New CDL A, Passed Private CDL Test (no School), Now What?

Topic 11143 | Page 1

Page 1 of 4 Next Page Go To Page:
Tom B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone!

Let me see if I can explain this in 5,000 words or less...

I got my CDL A Permit 6 weeks ago. I went to Prime's Student Training school (the one I chose after 1 week of reading forums here). I then went to Orientation for 1 week (where I excelled), and on my 8th day there, I had a trainer and drove Team OTR for a week (where I also excelled). After only 2 weeks I quit, but we parted ways neutrally. This was due to my dissatisfaction of being forced into flatbed (with a $3,000 commitment), a trainer who "asked" me to drive on his logs, and being forced to drive 8p-4a only, as well as a 2-year commitment to have the tuition fee paid. Anyway, I decided to leave that school, I returned to my home state, and switched my CDL Permit from Missouri back to my home state. A few days ago I tested through a private tester ($300), and now have my CDL A license. Here is where I am getting completely lost:

I have an excellent employment history, 1 misdemeanor DUI and 1 misdemeanor marijuana possession charge (both are 9 years old), 0 accidents, 0 tickets, 0 failed drug tests, and am in my 40's. I have 3,000 verifiable OTR miles in a Cascadia 10-speed (I printed out my 8-day e-log from Prime). I also was an excellent driver, given that was my first week in a truck, ever. Obviously, I will need experience in weather, backing, Qualcomm , policies and procedures, etc., etc... But NOW what do I do?

I have spent many hours reading through this forum (awesome forum and website!), but am having trouble figuring out what to do next. This is how I understand things to be at this point, so is there anyone who can take a few minutes to correct me and/or offer me advice in terms of what to do next? I would be so grateful:)

1) My first year is VERY important in terms of starting my new career, so I would love to have the luxury of making the right decision so that I can maximize my experience, pay, and overall happiness.

2) I MAY be able to start with May, Gordon, Schneider, Werner, KLLM, or Conway, but would they even accept me under my circumstances?

3) I think I want to be a dryvan driver. I hated driving in the east (traffic, time, roads), and I am partial to the West anyway since it's where I grew up (less traffic, better roads, partial to the geography, etc.). Is it a pipe dream to think I can be a dryvan driver in the western states?

4) I have no problem going through any company's schooling, being a team OTR driver for their requirement period, and suffering with less pay, so long as it's good training and a decent company to start with. My preference (if I could choose that is) would be:

- any training course/timeframe that the company requires (so long as it is paid and my commitment is 1 year or less to that company)

- dryvan western region, solo (team OTR anywhere is ok, but the shorter the training requirement the better)

- the best combination of: pay during training and then solo, perks and equip/routes, and training that makes me the best driver I can be after that 1 year so that I have the experience to perhaps move up.

5) Also, should I even mention Prime? I don't want to lie, but I don't want to seem like I might be a difficult employee or a quitter either. I am guessing any company would know I had a Missouri license so I better be honest about that, but Prime can not legally divulge why I quit, so I am wondering what to even say about that....

6) Should I apply to as many companys as possible, or are companies aware of who I have applied to and would that look bad? Should I consider a service where a 3rd-party company will match me with a trucking company? (I don't know anything about this, or if it's even a viable option in my case).

SOOOO... do I have options in terms of choosing a company that's right for me?

This WILL be new career, I just don't know how to best approach the next stage and what to do. After my 1st year of OTR I am under the impression that everything else will take care of itself and most of my questions will be answered, but right now I am so confused and stuck!!!

I hope these aren't dumb questions, and any advice is welcome!

Thank you all :)

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dryvan:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

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
Best Answer!
I am still hoping to get any actual valuable advice, and perhaps this thread would then be able to not only guide myself, but others in the future:)

Tom, I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated I was today when I stumbled across your first post. Mostly frustrated that I didn't have the free time to respond at that time, and also frustrated with the fact that even though you had been lurking in the shadows of our forum, you waited this late to come in here for help. There is so many things in this post that could be turned into teaching moments for future aspiring professional drivers. You are a case study in how not to get started as a professional truck driver. I'm not being critical, you seem like a very earnest sincere person trying to break into the industry, but you made all the classic mistakes and blunders.

I got my CDL A Permit 6 weeks ago. I went to Prime's Student Training school (the one I chose after 1 week of reading forums here). I then went to Orientation for 1 week (where I excelled), and on my 8th day there, I had a trainer and drove Team OTR for a week (where I also excelled). After only 2 weeks I quit, but we parted ways neutrally. This was due to my dissatisfaction of being forced into flatbed (with a $3,000 commitment), a trainer who "asked" me to drive on his logs, and being forced to drive 8p-4a only, as well as a 2-year commitment to have the tuition fee paid. Anyway, I decided to leave that school, I returned to my home state, and switched my CDL Permit from Missouri back to my home state. A few days ago I tested through a private tester ($300), and now have my CDL A license.

Tom, I'm not trying to defend Prime - I have no connections there, nor any reason to defend them other than the simple fact that some things in that statement seem really bizarre to me. Let's go through them:

1) You say you got a trainer and drove team OTR for a week. This seems highly illegal since you only have a permit, and the only way you can legally drive the truck is for the trainer to be over there in the passenger seat. I know quite a few trainers at Prime, and when you are in the PSD phase of training it is not a team situation - the student drives most of the time, and the trainer might take over for a little while in a difficult situation, but that initial training time cannot be conducted legally in a team situation - Prime does not allow that, and if that was what your trainer was doing, one simple call to Prime would have gotten you off the truck and onto another trainers truck who knew what he was doing. I know that Stan gave you the number to call if you had any issues going on, and I just can't for the life of me understand why you didn't just nip that problem in the bud.

2) You say you were forced into flat-bed. I have never heard anyone say anything like that statement about Prime. I'm not accusing you of lying, it just sounds really bizarre to me. I know so many folks who got their start at Prime, and even though some of them who wanted to go flat-bed ended up going out with a reefer trainer, or vice versa, they still ended up in the division they chose once they were upgraded to go solo. You have the option of deciding which trainer you go with at Prime, they don't assign you a trainer. The trainers talk to the students and decide which ones they like, and the students get to decide whether they want to go with that trainer or not. I think you had to of somehow misunderstood the whole idea of being forced into flat-bed.

3) I completely understand not wanting to pay the three thousand dollars for equipment, but I just don't see how you considered that they were forcing you into something. You are an individual with his own free will who has the power to choose. That is something Prime cannot take away from you. Again, this is something I have never seen spoken of in our forum, and we have a lot of folks in here working for Prime.

4) You say they wanted a two year commitment from you for the tuition. Once again, I'm concerned that you didn't really understand the whole thing. I've never heard anyone having to make a two year commitment to Prime for their schooling. One Year, yes, but never two.

5) Being forced to drive from 8pm to 4 am. I may be mistaken here, but I thought that Prime had some kind of a policy that in the PSD portion of training you are not allowed to drive at night, at least not at the beginning of it. All of these things should have been covered in your orientation, and I know they gave you numbers to call if you were having difficulties with your training experience.

Again Tom, I'm not trying to hurl accusations at you, something just doesn't add up in all this information, and it is troubling to me. The classic blunder or mistake that is made by people trying to jump into this career is that their experience in training doesn't match up with their expectations. They feel they are being railroaded or cheated so they quit.

I am trying to start my new career under the least stressful conditions possible:)

This is the total opposite approach of what you need to take. You have got to go into this with an unquenchable desire to get it done. I posted in the forum one time about how when a person decides to ride a bull for the first time, there comes a moment when they are "all in." Continued...

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

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
Great Answer!

At that moment, even though they may be shaking with fear, they nod their head to the person who will open the gate, and they are going for it no matter what. They don't keep on analyzing it, they don't waste their time trying to figure out how to avoid the experience they are about to get, they are intent on conquering the bull and hanging in there till the buzzer goes off. They want it so bad they can taste it. The introduction to this career can be summed up with that analogy - it is a rough ride. Every successful driver out there has gone through a very stressful introduction to it, but the one thing that separates them from you is that they wanted it so badly they were willing to take some risks, expose themselves to trying situations, and endure some hardships and maybe some misunderstandings along the way because they felt the end reward was worth the sacrifice, the cost, and the trouble. If you keep looking for the least stressful path to success you will find it, only it doesn't lead to where you thought it would. If you are not continually aiming for a target you will always fall short of it.

Here is where I am getting completely lost:

I have an excellent employment history, 1 misdemeanor DUI and 1 misdemeanor marijuana possession charge (both are 9 years old), 0 accidents, 0 tickets, 0 failed drug tests, and am in my 40's. I have 3,000 verifiable OTR miles in a Cascadia 10-speed (I printed out my 8-day e-log from Prime). I also was an excellent driver, given that was my first week in a truck, ever. Obviously, I will need experience in weather, backing, Qualcomm , policies and procedures, etc., etc... But NOW what do I do?

Tom, you list all the things that are in your favor, including the fact that you have a CDL. But you also realize that no one will take you - you're not lost, you are right on track. And here's the hard truth: you are right. Just about no one will take you because you circumvented the path that a rookie needs to take for success in this career. Of all the companies you listed, I seriously doubt any one of them will touch you except for Western Express. I started my career at Western Express, and I can assure you that you will come away from there more disillusioned than you were when you left Prime. They sat there with a grin on their face when, after my very difficult training period, they basically told me that they had put me through hell just to see if I was tough enough to play on their team! Personally I would not recommend their program for you.

If one of the companies you mentioned will hire you and train you I would like to hear back from you about it, seriously.

Here is what I think you will have to do. I think you are going to have to be willing to make a one year commitment to a Company-Sponsored Training program. Superman has that big letter "S" on his chest for all the world to see - it says he's Superman. You don't realize it yet, but you have got a big letter "L" tattooed on your forehead - it says that you are a huge Liability - you can't see it, but these insurance underwriters who are taking on the risks of the trucking companies see it like it is glowing in the dark.

I seriously think the only folks who will take you on are the "self insured big players" who offer Company-Sponsored Training. Here is what I would recommend that you do, and that is go right back to Prime and finish what you started. Have a civil conversation with them and tell them you absolutely don't want to be a flat-bedder, and that you want to do your training with a reefer driver. Then talk to the various trainers and hold out till you think you've found the one you want. You should know the right kid of questions to ask now, and you should realize that it's not gonna be a walk in the park to endure the training period. Prime's training is unusually long, but it is thorough, and well thought out to prepare you for what lies ahead.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Tom, I really think you seem like a guy who is gonna figure this out and make it. I also think you probably got a bum deal on a trainer - it happens - I had the same kind of experience. Trucking attracts a lot of the Alpha Male types, and there is a whole host of problems that can be associated with that. There is also a lot that gets accomplished by those types of folks - so it makes for a fine line to walk at times.

I just want to comment on a few of the things you said.

Team driving/Logs/etc.: There a few that do things illegally that reflect poorly on a company.

The idea that what a few rogue employees do is a poor reflection on a company is something you will want to be careful about holding on to. In trucking there are so many diverse types of people and personalities involved that it's just not that simple to expect everyone to be cookie cutter images of the companies core values and/or policies. I had a trainer who I thought was crazy, but the company overlooked a lot of his waywardness because he was very productive. This business is completely performance based and it is the top performers who make the lion's share of the money. A truly productive employee who gets a lot done without being a safety concern is usually allowed to run things the way they see fit. What I'm trying to say is that all trucking companies will tend to not notice if one of their drivers isn't exactly a stellar character as long as that person is very productive. You may not like that approach, but it is reality out here. The rookie who is just breaking in doesn't really understand that, but it is something he has to deal with until he can be the captain of his own ship.

All things considered, I hated being forced into something I didn't want to do from the beginning,

Tom, this concerns me, and let me explain, because I think none of us enjoys being forced into something we don't particularly care for. This career is always forcing you into something that may not be your preference. Probably about twice a week I am forced into driving all night. I'm getting more comfortable with it, but at first I did not like that. Even though we are our own masters in a sense in this career, we also want to be productive so that we can make a decent living at this. It is not unusual for me to get a load that picks up at 5:00 in the afternoon and is due 600 miles away at 7:00 in the morning. We manage our hours so that we can do what the loads dictate. I get loads that need to be at a factory on time or else the factory's production lines will have to shut down if I'm not on time (these are called JIT loads - Just In Time) Last winter I drove through a record breaking snow storm in upstate New York to get to my receiver in Connecticut on time because it was a JIT load - our company would get a hefty charge back if we we're late - this is a dedicated account I'm on, it pays very well, but not only has the company committed itself to serving the needs of this customer, but they make it clear to the drivers that they have a commitment also in this endeavor. Take a look at the snow - this is looking out my windshield after doing an approximate 100 yard straight back into the loading area. You can't even tell where the perimeters of the pavement are on this property.

trucker's picture out the windshield of snow-covered receivers parking lot in winter

I didn't do anything that was unsafe or excessively risky, but I did do something that I felt I was forced into. Trucking can be a harsh master, there are a lot of variables beyond your control. It takes a person with a resilient approach to the job to succeed.

If tuition costs are taken out at $400/mo. for 1 year (they told me approx. $100/wk.), then reimbursed at the same rate for the next year, that is a 2 year commitment in terms of the factors necessary in order for the school to be free.

I have never heard their program described in the way that you put it. I wish some of our Prime drivers would weigh in on this - I still think you do not really understand how it works, and you made a decision based on false information. Can someone who has gone through, or is currently training at Prime, clarify this for us?

being put in a situation where I have to battle for fairness as part of some "test" to see if I can make it in the industry, is a goofy approach, IMHO.

You might think it is "goofy," and I can't say I disagree with you, but you can't come in here and change the way things are done with your idealistic views about the way it ought to be. This is the classic rookie mistake, and why there are so many trucking forums where all you see is people whining about the way they were treated at such and such a company. You can't change the way trucking operates. You can figure out how to get yourself through the initial "goofy" baptism into the industry and then do things the way you see fit once you are a solo driver, but you will need to keep yourself at a high level of performance and productivity if you expect to be kept around, and that may include doing a few things that you don't really like.

Continued...

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
I will do my best to be a safe, productive, reliable driver, and get as much out of the experience while doing it. At the same time, I will pursue companies who have been up front with me, treat me with respect, handle issues in a timely fashion, and who are team players in every capcity.

Tom, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that if you ever met me you would probably think I was kind and quiet and very easy to get along with, because I am. Here's a surprise for you though, there are some fellow flat-bed drivers out here who think I'm a S.OB. When they show up at a job site to get unloaded, they find me there ahead of them and blocking their way into the gate. They will not get unloaded until after I am done. I had a driver go stomping mad back to his truck the other morning at 4 am in Riverdale, NJ because I refused to move my truck to let him back into a loading dock at a receiver. I've been there multiple times and I know that if he gets in there before me their policy is to unload the trucks at the docks before they get out to us flat-beds waiting in the parking lot. I am not a "team player" in any sense of the word out here on the road. I am looking out for number one, and it is totally contrary to my personality, but it is the harsh reality of being successful at this career. You can throw all that team player nonsense out the window now before you try to get yourself started again. It will not work in trucking.

You've got to get your mind in the right attitude to approach this as a new career. Look at these two op[posing statements you make when you try to summarize what you've learned:

I have to achieve a balance between finding a company I am happy with, and the expectations I may have for them.
This industry operates in a fashion unlike any other I have seen. I should throw out any preconceived notions of how I think a prototypical employer operates

In one statement you state that you need to throw out all your preconceived notions, and then in the other you speak of the expectations you have for them. That part about throwing out all your preconceived notions is the most critical thing you need to do right now. The most critical thing for you at this point is that you just jump in there and be "all in" like I tried to explain with the bull riding analogy. Do what it takes to get past the training, and move on to being a solo driver. At that point you can run your business the way you see fit. You may starve to death, or you may really surprise yourself and figure it all out, but it will not come easy, and it will be stressful.

I still stand by my advice that you need to go through a Company-Sponsored Training program. From everything you have stated in here I do not think you will ever last in a team situation with another noobie who has less of a clue than you do with what they are doing, and that is exactly how that program at Western Express Works. I can't hardly believe I'm encouraging someone against Western after all the times I've defended them over the years, but I can't see you excelling over there. Everything they do is the kind of stuff you have labeled as "goofy."

One more thing, If you can get your feet in the door, hang on for one good solid year of safe driving. Give up your pipe dream of running the western eleven at first, just do what ever is required of you. There's a reason that over the road driving is the industry standard for measuring experience. You will gain so much valuable experience by running all across the country. I hit 46 of the lower 48 states in my first three months of driving at Western Express - there were some priceless learning experiences during that time. You want to know about stress? You put a rookie driver in a solo truck and run him like they did me, and you will either have a failure on your hands or a very savvy driver. You will be the one who determines how that outcome plays out. Don't put any expectations on the company, put them all on yourself and how you will handle what they dish out.

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.

Over The Road:

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.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bolt's Comment
member avatar

Some of my research has shown that some companies, Maverick for instance, will hire straight out of private schools. They have about a 6 week driver training program then put you out on your own. Others may have more info.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Dang it Tom, why didn't you participate in the forum before you got yourself into this predicament? We could have helped you get through the things at Prime that you perceived as insurmountable problems, and helped keep you from messing up your first year. You keep saying you know how important your first year is and yet you did everything you could to give yourself a black eye.

I'm sorry, but this first post of yours aggravates me. We could and would have done everything we could to help, and now you've decided you'll come to us after screwing everything up. I'm flustered to say the least, and I'm on the road today taking my thirty minute break right now. I'll jump back in here tonight and see if there's anything I can offer to help you redeem yourself.

Tom B.'s Comment
member avatar

Some of my research has shown that some companies, Maverick for instance, will hire straight out of private schools. They have about a 6 week driver training program then put you out on your own. Others may have more info.

Thanks for your reply Scott. I did not graduate from any school, I simply have 3,000 miles experience before I quit Prime, and then obtained a CDL a week later through a private DOT tester for $300. This is the problem, there seems to be no category for my situation, so I am unsure as to how to proceed with my applications, and what to put on them even if I do qualify for another company in any capacity.

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.

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.

Tom B.'s Comment
member avatar

Dang it Tom, why didn't you participate in the forum before you got yourself into this predicament? We could have helped you get through the things at Prime that you perceived as insurmountable problems, and helped keep you from messing up your first year. You keep saying you know how important your first year is and yet you did everything you could to give yourself a black eye.

I'm sorry, but this first post of yours aggravates me. We could and would have done everything we could to help, and now you've decided you'll come to us after screwing everything up. I'm flustered to say the least, and I'm on the road today taking my thirty minute break right now. I'll jump back in here tonight and see if there's anything I can offer to help you redeem yourself.

Old School, I see your posts all of the time, and you always help with great advice. Thank you for replying.

I understand your point completely. I could have done more to try and work things out, and patience is definitely a virtue in this industry. I felt like staying there would have been a constant battle, and since I had a relatively low investment up until that point I decided to cut my losses and pursue better options. Staying there, IMHO, would only lend itself to possible greater problems, not to mention that if I had obtained my CDL through them I would be on the hook for $5,500 less the prorated portion of time I drove for them. My actions resulted in no financial commitment to them, and a neutral departure. Perhaps I made an unwise choice, I am new to everything related to trucking. I am sure I will make more unwise choices, but I am trying to start my new career under the least stressful conditions possible:)

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.
Shiva's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Dang it Tom, why didn't you participate in the forum before you got yourself into this predicament? We could have helped you get through the things at Prime that you perceived as insurmountable problems, and helped keep you from messing up your first year. You keep saying you know how important your first year is and yet you did everything you could to give yourself a black eye.

I'm sorry, but this first post of yours aggravates me. We could and would have done everything we could to help, and now you've decided you'll come to us after screwing everything up. I'm flustered to say the least, and I'm on the road today taking my thirty minute break right now. I'll jump back in here tonight and see if there's anything I can offer to help you redeem yourself.

double-quotes-end.png

Old School, I see your posts all of the time, and you always help with great advice. Thank you for replying.

I understand your point completely. I could have done more to try and work things out, and patience is definitely a virtue in this industry. I felt like staying there would have been a constant battle, and since I had a relatively low investment up until that point I decided to cut my losses and pursue better options. Staying there, IMHO, would only lend itself to possible greater problems, not to mention that if I had obtained my CDL through them I would be on the hook for $5,500 less the prorated portion of time I drove for them. My actions resulted in no financial commitment to them, and a neutral departure. Perhaps I made an unwise choice, I am new to everything related to trucking. I am sure I will make more unwise choices, but I am trying to start my new career under the least stressful conditions possible:)

I'm sorry, but you say your trying to start your 1st year under the least stressful conditions. Yet you added a ton of stress to yourself. This industry can be very stressful and you need a lot of patience. So I don't know how your gonna do that. Sounds like you're looking for perfection, in an industry that isn't perfect

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.
Tom B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for replying Shiva.

I started with a school, I chose to quit that school, I am now with a CDL and unsure what to do. If I made a bad decision and decided to suck it up and take a chance on things working out for 2 years so as to not be liable for the cost of the school, as opposed to what I chose to do, then so be it. I may or may not regret it in the future.

The bottom line is this [as I stated in my huge post]... I said it simply sounded to me like that IF I had a preference, western 11 and dryvan sounded good. I hope I am able to find a company to start with [i forgot to mention western express] where I could start in a team situation in order to gain the experience necessary to be a reliable solo driver, where the pay during that training is ok, and where the commitment to that company is 1 year or less.

Perfection is always desired, never expected. I completely understand I will have very little choice as to route, region, etc. I simply noted my preferences in order to enlighten anyone who cared to comment, as to my current situation, and my future goals.

I am always happy to receive criticism, I just hope it is constructive. I am still hoping to get any actual valuable advice, and perhaps this thread would then be able to not only guide myself, but others in the future:)

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.

Dryvan:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Tom, I'm doing this on my cellphone, so I chose to not go through your entire post. Here's your first part:

I got my CDL A Permit 6 weeks ago. I went to Prime's Student Training school (the one I chose after 1 week of reading forums here). I then went to Orientation for 1 week (where I excelled), and on my 8th day there, I had a trainer and drove Team OTR for a week (where I also excelled). After only 2 weeks I quit, but we parted ways neutrally.

So you weren't through Prime's training to the point that you got on a truck with a trainer. Without knowing Prime's and your details, I'd say you completed Prime's Trucking School. You are contractually committed to pay that tuition.

This was due to my dissatisfaction of being forced into flatbed (with a $3,000 commitment), a trainer who "asked" me to drive on his logs, and being forced to drive 8p-4a only, ...

So you are willing to skip a great experience. Once you get onto Prime's fleet, you could then go dry van. Instead you don't feel like putting in some extra effort and learn even more about driving a truck. What's the $3,000 commitment? Is that your school tuition, or what?

... as well as a 2-year commitment to have the tuition fee paid.

Nothing's free, Tom. Was this "2-year commitment" a surprise? You didn't know about it when you were signing all those papers the first day? This isn't something to change your mind about, especially after you completed the course.

A few days ago I tested through a private tester ($300), and now have my CDL A license.

Congratulations, Tom. You have your CDL-A, but you have no proof that you have training in CMV heavy trucks. Prime won't hand you that certificate till your bill are paid. And those companies you listed in #2 want to see that course ticket.

Tom, your post had lots of "I decided" and "my options". In Life, you really don't get as many "options" as you thought you had.

Like Old School said, Trucking Truth is a place to help you get your ducks in a row and help keep you focused before you take options you don't really have.

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Shiva's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for replying Shiva.

I started with a school, I chose to quit that school, I am now with a CDL and unsure what to do. If I made a bad decision and decided to suck it up and take a chance on things working out for 2 years so as to not be liable for the cost of the school, as opposed to what I chose to do, then so be it. I may or may not regret it in the future.

The bottom line is this [as I stated in my huge post]... I said it simply sounded to me like that IF I had a preference, western 11 and dryvan sounded good. I hope I am able to find a company to start with [i forgot to mention western express] where I could start in a team situation in order to gain the experience necessary to be a reliable solo driver, where the pay during that training is ok, and where the commitment to that company is 1 year or less.

Perfection is always desired, never expected. I completely understand I will have very little choice as to route, region, etc. I simply noted my preferences in order to enlighten anyone who cared to comment, as to my current situation, and my future goals.

I am always happy to receive criticism, I just hope it is constructive. I am still hoping to get any actual valuable advice, and perhaps this thread would then be able to not only guide myself, but others in the future:)

Well, now you have your CDL-A, try giving Schneider or swift a call. They may take you on

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.

Dryvan:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I'm confused by this because I'm at Prime now in the Tnt phase (have my CDL but will be with a trainer 2 months or so now). I drove 10k miles with a trainer with my permit in 3 weeks. The commitment is ONE year which will eliminate the $3200 "loan" I signed. It is prorated so that if I stayed six months...I would owe half.

I have seen people leave in the PSD phase after failing the road test...and come back with the CDL to continue with PRIME. If I were you..I'd probably try that unless you have in writing that you are not responsible for the loan...I would tRy. lots of people had bad experiences with one trainer then found another great one. Prime is very reasonable at solving problems..so I wonder how much effort you gave to resolving your issues.

I'm not sure why you think it is $5500 or a two year commitment. In PSD you are not employed by PRime..so technically they are not your employer...you only get employed after you pass the road test and get your CDL. For that reason..you don't have to disclose them to future employers as an employer. Keep in mind that the 3000 miles you think is a big deal is a drop in the bucket to a trucking company. .it does not mean much.

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Page 1 of 4 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More