Just Finished Swift After Being There About 15 Months, The Skinny On Em

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G M.'s Comment
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Training is stressful. One guy tried consoling me during a particularly rough day by asking me if I knew where he went on his lunch break? No.. why I asked him? He said he was off in the woods, "crying like a little *****."

We were in Millington, Tennessee on an abandoned airport runway. You only practice backing the first 2 weeks. You'll learn straight backing, 90 degree backing, parallel parking, and offset backing for the most part. Folks from certain states will have to perform variations of these maneuvers based on their state's DOT test. You'll stay in 1st gear and reverse the whole time. You have to learn that to turn the trailer to the right means turning the wheel to the left and vice verse and you'll learn how to correct it once the trailer starts bending.

You will be packed 4 to a room in your motel with guys coming and going at all times because you're in different classes and at various stages of training. My bed was in the other room. I got lucky. Bring ear plugs. Everyone snores. There are videos on youtube of the rooms. Lookup Swift training Millington, Tennessee at the Admiral Inn.

If you pass the 1st 2 weeks, you'll probably learn road driving at Swift's terminal nearest to your home for 2 more weeks. You'll have to learn double clutching for the DOT test. One guy with 6 months of driving experience failed because he couldn't double clutch. He was great at backing.

You'll then ride with a mentor for about 5 weeks. Most of them are cool but you'll hear some crazy horror stories. Only about 10% of those students make it make it through a full year at Swift.

Swift trucks are governed at 62 mph. I read on here it's 65 but that's only for lease operators. Company drivers are governed at 62 mph.

OTR means that you'll drive about 70 hours a week and make about $700.00 a week. There is no shortage of freight. Home time is 2 days off for every 12 on. You won't get home when you plan to because they've got to have freight going to your city on that particular day. Expect about a 3 day delay.

Swift has inward and outward audio and video cameras in all their trucks.

I did OTR briefly but found a better deal with dedicated accounts and home time.

On the Kohl's account, I drove teams for 2 weeks. They required both drivers to get out and physically show id to the guards at the Kohl's Distribution Center In Macon, Ga when you went in. Most guards only asked for the current driver's id. At the end of two weeks, the supervisor woke me up after 3 hrs of sleep to have me show id. I stumbled to the guard shack and presented mine. Then they demanded I take a picture for a badge and told me I wouldn't be working there any longer if I refused. Well I just woke up and told them there was no way they were getting a picture of me after 3 hrs of sleep and I told them I didn't want to work for any company that wakes up a driver for bs anyway and was refused permission to enter the property ever again.

Next, I got on the Target dedicated account with Swift in Lake City, Fl. They gave me a truck with no a/c and gave me the run around about fixing it for a month straight. Things came to a head when I fell asleep in Alabama during the summer and had to open the vents for some cool air. I woke up 4 hours later because it had started raining and the rain came in through my side-opening vents soaking my mattress. When I climbed up on the top bunk to try to get more sleep, my team mate woke me up talking on the phone inside the truck and I never could get back to bed. That caused all kinds of problems with me and management and I was released later that day.

So I called the Walmart DC in Macclenny, Fl. Home most nights? Sign me up. Drive for Walmart? That sounds like I've hit the big time. The problem with that account was two fold. They don't have a set schedule. So you never know when you're going in and when you should get to sleep. They don't care. You'd be awake for half the day and they'd call you and tell you to come in 4 hrs later. So by the time you get there, you've been up 14 hours. Then they want you to drive for 13 hrs every time you go in. And it was almost exclusively all night driving. You get used to being awake 24 hrs straight and it was still scary as hell. And you never get a day off. Officially, you only get 6 days off per year on that account. The dispatchers will tell you that your 34 hr restarts are your days off. Pay is about the same, 70 hours a week for about $700.00 average. I worked on that account just shy of a year. I can not imagine a more dangerous situation for a driver but I had to get my year of experience in to get with a decent company.

Now I make about $1100 a week, home daily, and have every Saturday off. I would advise you to get all your endorsements asap. Study hard for the hazmat.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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.

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.

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
's Comment
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First post with an axe to grind. Good luck.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Well I just woke up and told them there was no way they were getting a picture of me after 3 hrs of sleep and I told them I didn't want to work for any company that wakes up a driver for bs anyway and was refused permission to enter the property ever again.

Dude, your attitude sucks. You know things are going to end badly if you act that way. Come on. Be serious.

And you just immediately launch into a cynical, overreaching stream of complaints and slander about everyone and everything you came in contact with from day one. I mean, come on.

But you did have a lot of good facts to present, so we appreciate those. A lot of that was quite helpful, actually. You also had some over the top crazy stuff mixed in we had to set aside, but you're new here and you're not familiar with how we do things so we won't sweat that.

But your experiences are quite helpful. I especially like hearing:

OTR means that you'll drive about 70 hours a week and make about $700.00 a week. There is no shortage of freight.

That's what people are hoping for. They want to get out there, keep those wheels turning, and make some solid paychecks that first year. That's what the first year is all about.

But you've gotta learn to get along with people a little bit and choose your battles wisely or you're going to just keep stepping on your own toes everywhere you go.

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.

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.

G M.'s Comment
member avatar

I was trying to be as informative as I could with that post but had to get right to the point because I was at the character limit. There are a lot of misconceptions about Swift, good and bad.

With the Kohl's account, I wanted to point out that they have a dangerous practice of waking up someone that's sleeping whenever their driving partner pulls into the distribution center. I was supposed to drive shortly after that.

Thanks for the input, Brett. I'll try to read up on the do's and don'ts.

Phox's Comment
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OTR means that you'll drive about 70 hours a week and make about $700.00 a week. There is no shortage of freight.

That really doesn't fit with HOS regulations if I'm not mistaken... yeah you can drive up to 11 hours a day, but you can only do 60 hours on duty in a 7 day week or 70 hours on duty in an 8 day week, I don't know if you meant 70 hours a week as in a 7 day week or an 8 day work week, but even then you gotta account for loading time (that's on duty not driving), pre trip, post trip... all kinds of stuff that's on duty but not driving that goes toward that 60 or 70 hour limit... when you factor it all in it's impossible to drive 70 hours a week while still being withing HOS regulations.

Perhaps you can clarify what you meant by 70 hours a week.

That walmart one def breaks HOS regulations... you can't drive for 13 hours... period... end of story. you can drive a max of 11 hours with a 30 min break required after 8 and you can be on duty (driving counts as on duty) for 14 hours max... so they're making you go over your limit by 2 hours. I wonder... are they going to pay your ticket fines? logbook violations can get quite pricey. my teachers have told me they're over $200 each, up to like $1400 max for each TYPE of violation (basically up to 7 days worth for each type).

I think you need to be a little more carefully on picking your companies and accounts so you can make sure you stay legal AND safe. Also like Brett watch the attitude cause it's not gonna help, I can understand being tired and getting grumpy, but leave it in the sleeper. I get very grumpy too when woken up before i'm ready to be but I also know to leave it out of the workplace, which for a trucker means leave in the sleeper.

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.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

G M, an update about Millington: the school has moved from Millington to new facilities next door to the Memphis terminal.

I had written a detailed response (questions about Kohls, Target and Walmart) but my thumb slipped on my cell phone and it all disappeared. I don't want to re-create that, but I see some inconsistencies/ question parts in each of those sections.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

The earnings you quote of $700 per week and such, is that NET? Or is it GROSS with a whole bunch of deductions to come like taxes and such???

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
OTR means that you'll drive about 70 hours a week and make about $700.00 a week. There is no shortage of freight.

That really doesn't fit with HOS regulations if I'm not mistaken... yeah you can drive up to 11 hours a day, but you can only do 60 hours on duty in a 7 day week or 70 hours on duty in an 8 day week

I don't think he was giving exact figures. I think he was basically making the point that if you're running OTR you're going to run really hard and make about $700/week at their current pay scale.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hey gang. Happy New Year. Most of you know I run Walmart dedicated and have been working on this account for several years now (happily). I am actually working at the moment but I want to clearly state my experience has been far different than what was described here. When I have time I will write a more thorough response.

By the way Phox, any carrier running trucks 7 days per week on a 24 hour schedule can legally run the 70/8 on-duty clock for their drivers. Most of the drivers on this forum (including Swift) run 70/8.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I thought it was fairly obvious from GM's first post that he is falling into a typical rookie misunderstanding, which is that they base their assumptions on an entire industry or company on their personal experience, and/or on their fellow rookie driver friend's experiences. There is just no way to get a full grasp on how you make things work out here until you've been at it for a few years. Some of the problems that he has experienced he blames on accounts or the way the company does things, but it was pretty obvious to folks who are out there making good money on those accounts or at Swift, that GM just hasn't gotten himself established well enough yet to understand all the little things that separate the professionals from the strugglers.

Just a guess here, but based on typical scenarios I've seen played out many times, I fear he will soon be dissatisfied with his present situation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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