Going To CDL School, New To The Industry

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Rob H.'s Comment
member avatar

I didn't really plan on doing this but life has a funny way of throwing curves at you. My name is Rob and I'm 31 years old. Ive been in law enforcement for the last 4 1/2 years working for two separate police departments. I quit my full time job on 12/14 because I was fed up with the way things were being run. (and I'm a patient guy, it was getting very bad). I still work a my part time job as a police officer and will be starting CDL school on 12/21 assuming everything goes smoothly. I guess the timing couldn't have been better. My father has been a truck driver for 20 years and he loves it. Although my passion has always been in law enforcement since I was about 7 years old, its really not what it used to be. People spit at me, give me the middle finger, curse at me, and my department receives death threats to officers at least once a month. My family is the most important thing to me and these reasons played a big role in why I decided to quit. My wife and I talked about it and getting a CDL and becoming a truck driver seemed to be the best route for me, with what little I know about the industry. I have to say, even though I've never considered trucking as a career path for myself, I am very excited to get started. I'm hoping with my law enforcement background it will help me get hired faster.

So with that said I have a few questions to anyone willing to help. I've been told that there are a little more than a dozen companies around my location that will take a new driver for local routes. Does anyone have any words of wisdom for family time while being a local driver? I work 10 hour shifts and 12 hour shifts at my other job so I'm used to being out on the road for long periods of time but I'm only putting in 40 hours a week plus overtime if I'm assigned. I think this is my biggest worry right now is seeing my kids and wife even less than I get to see them now.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom/career advise to pass down to a receptive newbie?

As I browse these forums I'm learning a lot so I hope by the time the 21st comes around Ill have a better idea of what to expect. I think there are 3 students total in my class so I should have a lot of 1 on 1 time with my trainer...

Thanks everyone, Rob

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

SouthernJourneyman's Comment
member avatar

I've only been doing OTR for a few weeks. Done some local stuff like logging and drove a short period with Swift 14 years ago. But most of my time away from home was during my military career. You have to learn that it's not so much how much time you get with your family, but the quality of that time. When I go home I don't spend hours on my laptop and we don't have a tv. We play board games or camp out. One of my hobbies is bushcrafting and my sons are always wanting me to to teach them some new project or about the latest wild edible plant I've learned. Or we go and work on my old Bronco. Or I take my daughter shopping. I just try to make the best of it and make good memories.

Oh and some advice I got from someone else. Don't show up demanding this and that from your wife. Realize that while you have been gone your family has gotten into their own routine. Offer to help with the dishes or laundry or send her out for a massage. And always always ask how her day was before you start in on yours. Make sure she knows that she is takes priority, not your job.

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.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

I didn't really plan on doing this but life has a funny way of throwing curves at you. My name is Rob and I'm 31 years old. Ive been in law enforcement for the last 4 1/2 years working for two separate police departments. I quit my full time job on 12/14 because I was fed up with the way things were being run. (and I'm a patient guy, it was getting very bad). I still work a my part time job as a police officer and will be starting CDL school on 12/21 assuming everything goes smoothly. I guess the timing couldn't have been better. My father has been a truck driver for 20 years and he loves it. Although my passion has always been in law enforcement since I was about 7 years old, its really not what it used to be. People spit at me, give me the middle finger, curse at me, and my department receives death threats to officers at least once a month. My family is the most important thing to me and these reasons played a big role in why I decided to quit. My wife and I talked about it and getting a CDL and becoming a truck driver seemed to be the best route for me, with what little I know about the industry. I have to say, even though I've never considered trucking as a career path for myself, I am very excited to get started. I'm hoping with my law enforcement background it will help me get hired faster.

So with that said I have a few questions to anyone willing to help. I've been told that there are a little more than a dozen companies around my location that will take a new driver for local routes. Does anyone have any words of wisdom for family time while being a local driver? I work 10 hour shifts and 12 hour shifts at my other job so I'm used to being out on the road for long periods of time but I'm only putting in 40 hours a week plus overtime if I'm assigned. I think this is my biggest worry right now is seeing my kids and wife even less than I get to see them now.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom/career advise to pass down to a receptive newbie?

As I browse these forums I'm learning a lot so I hope by the time the 21st comes around Ill have a better idea of what to expect. I think there are 3 students total in my class so I should have a lot of 1 on 1 time with my trainer...

Thanks everyone, Rob

Welcome to TT.

Let me start by saying, thank you, for doing the job you do/did . It is a hard, and thankless job, until someone needs you, and even then, the help isn't always appreciated.

I would start off by reading Brett's Book. While your dad is a driver, the book really gives a good insight to the lifestyle, and what to expect. I have read it twice!

Local can be really hard for new drivers starting out, but it can be done. The companies may also have regional or dedicated, that get you home, a few times each week, or every weekend. A few companies, such as Roehl, have really good home time options, like 7 days out, and 7 days at home, or 14, out, 7 in, and 7/4-7/3. the 7/7 is a solid part time job, making more than some non driving full time jobs. Schneider, is another company that has specialized home time options. There are several people on TT that are Roehl drivers, too, so they can give you better answers than me, on that subject.

Either way, hope you find what you are looking for.

Stay safe

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for everything you do to protect and serve.

I'm OTR & can't give advice on local. I just wanted to say thanks.

Good 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.

David's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to TT,

So with that said I have a few questions to anyone willing to help. I've been told that there are a little more than a dozen companies around my location that will take a new driver for local routes. Does anyone have any words of wisdom for family time while being a local driver? I work 10 hour shifts and 12 hour shifts at my other job so I'm used to being out on the road for long periods of time but I'm only putting in 40 hours a week plus overtime if I'm assigned. I think this is my biggest worry right now is seeing my kids and wife even less than I get to see them now.

What part of our beautiful country are you in? location plays a big part as to what you get job wise.. If you live in a well populated area and are in a good shipping lane, you'll have a lot of opportunities..

Now, it can be done, but it is hard to land a local gig as a new-b in trucking. There are companies that will hire fresh grads. Otherwise, you may want to consider a minimum of 6-12months OTR.. Ive never driven for Roehl, but others seam to like their hometime sched. Might be worth looking into.. 14 out 7 home would be a good gig..

I my self work a 10-14 hr day as a local driver for a company that contracts with Pepsi Bev. I haul pepsi products from Urbandale, IA to various other locations in IA. Its a bit rough on the family time, but I do get weekends off and home everynight which is a +. The downside is Im up at 2am everyday and home around 12-4pm and pretty much have just enough time to shower, cook/eat and goto sleep. I always look forward to the weekend. I also put in around 50-60hrs a week.

IF you go OTR , you'll see your family less then you do now. You'll become a part-time dad/husband and a fulltime trucker. But at times its nice to get away and then other times it just sucks..

David

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.

Sonnydogg's Comment
member avatar

It's really sad that ppl are so rude these days. Thank you for all you did/do. One thing to consider is a companies rider policy. Most OTR places have them now, which makes taking one of the kids along once in a while possible. They have to be a certain age, and you may have to pay a small fee (for insurance). I know a lot of folks that have had the privilege of riding with a family member as a child say it's something they'll never forget.

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.

Rob H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for the replies. I really enjoy law enforcement, but it is really getting hard these days. People forget that we are people too. Under the uniform and badge we have feelings and families at home. Sometimes I hate having to do my job. I really feel for some of the people I come in contact with. Today I spent half the day hunting down a suicidal/homicidal male so I could get him safe to the hospital for a mental evaluation and treatment. Its a lot more than people think it is, just as I'm sure trucking is. My wife and I talked about going OTR for a little while. Thankfully I live in eastern PA in a booming area. They're building warehouses everywhere around here and a lot of the companies have local/dedicated runs to NJ, NY, and within PA. I'm hoping I can land one of those jobs, but we are prepared to make the sacrifice. I'm almost done reading Bretts book Danielsahn pointed out. It actually is very helpful.

I've come to the conclusion that a 40 hour work week doesn't exist in trucking. lol. Realistically what am I looking at? 55 hours or so a week?

Thanks again everyone, Rob

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for the replies. I really enjoy law enforcement, but it is really getting hard these days. People forget that we are people too. Under the uniform and badge we have feelings and families at home. Sometimes I hate having to do my job. I really feel for some of the people I come in contact with. Today I spent half the day hunting down a suicidal/homicidal male so I could get him safe to the hospital for a mental evaluation and treatment. Its a lot more than people think it is, just as I'm sure trucking is. My wife and I talked about going OTR for a little while. Thankfully I live in eastern PA in a booming area. They're building warehouses everywhere around here and a lot of the companies have local/dedicated runs to NJ, NY, and within PA. I'm hoping I can land one of those jobs, but we are prepared to make the sacrifice. I'm almost done reading Bretts book Danielsahn pointed out. It actually is very helpful.

I've come to the conclusion that a 40 hour work week doesn't exist in trucking. lol. Realistically what am I looking at? 55 hours or so a week?

Thanks again everyone, Rob

each day has a 14 hour clock, of which 11 is designated for Driving, with a 30 min mandatory break. You are allotted 70 hours in an 8 day period of Drive time (i think), so once you hit that 70, you do a 36? hour "reset", to start a fresh 70 hours. I am still learning the Hours of Service rules, and I know one of the other's will correct me, if I am mistaken. But that is what you can look forward too. Some drivers never have to worry about the 70 hour limit, most OTR drivers, and many Regional drivers do, from my understanding.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for the replies. I really enjoy law enforcement, but it is really getting hard these days. People forget that we are people too. Under the uniform and badge we have feelings and families at home. Sometimes I hate having to do my job. I really feel for some of the people I come in contact with. Today I spent half the day hunting down a suicidal/homicidal male so I could get him safe to the hospital for a mental evaluation and treatment. Its a lot more than people think it is, just as I'm sure trucking is. My wife and I talked about going OTR for a little while. Thankfully I live in eastern PA in a booming area. They're building warehouses everywhere around here and a lot of the companies have local/dedicated runs to NJ, NY, and within PA. I'm hoping I can land one of those jobs, but we are prepared to make the sacrifice. I'm almost done reading Bretts book Danielsahn pointed out. It actually is very helpful.

I've come to the conclusion that a 40 hour work week doesn't exist in trucking. lol. Realistically what am I looking at? 55 hours or so a week?

Thanks again everyone, Rob

If you're near Carlisle, I know Schneider has dedicated in that area as well as some other companies.

Good luck!

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
>>--HuntinDoug-->'s Comment
member avatar

Interesting post... My dad was a police officer from the early 60's to 1970. He went back to school full time (while working full time), got his degree, and ended up in the Chief of Police position in 1970. By 1975 he was sick of the politics and left law enforcement to drive for North American. He drove for about 20 years, and loved it! He logged somewhere around 2M miles (I think). It was amazing to see the difference in his personality after he started driving.

I cant imagine the stresses of law enforcement in 2015! Best of luck to you in your new career...

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