday's class, I went straight back to the hotel and slept for nearly 10 hours. According to my Fitbit, I burned just over 5000 calories, walked 6 and a half miles, and had an average heart rate of 105bpm for the entire day. And it being nearly 80 degrees in November doesn't help either.

So today was pretty straightforward since we only worked on a couple things. First, we learned how to open a truck's hood to check our fluids. Then the instructors took us inside the trucks and gave us a demonstration on how to operate the clutch, shift into 1st and reverse, how to read the pressure gauges, and how to adjust the seat and mirrors. Then, they showed us how do straight-line backing with a trailer, using the 'steer toward the danger' to make corrections.

After that, they turned us loose to start doing it on our own. If I'm honest, taking this approach had mixed results. Some of us (including myself) were able to pick it up after the 1st or 2nd attempt. For However, there were a lot of students that couldn't get it down at all. There were only 2 instructors with us watching over 36 students in 10 trucks.

As soon as my group had it down, we spread out to help the groups that were struggling, because at the end of the day, there would be an assessment of the straight-line backing skill. If you fail the assessment, you must take it again the next morning, if you fail again, you are sent home. They don't do this because they are very strict, they do it because it is your last chance to leave the program without being held to your tuition and housing contract.

Because my group spread out to spot for and help other groups, we ended up only getting about 1.5 hours of drive time, which is disappointing. However, I see us getting better drive times today (day 4) because I'm pretty sure 5-8 people will be going home today after their second attempt. They told us in the last 6 weeks, they only had to send 1 person home from this assessment. So I guess I'm seeing the effects being in a larger than normal class is having.

Anyway I'm not sure what's in store for us today, but I'll write another update tonight if I don't immediately pass out at the hotel again, haha. That's all for now :)

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.

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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